How to Travel on a Budget

Travel on a budget

  • I travel a lot.
  • I don’t have an overflowing bank account.

These two facts can definitely live in the same world.

Kyle and I have figured out how to travel well, travel frequently, and travel without breaking the bank. It’s time we let you in on our secrets! This is how to travel on a budget:

1. Prioritize your spending

travel on a budget

You can’t complain about having no money to travel while you’re spending a ton of money elsewhere.  Unless you’re Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, you either spend money on traveling or you spend it on other things.  We live in a super old townhouse in a super old area of Las Vegas.  The dishwasher doesn’t work. But we travel a lot. Decide what your priority is.

Think about it. Say you and your partner each buy a coffee every morning.  That’s about $10 a day.  Or $3650 a year.  You know how many trips we could go on for $3650?  12 weekend trips or 4 serious trips.

2. Save on accommodations

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You’re only going to need a hotel to sleep and shower in.  It doesn’t need to be the best of the best.  It needs to be clean and safe.  Other than that – why blow more money than you have to? When we go to the beaches in Cali, we NEVER stay on the beach. We stay 15 minutes away from the beach in cheap motels that include parking.

Airbnb is our #1 suggest for affordable and comfortable accommodation worldwide. In fact, here is a $25 off discount code to get you started!

3. Take lesser-known airlines/fly on cheap days

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We have chosen smaller or unpopular airlines a few times with great success.  Do your own research, but know you may be surprised.  We chose a small airline from Panama, Copa Airlines, to take us to Costa Rica.  It was inexpensive AND they provided movies, a meal, snacks, and wine for free.  Also, research airfare first, then plan your trip around the most inexpensive flights.

4. Pack breakfast/free hotel breakfast

travel on a budget

Food can be expensive.  It saves to not pay for one meal of the day. Either bring protein bars and fruit and call it a breakfast.  Or book your stay in a hotel/motel that includes free breakfast. Typically, even as a Gluten Free eater, I can find something to eat a motel breakfast (yogurt, banana, sometimes even eggs).

5. Focus on local food over fine dining

Travel on a Budget

When you are traveling (especially when you travel on a budget), eat as the locals do.  Don’t get caught in expensive tourists traps.  This demands a little homework, but it’s worth it and important for two reasons.  1) You get to experience culture and cuisine that’s different from your own.  2) Locals aren’t buying $200 dinners every night.  The best meals I’ve eaten while traveling internationally have often come from shack-like restaurants.

6. Buy alcohol at the store

travel on a budget

Restaurants in tourist areas like to charge you a whole lotta money for a very light pour.   Whenever it’s available to you, buy the alcohol at the store.  Drink water with dinner and make your own drinks at your hotel.  OF COURSE first research the laws regarding what you are allowed to carry/how you are allowed to carry it.

7. Skip the spa

travel on a budget

You will have to lose the idea that traveling is all about luxury.  When you travel on a budget, you don’t need a stone massage and a facial to call it a vacation.  Traveling is about experiencing and observing.  There are so many enriching things to do in a new place that are totally free!  Fill up your time with those things.

It’s totally possible to travel on a budget.  Cut some corners and enjoy your many adventures!

34 thoughts on “How to Travel on a Budget

  • July 8, 2015 at 9:47 am
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    Love this blog…very helpful, and I may hit you up if I go somewhere to see if you have any hidden secrets or gems I should check out! Great read girl :-)

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    • July 8, 2015 at 11:18 am
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      Thanks Ryann! Definitely hit me up anytime!

      Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 8:14 am
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    I already like you a lot because of the ‘Taylor & Calvin’ reference. (I’m a swiftie)
    I agree on all these points. Especially when you’ve so many places to travel, it’s good to keep these points in mind! Although, do research on planes because your life is most important. Other points, agreed! :)

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    • July 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm
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      Yes, all those airlines are going through the same tests and regulations. They just don’t have the name power. But I agree, do your own research!

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  • July 9, 2015 at 11:18 am
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    These are really great tips! We love to travel but don’t do it as often as we would like. I will have to take these points into consideration next time I start making excuses. :)

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    • July 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm
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      It’s definitely super easy to fall into the trap of making excuses!!

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  • July 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm
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    I know this may sound odd since this is a travel post but I feel like I was meant to read this today. I am a wanderer and adventurer by nature. Early in life and in my career I’ve got to travel a lot and I recently laid off from a high paying position. Now living on one paycheck I slowly saw all of our adventures and travel slipping away. I actually broke down last night, feeling stuck. Thank you for reminding me about PERSPECTIVE and traveling within your means.

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    • July 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm
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      I’m SO SO glad you took the time to write out this comment. I definitely understand how feeling broke can leave you feeling like you can’t feed the wanderlust! SO been there! We try to find as many cheap/free adventures as possible. I think it’s the spirit of adventure that’s so intoxicating. For example, one day my tire blew. I was so frustrated and stressed. I hopped in my boyfriend’s jeep and instead of taking me to get a new tire, he drove us straight to a beautiful canyon for us to explore and take pictures. It was free, it was close to home, but it was an ADVENTURE! Love that.

      Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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    Definitely some good ideas. I’m going to try to travel more in the next couple of years. So your words r helpful. I don’t need luxury. Basically I’m looking to find places to stay that are very clean and where I can have a feeling of safety. Not much really. Thx

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    • July 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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      Yes – so true! That’s all you really need :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  • July 9, 2015 at 9:10 pm
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    That is totally true. I always wondered how my friend who has a small budget is able to travel. She doesn’t splurge anywhere else. Those lattes add up!

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    • July 9, 2015 at 11:43 pm
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      They sure do!! :)

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  • July 10, 2015 at 7:50 am
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    Great tips!! I am all about budget traveling and what cute photos! I don’t care if I’m sleeping on someone’s couch or if I’m eating cheap food so I can see the sights, I just want the experience :)

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    • July 10, 2015 at 9:37 am
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      YES! It doesn’t matter where I sleep – I just want to SEE IT ALL!!!

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 9:01 am
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    Taylor,

    dropping in from Firework People(:

    I LOVE this list you’ve complied!
    As someone who doesn’t have a lot of money and would love to just travel, this is great.

    Where all have you travelled to?
    I’ve been on the East and West coasts, two different places in Mexico, a cruise to Jamaica and (flown) to Paris, and London <3

    Rashae
    http://www.abbigaylerashae.com

    Reply
    • July 10, 2015 at 9:39 am
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      Love Firework People :) Let’s see, I’ve been west coast/east coast and a few places in the middle. Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica! And New York City for the first time next week!

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 9:20 am
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    Traveling can be so expensive!! Thank you for the great money saving tips!

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    • July 10, 2015 at 9:39 am
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      It totally can be! But it doesn’t have to be! Thanks for stopping by!!

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 9:46 am
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    Budgeting is something I really need to prioritize! I want to go on trips, but never have enough money! Thanks for the post!

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    • July 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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      It’s hard to do in the moment, when you really want something else. But it ends up being so worth it!

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  • July 10, 2015 at 10:03 am
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    I love this! I so badly want to just pack up and travel! It’s amazing that you are able to do that! Thank you for this list! I’ll have to bookmark it so that I can reference it whenever I do decide to be adventurous!

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    • July 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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      It’s so rewarding to travel – whenever you get a little extra money, definitely go be adventurous!!! xo

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 10:55 am
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    I’m feeling overdue for a vacation! Will definitely keep these tips in mind :-)

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    • July 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm
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      Glad you stopped by :)

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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    Great post! You make me want to start planning a trip of my own!

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    • July 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm
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      Do it, girl!

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  • July 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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    Great thoughts! Love the idea of bringing your own food and eating local and not fancy =)

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    • July 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm
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      It makes such a difference!

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm
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    Love this post, Taylor! So logical! It amazes me how many people complain about not being able to do something because they don’t have the money, and yet they’re either spending it recklessly or not working hard enough! That point about alcohol though – right on the money, lady! On our honeymoon, we just went to the store ourselves instead of getting a drink when we were out for dinner.

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    • July 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm
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      Yes, it can be very frustrating to hear people complain when they’re spending the “extra” money elsewhere. It’s about what you want, what you value. That’s good thinking, girl – alcohol can be so expensive!

      Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 6:05 am
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    These are some
    Great tips! I travel a lot as well and if you budget, you would be surprised on how much you can do on your trip, or even how many more times you can travel a year!

    Reply
    • July 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm
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      Truth! It’s all about the budget :)

      Reply
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