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How to Travel on a Budget in 4 Simple Ways

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Trying to make your dollar stretch further? Check out these four tips to learn how to travel on a budget when planning your next vacation.


With inflation on the rise, many are starting to feel the strain. But the current economy shouldn’t stop you from traveling the world, especially when using the U.S. dollar.

man sits on bench with luggage in hands, no head appears

Tip #1 - Travel Light


For anyone who knows me, you already know how I feel about checked baggage. For lots of carriers, checked baggage is an extra charge. You can save money on your flights by using a cabin bag alone that fits within the airline’s required dimensions. You can wear items multiple times, pack laundry sheets for a quick sink wash and limit your shoes/outerwear to cut down on the “extras.” Skimp on toiletries or cosmetics, making sure to fit all liquids into the restricted milliliters (travel size bottles all the way!).


Tip #2 - Currency Strength


Way to go USD! The dollar has strengthened in the last year, which only makes overseas travel even more attractive. When I studied abroad in London in 2007, the British pound was almost 2-to-1 against the USD, making a night out a VERY expensive evening. Now, we are close to parity on both the British pound (~$1.22/pound) AND the Euro (~$1.07)! This means our dollars go even further abroad!


Tip #3 - Meal Prep


I don’t necessarily mean prepping food, but having that option is definitely a plus! I was able to save significantly in Copenhagen by purchasing groceries and having access to a communal kitchen to prepare dinners and breakfasts. I then used the savings for lunch and other fun activities around the city!


Even if you don’t have access to a kitchen or just don’t want to cook while on vacation, do a little leg work before your trip so you aren’t forced to stop at a more expensive restaurant just because the group has suddenly become hangry! Be sure to research some cheap eats, lunch specials or looking for local cafes over an expensive, international chain. It usually pays to eat and drink local. Also, if you do decide to eat out for a meal, lunch specials help your budget better than dinner. Cafes and restaurants tend to offer cheaper options at lunch, so eating your big meal in the middle of the day not only means more savings, but you will also be full of energy for afternoon adventures!


Tip #4 - Partner Up


Grab a travel buddy to make accommodations more cost-effective. You can rent a single room, or even a full house if you have a crowd to help split the cost. Communal living in hostels or CouchSurfing are other ways to reduce your nightly expense if you are feeling even more adventurous.


Another way to save funds if you are more flexible on time, location and/or willing to put in a little work – housesitting or home exchange! There are several companies that offer house sitting or home swapping. Trusted Housesitters allows you to discover new homestays around the world while caring for adorable pets. Home Exchange or the luxury site, Kindred, allow you to play Kate Winslet or Cameron Diaz in a home swap for vacation.


Travel Big This Year!


Taking a vacation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; some careful planning and unique thinking is all it takes to travel on a lower budget.


Let me know which tips for traveling on a budget you have already implemented!

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