absolute best budget travel tips hit the beach for less
Travel Tips
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

Best Budget Travel Tips (So Good You’ll Want to Try Them Now)

Vacations can be expensive! But they don’t have to be. If you want to travel to dreamy destinations, take family vacations or just have a long weekend away, it is possible. Read on for the best budget travel tips and resources!

Best Practices to Finding Budget Travel Deals

Travel rewards credit card

This is listed first because it works! If you’re spending money anyway, you might as well be getting rewarded for it. I mean think about it…you’re buying groceries, eating out and just spending money living life. So earn those points towards free travel!

One of the biggest ways my husband and I have been able to travel so extensively is through rewards points. This includes opening up new cards to get the bonus points! Here’s a great site to find the best rewards credit cards. Just be smart to pay off the balance every month to avoid paying interest.

Visit destinations that are cheap

Consider the cost of food and experiences once you arrive at your destination. Take a look at the exchange rate and research the cost of meals, accommodations and the sights you want to see.

visit budget-friendly destinations in India Mysore palace
Photo credit: Nikki’s travels. Traveling to Southern India using credit card points.

Join every travel rewards program you can

Every time you book a flight, stay in a hotel or rent a car, join their rewards program. You’ll accumulate points to use toward future travel. Being brand loyal when booking travel will allow you to cash in on freebies faster!

Sign up for emails from travel companies

As a master budgeter, I typically say to unsubscribe from emails that will make you want to spend money. However, if you’re planning a trip you’ll need to review your options to maximize savings. Note that I didn’t suggest to buy every offer! If a hotel chain has a promotion for stay three nights and get the fourth free, you should consider it for your next trip.

Take longer trips

For international trips, your largest expense is likely your flights. So if you can afford to take a three week vacation instead of just one week, you’ll actually save money. Once you’re overseas, you could visit several countries or areas before hopping on a plane back home. Bonus: you’ll get to check more locations off your bucket list!

How to Book the Cheapest Flight Possible

Be flexible with dates

You may have heard this before – because it’s one of the best budget travel tips! If you can only fly on the weekends, during summer break or holidays, you are going to pay premium prices. Period. However if you can fly out on a Wednesday and return on a Tuesday, you’ll likely save money. Oh, and that Caribbean destination might just be cheaper to fly to during April instead of the dead of winter.

best travel budget hacks avoid Caribbean during peak season
Photo credit: Nikki’s travels. Traveling to the Caribbean during budget-friendly off season.

Try an airport near you

Depending on where you live, sometimes your ‘home’ airport isn’t the cheapest. For instance, I live in Omaha so flying out of Kansas City, Chicago or Minneapolis saves hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. It’s worth the extra 2-6 hour drive for saving that kind of money. Try this for your destination airport too!

Go incognito

Years ago I heard that airlines track the flights you’re searching and modify their rates. Whether that’s true or not, avoid the risk and set your browser to privacy mode when you’re searching for flights.

Consider booking one-way flights

By searching for just one-way flights, you may be able to save money by buying flights to your destination on one airline and from your destination on another. My husband did this last year for our weekend in Austin. He used points for the flight out on one airline and booked a separate airline to return home for only $52!

Sign up for a travel discount subscription service

Free is awesome. However searching for hours and hours to find the best price can be time consuming. Consider the alternative: travel deals coming to you. Some of my favorite travel subscription services are in the next section.

My Favorite Sites to Find Cheap Flights

Finding cheap flights can be a daunting task. But knowing where to look is half the battle! Here are my five favorite tools for booking the best deals on flights.

  • Next vacay. This one has a small annual fee but you’ll make it back with your first booked flight.
  • Secret Flying. Great for international trips.
  • Scott’s Cheap Flights. Free or premium versions available.
  • FareDrop. Also a small annual fee but based on the deals they send you, it will be the best investment you make all year.
  • Kayak. Great for domestic or international flights. Plus their buying advice widget tells you what the fares are likely to do.

Best Budget Travel Tips for Accommodations

Try VRBO or Airbnb

If you’re not looking for the amenities of a hotel, then a cheaper option is to stay at a private residence. From individual homes and condos to guest houses and log cabins, there’s no shortage of options. I’ve been able to travel to some amazing destinations for less than the cost of traditional hotels.

View from our budget-friendly Colorado VRBO cabin
Photo credit: Nikki’s travels. View from my budget-friendly VRBO cabin in the mountains.

Split the cost of accommodations

You could do this by traveling with a large group and staying in a large space. Like three families sharing a large condo or home that can creatively accommodate a larger group. Or this can be done by staying in a hostel. (link hostel site) Picture dorm-like setting where you’re renting a bed instead of a room. This is a super common way to travel in Europe, and is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.

Try housesitting

This is one of my favorite budget travel tips! You can literally get paid to stay at someone else’s house. There’s one caveat: watching their pet(s) is usually part of the deal. Perfect if you love animals. Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to stay?

More of the Best Budget Travel Tips

Try bundling your booking all at once

If you’re going on a ‘traditional’ trip, where you’re booking flights, hotel and rental car, seriously consider booking all three with the same provider to save some cash.

Save on a rental car

My two favorite places to save money on rental cars is through my travel credit card rewards portal (FREE!) and Autoslash. Why pay premium prices when you don’t have to?

Don’t over pack

Over packing leads to extra baggage fees, not to mention a larger rental car once you get there. Skip the headache and pack only what you need.

Jump on a good deal

Part of getting the best budget travel deal is knowing when to book. Don’t miss out on a great deal because you’re waiting for the next one!

Well friend, I hope you will use these tips and tools for your next trip! It truly is possible to travel the world, even on a tight budget. Follow the strategies above and make a plan. The world is ready for you to explore it!

So, which resource or strategy are you going to try first? Drop it in the comments below!

If you loved this article, share it or save it for later!

save money on your next vacation the best travel tips for every budget with a palm tree background
best list of budget travel tips find cheap flights, accommodations and more with photo of the beach and pier
discover the best ever budget travel tips - background is palace in India
best ever budget travel tips to save you tons of money

22 Responses

  1. Wow! There is so much incredible information in this article. I love to travel and have also prided myself on being able to do it on a budget but I haven’t used most of these tips! So excited to put them to use on my next trip(s)!

  2. You are right, I do want to try them all. The first one I am trying is the car rental website. Thanks!

  3. Hi! Thanks for the tips! They are great! I agree with the reward credit card tip. We travel to Disney a lot and have their reward card. We earn enough to cover a couple of nights at our a resort each year!

    1. Oh nice Terri! Travel credit cards are so worth it! Love that you’re getting great benefits with your Disney card.

    1. Thanks Louise! Flights are so expensive and I hate paying full price! Hope you snag some good deals through these sites.

  4. LOVE the tip about signing up for every rewards program you can. I absolutely hate seeing unused rewards points left on the table! We fly completely for free on rewards points from our credit cards. It is SO worth it!

    1. Yes Kelly yes! Rewards points are 100% the way to go! Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

  5. What a very informative list of ways to save! Some of these I’ve done myself but browsing for ticket prices in incognito mode and booking one way tickets isn’t something I typically do so I will definitely add that (and some of your other tips) to my money saving travel list 🙂

  6. I always forget to set the browser to privacy!! Good reminder, I noticed prices jumping all over the place when I was looking up flights today.

    1. So glad this article served as a reminder for you. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

  7. Very informative post!! I need to try the incognito window thing. I’ve seen that somewhere before but need to actually do it for our upcoming vacay!

    As always, love your blog Nikki!

    1. Aww, thanks Laura! Let me know how going incognito works out for you! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.