I get it, traveling is expensive. But seeing new places is one of my favorite hobbies and gives me so much inspiration for my photography! I was explaining to Matthew recently how alive I feel when I’m seeing new places and trying new things. Europe holds so many fond memories for me, and I’m always ready to go at the drop of a hat if you want a traveling buddy. 😀
Anyways…. Here’s a couple of my go-to tips for traveling while staying within a budget.
1. Pre-determine what is important to you and what you will spend money on. When hubs and I went to Jamaica, we chose not to do any of the resort activities *partially because I had hand foot mouth and felt yucky* but partially because it costs $100+ for two people on a two hour activity.
We also limit ourselves the rest of the year – we don’t buy the newest and best technology, or cars, or houses. We go out to eat very rarely, and we buy much of our food in bulk and grow what we can. This allows us to GO on vacation without going into debt.
2. Cook most of your meals. This does take more work, but go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients you need. Splurge and eat out at a couple places, but not every meal, every day.
3. Bring snacks + re-usable waterbottles. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself paying $$ for a plastic waterbottle at lots of random places. Also, some snacks can double as a meal. Also, did you know that you can pack blueberry muffins in a ziplock bag in a carry on and use those for breakfast every day? It totally works.
4. EARLY morning flights are usually cheaper… and then the airport is less crowded so there’s less hassle! 4 AM isn’t fun for anyone… but it’s a lot more fun if you’re saving hundreds of dollars!
5. Air-bnbs are amazing. If a friend offers to let you stay… take them up on it! Some friends texted us last February about coming to visit them in Florida and two weeks later… we were on a plane.
That leads to the next point
6. Be flexible! Last minute plans can end up being cheaper. Like the time we decided to go to Florida in two weeks and spend $200 on two round trip tickets.
7. Be willing to for-go the checked bag. The three times hubs and I have flown together, we’ve just brought two backpacks and one carry on – and its more than enough for a week! I limit myself as far as photography gear goes as well, and I usually skip bringing the laptop and just work from my phone or iPad. There is no such thing as an actual vacation when you own your own business. 😉
8. Look for cheap airfare. Our go-to is Expedia, but I’ve also heard great things about Google Flights and Kayake. These third party sites will do the leg work, so that you don’t have to check every airline. I’ve flown with Alligient and IcelandAir before too and they were both great! Keep checking every day – and you’ll randomly see times when flights get super cheap. That’s how I got a roundtrip ticket to Sweden for $500.
It’s also usually cheaper to fly on weekdays. We try to aim for Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.
9. Look at all the airports around you and where you want to go. It might mean a few extra hours of driving, but if you fly out of a big city, it will almost always save you $$.
10. Don’t buy a hat, a shirt, and snow globe for every single member of your immediate and extended family. I try to buy ONE thing that lasts from every trip I go on, plus something for my husband (because he doesn’t love travel as much as I do) And that’s it. First, things takes up space and traveling light is easier and cheaper. Second, I don’t want my house filled up with meaningless knickknacks. Matthew always get a soccer jersey – because we both think they’re cool, and I love it when I see him wearing ones from the countries I’ve visited! I have a couple special pieces of art around my home that I love, and they’re more special to me because I only have one of them.