How To Travel When You’re Broke
This is the final post from our “How To Travel When You’re Broke” series. A few days ago, I wrote about ways to earn extra money for your trip and offered several tips to save money. Now it’s time to plan your affordable, yet unforgettable vacation.
In this guide, we’ll look at ways to minimize the cost of travel so you can travel more often.
Search for a flight on Kayak, and check the price predictor. Set a fare alert and watch the price if the flight is over three months away. When you find the price you want, go ahead and book it.
Off Peak Times
Research when the peak travel times are for your destination and book your trip for the off-season. Rates for hotels and airlines are usually highest during the summer and holidays. Choose a less convenient time to fly, such as Saturday night, red-eyes, or early in the morning. Kayak.com will show you what day is cheapest if you use the +/- 3 days. You’ll be amazed at the price difference.
You may be able to book directly through the airlines or hotel sites and find a better price. It pays to check travel sites as well the company themselves. Sometimes unadvertised deals are listed on these sites.
Want to earn some miles from your hotel stays? Book your stay through RocketMiles.com; this site works with Southwest, United, U.S. Airways, American, and JetBlue to enable you to earn thousands of airline miles.
Check the airline fees before you travel. Most airlines now charge you for every checked bag. The discount ticket you bought may not be such a great deal if you’re paying a fortune to take your suitcase with you. Try to pack your essentials in one carry-on and skip the additional fees.
Buying a travel package is convenient, but it might be more expensive. Price your trip both ways, see what it costs to book each part of your trip individually. The extra work might save you more money than you thought.
Track The Price
Yapta.com is a website that tracks your tickets see if the price changes. You will get an email alerting you if it finds that you can get a lower price on your ticket.
Ebates is a website that pays you cash back just for doing the online shopping that you were going to do anyway. You can find travel sites such as Priceline there that allow you to book a discount trip and get cash back. How great is that!
Watch Out For Deals
You can receive fare alerts from airlines and websites by signing up for their mailing lists. AirfareWatchDog.com announces the cheapest routes and last-minute deals.
Driving is much cheaper than flying in most cases, but gas still costs money. To find the best prices along the way use a website like gasbuddy.com to track prices by zip code. Take a cooler, snacks, and water bottles with you to avoid the expense of eating out and stopping for drinks so many times.
Discount prices and better service is available to members of hotel chain loyalty clubs. Rewards programs from some of the more famous chains include Starwood Preferred Guest, Priority Club, and Hilton HHonors.
Don’t have any money left in the budget for lodging? Try CouchSurfing.org; you can crash on someone’s couch for free. This volunteer-based network has a great community that may enrich your travel experience. Staying with a local may give you more insight into the things to do and places to go in the area.
Prefer a homey feel to a hotel room? You can find some sweet deals on Airbnb.com. This site offers lots of pictures of the rooms as well as reviews from previous guests. You could also rent out your place to make some extra money while you’re on vacation. Save money and make money, that’s a win-win.
Are you going to a theme park, water park or some other tourist attraction on your trip? If so, it’s a good idea to purchase your discount tickets online before you go. Check the park’s website, local credit unions, and the local tourism boards websites for deals on these purchases. Sign up for their newsletters before you go, and you might even score a bigger discount than the ones listed on their sites.
Need some time away, but a vacation just isn’t in the budget right now, try exploring some new things close to home. Visit a state park or museum in a neighboring town. Maybe splurge on a fancy restaurant that you’ always wanted to try.
If your willing to pay some money upfront, camping could be a very inexpensive way to travel. The most economical way to get started is tent camping. You can get a small tent for around $45. Campsites can be free for primitive camping or start at $10 a night for a campground spot.
If your willing to spend a little more to start out, you can find used pop-up campers for as low as a few hundred bucks on Craigslist. Most camping spots with water and electric hook-ups will run you around $35 a night or more, but you could also stay in a Walmart parking lot or a primitive campsite for free.
You would also save on food by being able to prepare meals at your campsite instead of eating out.
Click here for The Ultimate Guide To Traveling When You’re Broke.
With all of these tips, you should be able to find a way to travel on any budget. Whether it’s a cross-country trip or across town, travel doesn’t have to be expensive. So no more excuses that you can’t afford to go, get out there and explore your world.
Share your adventures! Have a good picture from a memorable trip that you could share, or a money saving travel tip? Let us know in the comments.