Travel Till You Drop Logo

32 Clever Budget Travel Tips For Saving Money on Your Trip

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice doing what you’ve been dreaming of – it just means you might have to walk that extra mile to the shops instead of getting a taxi. With the right planning and budget travel tips, you can enjoy your trip and experience new cultures without breaking the bank.  Our 32 practical and effective budget travel tips are based on real travel stories and experiences and are designed to help you save money on transportation, accommodation, food, and activities.

Whether you’re a student, a backpacker, or just looking to save some money on your next adventure, these budget travel tips will help you make the most out of your trip while keeping your wallet happy. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the world on a budget!

Best Budget travel tips

  • Booking
  • Getting from A to B
  • Accommodation 
  • Don’t be a Tourist
  • Food & Drink 

Booking

  • 1. Have a Plan

Whether you have a single destination in mind or want to visit several destinations, making a clear choice about where you’re headed will help you plan your budget travel tips effectively. A well-thought-out plan will help you avoid cancellation fees or expensive last-minute bookings. If you can’t decide – chat with friends and read amazing travel blogs to help you choose.

Have a Plan for budget travel tips
Credit: Oxana V
  • 2. Be Spontaneous

We all dream of that all-inclusive trip to the Maldives, but sometimes plans change, and you must settle for a weekend in Budapest. But don’t let this get you down, and always keep in mind that being flexible to stay within your travel budget is what makes those dream trips possible later on.   

  • 3. Research before you book

Planning your next getaway is an exciting process, and it can be tempting to book the first hotel and flight package that you find. It’s important to take a step back and write down all your flight, hotel, and activity options so you can see the pros and cons for each. For example, you may find the more expensive boat tour is a better value because it includes pick up, drop off, and lunch. 

  • 4. Comparison Sites

Websites like Skyscanner or Google Flights can save you time and money by quickly finding the cheapest options based on your budget travel tips and details. Check these sites regularly because budget travel is often made possible by last-minute deals with limited availability. Always look out for hidden costs and make sure you book with a secure & reputable operator. 

  • 5. Get Insured

Without travel insurance, a minor emergency can quickly turn your budget travel tips into an expensive catastrophe. There’s a host of trusted providers available online, including Safety Wing, who offer completely customized insurance packages – so you only pay for the coverage you need. 

Getting from A to B

  • 6. Off-season

Oh, honey, traveling during popular holidays and school vacations can be a serious blow to your bank account. I mean, who wants to pay a small fortune just to be crammed like sardines on a flight, right? So here’s the plan: ditch the crowds and plan your trips for the off-season. This magical time of year will shower you with better value travel options. Plus, you can take shorter weekend trips and the kids will only miss a day or two of school – it’s like a win-win for everyone! And hey, keep your eyes peeled for those off-season hotel or hostel deals. The universe wants you to stick to your budget, so take advantage of it! 

  • 7, Travel Tuesdays

Guess what, my fellow adventurers? Studies have found that Tuesdays are the cheapest days for travel and booking. I know, it sounds crazy, but there’s some serious magic in those Tuesdays. So, do yourself a favor and book your trips to depart and return on weekdays. Not only will you save some serious cash, but you’ll also avoid the chaos of weekend travel. I mean, who wants to deal with crowds and amateurs when you can glide through airport security like the fierce, travel-savvy boss that you are?

  • 8. Pack Carefully

Oh, the joys of packing. It’s like trying to fit your whole life into a tiny suitcase, am I right? But here’s the deal: bring what you need and keep it simple. I know, it’s basic advice, but apparently, some people still haven’t mastered the art of packing light. Like, have you ever bought a plug adapter at the airport for five times the retail price because your dog allegedly ate yours? Trust me, it’s not a cute or budget-friendly situation. So be smart, my fierce traveler, and pack light to avoid unnecessary airline fees and the stress of dragging around a million suitcases. Don’t be that person struggling at the baggage carousel while everyone else is off having the time of their lives.

  • 9. Book Early

Booking your trip in advance is a surefire way to travel on a budget.  Generally, you’ll find lower prices and better availability if you book far enough in advance. Last-minute bookings are often expensive, and the best-value trips may be sold out because the early bird gets the worm (most of the time). 

  • 10. Budget Transport

Remember: Listen, ladies, it’s not about how you get there, it’s just important that you do. So why not make some sacrifices on legroom and inflight bundle add-ons? Not only will it keep your budget healthy, but those extra savings can go towards more important things (like, you know, liquor). So ditch the boujee airlines and choose a budget option like a ferry or bus. You’ll still get from A to B, and you’ll save a few dollars in the meantime. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Budget Transport for budget travel tips
Credit: Jordan Steranka
  • 11. Walk

Oh, the joys of walking. It’s free, it’s healthy, and it’s your best chance to see local sights without having to worry about your budget. Trust me, my fearless travelers, if you can walk, you should walk. Plan your route using a navigation app like Google Maps, and set off with plenty of food and water. Who knows, you might even stumble upon some hidden gems that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. I do this in my own neighborhood, and everywhere I travel. It’s the best way to soak up all the small details that make an area unique.

  • 12. Public Transport

It might be obvious, but you can hop on the bus instead of booking that taxi. Depending on your destination, the public transport available to you is a budget-friendly option that will take you to restaurants, beaches, nightclubs, and more. For longer durations, weekly and monthly travel passes are available to help frequent travelers save money – BritRail Passes provide discounted train travel across the UK, and Trainline offers excellent options when traveling throughout Europe. 

Accommodation

  • 13. Avoid Hotels – Try Hostels 

Unless you stumble across a brilliant deal to stay at a hotel, you’re likely to pay competitive daily rates for your room. Hostels are great options for solo trippers or groups and involve sleeping in rooms with others and using shared bathroom facilities. Hotel prices include services, such as room cleaning, that are great but unnecessary if you’re trying to save money. Consider alternatives, such as hostels or even Booking.com, where you can book single rooms in a local’s house. There’s a reason why so many people traveling on a budget stay in hostels – they’re super cheap. it will be great budget travel tips for you.

  • 14. Try Outskirts

City center stays are so last year, don’t you think? It’s time to switch things up and embrace the outskirts. Do your research about accommodation in less “touristy” areas, and you’ll be likely to come across places to stay at very affordable rates. Not only will this save you some serious cash, but it will also contribute to your authentic experience of the local area. So, live like a local, and embrace a new culture.

  • 15. Share your Stay

Listen, ladies, sharing is caring – and it can also save you some serious cash! Best budget travel tip ever: Split the costs of an apartment rental with friends to cover travel costs as a group. This way, you can easily split living expenses and tasks, such as cleaning or cooking. Sites like Airbnb offer apartments with multiple bedrooms at affordable prices, so you can travel in style without breaking the bank. And if you don’t have anyone to share with, no worries! There are plenty of free websites where you can find like-minded people heading to your destination.

  • 16. Dining Deals

You know what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially when you’re on a budget. Depending on the nature of your stay, you may be able to book accommodation deals that include food. Look for deals with breakfast and/or dinner options to secure your meals ahead of time. Paying for meals upfront may seem expensive, but it will usually save you money in the long run. Don’t leave it to the last minute! Trust me, adding food to your package on or after arrival can be costly.

Dining Deals
Credit: Casey Lee
  • 17. Free Cancellation

Listen up, my fearless travelers, being flexible is key when it comes to planning your grand adventures. So, make sure you can cancel your bookings as late as possible without those pesky fees. Trust me, being tied down to a rigid accommodation for longer than you need can seriously put a dampener on your stay and deprive you of all those unexpected, spontaneous experiences that make travel so damn exciting. Keep your options open, be ready to adjust your plans on the fly, and embrace the magic of the unknown!

Don’t be a Tourist

  • 18. Haggle 

Now, I’m not suggesting you try to haggle your way out of paying your restaurant bill after consuming one too many bottles of wine (although it might make for an interesting story). But, my fierce adventurers, you’d be surprised by the number of opportunities there are to flex your haggling muscles and score some sweet deals. Whether it’s at the local markets, souvenir shops, or even with street vendors, always start low and be prepared to strut away if they dare to ask for too much. Remember, confidence is the key here. Channel your inner badass negotiator and show them who’s boss.

  • 19. Free Tours

Search for local free tours – these are well-suited to budget travelers and will show you the area and give you a chance to meet new people along the way. Don’t worry if you can’t find any because there are often plenty of free self-tour guides online that let you explore the locality at your own pace. Check out GuruWalk – the leading online free tour website with thousands of free experiences.  

  • 20. Travel Card

When you spend money on your travels, the last thing you need is to pay extra in credit card fees. a budget travel tips that Sets up a free travel credit card before you travel so you can securely spend money at your destination without having to worry about international charges or bad currency exchange rates. Choose a card with features well-suited to your trip and requirements – e.g., cash withdrawal fees or interest rates. 

  • 21. Track Expenses

It’s crucial to stay on top of your finances during your travels. To do so, use a free expense-tracking app or even a spreadsheet to record all your spending. Free budget tracking apps, such as Snoop, can automatically sync with your bank account, eliminating the need for manual inputting of expenses. By staying up to date with your spending, you’ll be able to see where you’re saving money, and also identify areas where you may be overspending. Maybe you didn’t need to buy that extra pair of sunglasses after all!

  • 22. Loyalty Schemes

One way to save money on travel is by taking advantage of loyalty programs and reward schemes. These programs are designed to offer discounts to repeat customers, which means that the more you travel, the cheaper it gets. Booking.com, for example, provides unlockable lifetime rewards that include flight discounts and free hotel upgrades. Joining the free loyalty programs of your favorite travel providers is a great way to start collecting points and saving money on future trips. So don’t hesitate, start signing up for those loyalty programs today!

  • 23. Rental Apps

A great option for finding budget stays on the go. There are plenty of mobile apps to help you discover local apartments or even spare bedrooms on the go. Free Apps such as Airbnb and Homestay help you browse and find locally hosted stays at your destination; they provide flexible, short-term bookings to fit into your budget travel experience. Here, you can begin your authentic experience and hopefully meet lots of local people during your travel. 

  • 24. ATM Fees

Just when you thought you had a travel-friendly debit card, those pesky ATMs abroad can still drain your hard-earned cash faster than you can say “currency exchange.” So, here’s the deal: avoid using cash whenever you can and whip out that trusty card instead. Save those big bills for card payments, where you can earn some sweet points (and avoid foreign transaction fees). Now, I get it, sometimes you just need cold, hard cash. But listen up, fearless travelers, the key is to be careful when withdrawing and always steer clear of the mind-boggling currency conversion rates offered at the ATM.

  • 25. Local SIM Card

Why pay ridiculous roaming or international fees from your home network provider when you can be a savvy traveler and buy eSIMs online? That’s right, my fearless friend, embrace the power of paying local rates with a handy dandy eSIM or pre-paid local SIM card. Pro tip: buy those babies online or at local stores and kiosks when you arrive. Don’t even think about splurging on one at the airport – they’ll cost you extra, and we’re all about saving those precious pennies. Do some research, read reviews, and find the best options that will have you shouting “no more fees!” And hey, remember, don’t let yourself get tangled in any costly subscriptions that are as hard to cancel as a bad blind date.

  • 26. Make the most of Promotions

You know what’s better than exploring a new destination? Exploring it for free or at a ridiculously discounted price! And guess what? Those local travel apps are the key to unlocking some serious promotions and deals. Download them all, my daring adventurers, and prepare to be amazed at the number of discounts and free rides just waiting for new customers like yourself. Uber, Yango, and Placie – you name it, they’re all out to woo you with irresistible offers. Just be smart and don’t fall for any costly subscriptions. Travel for free, my friend, and then swiftly cancel any commitments you might have made. It may not work indefinitely, but hey, it’s a great way to get acquainted with your local area without spending a dime.

  • 27. Share (if you can) 

Solo travel is incredible, no doubt about it. But let’s face it, sometimes your budget could use a little TLC. That’s where sharing costs with fellow adventurers comes in handy. Now, you don’t need an army of friends with cars to make this work. Dive into the depths of social media and local websites, my intrepid explorers, to find people heading your way with a spare seat. Split those cross-country car trip costs and watch your budget breathe a sigh of relief.

Food & Drink

  • 28. Cook for Yourself

Another budget travel tip: If you have a kitchen, cooking your own food will save huge amounts of money. Don’t worry about missing out on local culture; you can still eat at restaurants occasionally, but your budget will thank you for cooking most meals. Find recipes for local dishes and give them a go yourself!

  • 29. Find out where the locals eat

Many review websites will encourage the ‘touristy’ places with overpriced food and drinks. Speak to locals during your trip, and you’ll find plenty of authentic food spots that may not be on TripAdvisor. Great food at lower prices – you can’t lose! 

  • 30. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Another budget travel tips is to Save on the daily costs of buying water by bringing your own bottle. This environmentally friendly tip will save you cash in the long run, and you can do the same for coffee, too! The majority of hostels and hotels have safe drinking water fill-up stations, so you can save a couple of dollars each day instead of buying water. 

  • 31. Lunch not Dinner 

If you don’t want to cook at home and are hoping to try local cuisine, then book a lunch at a restaurant – it’s usually cheaper than going out for dinner. Lunch menu prices are better suited to your budget and will help you eat out more often without eating (pun intended) into your savings, and you may even have extra to take home with you. 

  • 32. Value Groceries

Look for value stores and be prepared to buy food that isn’t made by the big names. Convenience stores are often well-situated for tourists and offer a range of the typical food you need – but they charge a premium and aren’t your best choice if traveling on a budget. 

Golden Tip:

Golden budget travel tip: Get to Know as many people as you can! People are often an overlooked part of budgeting. From invites over to dinner to being offered a spare room in someone’s house, by meeting new people, you’ll encounter many new experiences that let you save money abroad. 

Conclusion

As a solo traveler, it’s important to be diligent and take every opportunity to cut down costs and avoid rushing to make bookings that you might regret in the future. Sometimes, you might have to cook for yourself or settle for instant coffee, but these budget travel tips will equip you to avoid touristy expenses and ultimately have a rich and authentic travel experience. 

No matter where you go, and if you want to travel in luxury on a budget, make sure you remember to stop by Travel Till You Drop to learn about all the travel tips!

Book Your Trip : Check Out My Resources for Your Travel Needs

 

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.  This is my very first stop when I’m looking for my next trip. It’s a fast, easy-to-use search engine that is perfect for finding an affordable flight, a perfect hotel, and the right rental car for you in locations around the globe.

Book Your Accommodation

If you are looking for a super budget friendly location and are open to a hostel stay, make sure you book your hostel with Hostelworld. It offers the broadest range of quality hostels around the world. 

If you’d prefer a hotel or a guesthouse for stays less than 28 days, drop on over to Booking.com It’s perfect for providing excellent options, a ton of user reviews, and prices to fit every budget.

For stays over 28 days, AirBnB still remains my #1 choice. User reviews and monthly pricing allow for some incredible deals all around the world.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is but a small up-front investment that you won’t want to leave home without. After just one experience of having to delay or cancel your trip or having your luggage stolen, you’ll wish you would have made that investment.  I’ve hated my life a few times when the moment arose, and I decided to skip out.  Let’s just say, I’ve changed my ways and recommend each of the following companies to protect your ass-ets.

My favorite companies are:         

Want to Travel for Free?

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to getting free flights to get started.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Check out my Resource Page for the best companies to help you book your travel at reduced rates!  This list will help you get to where you’re going.  I know-I use them ALL the time!  

Postage
About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

Join me to get exclusive travel tips, giveaways and more!

I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.