Those who have a love for traveling know that although it’s immensely rewarding to go and visit new places, it can also get insanely expensive. This goes double if you travel for extended time period. Short of having a small fortune at your disposal, you’ll have to get creative and resourceful to make long trips affordable. Here are five tricks to staying under budget without having to cut your trip short.
Think Outside the Hotel
It’s common to try and book a hotel when traveling, but there are so many other types of accommodation that come with their own advantages and are often cheaper. Many hostels offer a surprising amount of luxuries and amenities, and you’ll almost always pay less reserving a room in a hostel than you will a suite in a big name hotel.
Bed and breakfasts are another option, especially in smaller towns or if you’re looking for a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere without spending a bundle. Another option that’s ideal for long-term travelers is renting a privately-owned condo or apartment. Compared to what you’ll spend at an extended stay hotel or corporately owned vacation condos, you’ll have all the comforts of home for a fraction of the price.
Use Airline Points and Miles
This is a secret among those who frequently take extended trips without a trust fund: spend points on your plane tickets rather than money. With the price of flights steadily on the rise, this one thing can easily cause your budget to go over. Having one or two credit cards that you strategically use to maximize points or miles can make a huge difference. Some travelers don’t even pay for their tickets and just use their accumulated points and rewards. Go for the cards that are flexible and offer excellent bonuses.
Make Your Itinerary Count
Make the most of your extended travels by packing in as many cities or sights as possible. For instance, you could visit Spain, Italy, and Croatia during the same vacation rather than seeing Spain one year, Italy another, and so on. Not only will this strategy cut down on trip expenses, it will make for a more adventurous time.
Check the Time of Year
Some destinations will be pricey no matter when you go, but if you’re able to be flexible with the dates that you travel you can save big. For instance, if a certain theme park is most expensive during the summer, head there during late winter when the lines will be shorter, rates will be less expensive, and the park will be offering more discounts and deals. The same goes for planning a long trip that includes stops at popular attractions or cruises.
Know When to Save or Splurge
If you want to come in under budget, you’ll need to figure out what’s most important to you. For instance, if you plan to be out exploring most of the day why spend money on a pricey hotel with tons of amenities that you’ll never use? And if you intend to rent a car for most of your trip, once you do the math, you may find that it’s cheaper to ship your own vehicle to your destination instead. Prioritize and cut out things you don’t truly need to have a great time. You might be able to save money by skipping all but one tourist trap.
As you start thinking differently about planning extended trips, you’ll come up with even more ways to see the world. And now that you have these strategies at hand, you can cure your wanderlust, travel far and wide, and not stress about how to afford it.
About the Author
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy. If you decide to ship a car during a vacation, check prices and locations at America Auto Shipping, LLC.