Traveling on a Budget

 Travel on a budget

How to travel for 5 days on $2,000 or less! 

So you are wanting to travel a bit this summer, but don’t want to completely blow your savings? Maybe you are focusing on paying off debt or planning to buy a house soon. Perhaps you just want to travel as often as possible while spending as little as possible. I got you. Here are my suggestions on how to travel with financial wellness in mind.

Tip 1- Friends & Family Travel!

Make a list of all of your friends, sorted by the region where they live. If you have Facebook, it’s a great time to use the feature where you can see where your friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, currently live. Send out a Postable and update all of your contacts’ addresses. Go ahead and send a nice holiday card while you are at it. Offer to let your friends / family stay with you anytime. Ask if it would be okay to visit for a weekend and crash at their place. Be courteous. Bring a nice bottle of wine (buy at a local liquor store), offer to cook dinner for them, send a thank you card, etc. Friends & Family Travel is the number one tip and incredibly underutilized by the right people (the polite ones who are too shy to ask!) This alone will save you at least $200 per night / well over $1,000 for almost a week! If you don’t feel comfortable asking to stay with a friend or if your target destination is Australia and you don’t happen to know anyone there, I can help you find a great value deal. Let’s chat! But in the meantime, take a look at tip #2! 


Tip 2- Embrace Shoulder Season! 

Travel out of season and you will save thousands! My husband and I traveled to Nantucket in April as well as October. These months mark the early beginning and late end of “The Season.” I (as a badass Travel Agent) got us an amazing rate ($186 for a 2 bedroom residence in April for the Daffodil Festival!) 🌼 October has The Cranberry festival. Nantucket is amazing for shoulder season. Hawaii is another great example. There are usually fewer people, less demands on the sought-after reservations, and, of course, better rates!

As much fun as the crowded touristy times can be, they are also quite expensive. 💰 Travel at the tail ends of “The High Season” as much as possible and you will receive better rates, coveted restaurant reservations, and a more relaxed travel experience, sans stressful crowds. Travel on a Tuesday or on a Sunday to get the most bang for your buck. Avoid the first day of holiday weekends, art fairs, and festivals.

Some cities have the opposite of a shoulder season… avoid certain dates or holidays, such as Austin City Limits in Austin (unless you are going! It’s fun) Austin is a wonderful city where you can go kayaking as well as fine dining, probably back to back! Almost everything is nearby and everyone is friendly. ATX is where I live. Austin 24 hour city guide coming soon! 

Tip 3- Buy your ticket ahead, choose commercial, and travel on a Tuesday! ✈️ 

Always fly economy unless you absolutely must fly business. Southwest isn’t my favorite but it does tend to have some unreal deals if you book ahead. Recently they just had a 50% off sale. I had friends book flights in the single digits. Surely they also used miles, but wow! Definitely worth snagging a deal. I am much more “comfortable” on a flight knowing I didn’t get ripped off and thinking of the many other ways I could spend the money that I save by flying economy over the next couple of years.

Tip 4- Set a budget, and stay within the budget- and make a little money while you are at it! 

Assuming you are staying with a friend, they offer to pick you up from the airport, and you snagged your SX ticket at $125 roundtrip to San Diego, you have approximately $1,800 left to spend. (You politely declined the pick up offer since it’s a bit out of the way for your guest and it’s a Tuesday, so they are working. You called a Lyft for $30 and made a stop at the liquor store, picking up a nice bottle of Sancerre for $40). Thank them for having you. You mention you would love to host them next time! You all cook dinner at the house, drink your bottle of Sancerre, and go for a nice walk around their La Jolla neighborhood. You plan out the rest of your 4 days, full of mostly free activities, beaches, walks, a museum visit and meeting up with an old school friend in the area who also works in your industry. You brought your laptop, so you are working remotely while you are there. Why not? No need to take a full vacation, especially if the time zone works in your favor. In Hawaii, you may have to wake up at 4am, but your workday will be over by noon! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! 

Tip 5- Intermittent Fasting!

Trips are possibly the one time I enjoy intermittent fasting. I don’t engage in airport spending since everything tends to be overpriced and usually the quality- it’s just not the best! So I don’t eat from morning until noon. Unless of course, I happen to be in an airport with an AmEx lounge (These are lifesavers, but some don’t open until after 10am. I tend to take the 5am flights because I’m quite the masochist and I like to fully enjoy the day, even when I fly. If you are not American Express cardholder, I strongly suggest you apply for various reasons. As a travel agent for National Travel, Travel Rewards, I have affiliation with American Express. I will write an article on this in the future.

So what is after breakfast? My first stops when I land (especially if I don’t rent a car- to save money but also to reduce my carbon footprint) is either a local grocery store and / or a liquor store. Ideally stay near a farmer’s market or at least a local grocery store (Foodland in Maui actually has the best Poké in town, and the most affordable!) so you can get cheap lunches rather than an overpriced restaurant. So this leaves you with approximately $300 per day for savings, dinner, bar-hopping, shopping, your coffee addiction, paid tourist attractions, or whatever else you’d like to spend your money on. Whatever it is, make it a unique, local experience. Try to avoid Starbucks or drinking beer with every meal- both your budget and your waistline will thank you! Opt for water first. Pack light, but pack properly so you don’t have to buy anything. Make sure you bring everything that you need, such as a travel toothbrush with a case. Don’t neglect your dental hygiene and gums! Maybe even bring some protein powder and a blender bottle if you are into the whole health thing. You’ll save money. All of your clothes will still fit and some might be a little loose! 😉 Walk, don’t rent a car. Make sure your FitBit is fully charged & ready to stroll.

Some of these tips are very similar to the packing light / minimalistic travel article I wrote. By now, I hope you realize the synergy between financial wellness and physical wellness, as well as general sustainability. The more aware you are of this connection the more you will value when your decision-making will result in a long term benefit for you and your loved ones. Stay well & stay under budget! 

Warmest regards and happy travels!



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