Saving for a holiday can be a total uphill battle, and sometimes it’ll feel like you can never win. But trust us, you can, and you will. Travel on a budget is easier than you think! We’ve compiled a list of easy budget travel tips to help you save up to book your perfect holiday, and spend less while you’re there.
Read on, and we’ll meet you in the sunshine…
Saving At Home
1. Pack you own lunch
Starting off with a nice and easy one to implement in your daily life. You’d be amazed at the money you can save by bringing a packed lunch to work instead of eating out everyday. Cook a little extra dinner each night or stock up on lunch essentials during your weekly shop! Make food in bulk (think pasta, soups, rice bowls) then pop it in the fridge and take a portion each day! Watch the cash trickle back into your account.
Top Tip: Invest in some cute and colourful Tupperware to make your packed lunch even more appealing.
2. Brew at home
If you can cut the coffee out of your routine, great! If you can’t, consider making your hot drinks at home and bringing them with you, everywhere you go, in a sweet little travel mug!
If you absolutely must get your coffee from an established business, though, why not look into subscriptions? Now, it sounds like a lot of money. £20 a month? No way! But listen, how many coffees do you have in a day? If you could get at least one free coffee a day (or a few times a day in some instances) that’s a lot of money that you can be saving for something else…
3. Watch out for Travel Deals
We love a good deal! And actually, there are travel deals on a lot of the time – you just have to know where and when to look. It’s worth checking with your credit card provider as well, a lot of banks partner with airlines to offer travel rewards. Maybe a family member or two have some loose air miles hanging around that they’re not planning on using either… It’s always worth asking!
4. Actually check your bank balance
If, like most people, you live in constant fear of checking your bank balance, why not try something new? Be brave, take a peek! It can’t be that bad.
But seriously though, this is the best money saving tip! Analysing your monthly spendings is a great way to know where your money’s actually going at all times. It sounds boring, I don’t even know how to make a spreadsheet, but in the long run it will really help. One afternoon a month is all you need. Did you sub a friend who forgot to pay you back? Get on top of your spending and figure out where each and every penny is going.
Top Tip: you may be subscribed to a few services you don’t use anymore… check them out and clear those skeletons from your closet!
5. Book in advance
You may be surprised to hear this (I certainly was) but you can book flights way way waaaaaay in advance to when they actually happen. I’m talking at least a year. Now, booking a year in advance isn’t always a viable option when you have to get friend groups organised, or leave from work approved.
But, if and where you can, book. in. advance! It’ll make a world of difference for the costs, especially if you’re wanting to travel during a country’s peak times!
6. Change your phone to pay-as-you-go
Do you really, REALLY need the latest iPhone when you can pick up a cheapie older version off eBay for a fraction of the price? Breaking free from your mobile phone contract and living life on the edge with PAYG is actually pretty liberating but more than that, it means you can be completely on top of what you’re spending. Remember the days when you use to call your friends just to say ‘call me back’? Bring them back, even just until your holiday is over.
7. Sell your old stuff
Open your wardrobe and look inside – how many items have you actually worn in the last month? Time for some spring cleaning. Get yourself on Vinted or DePop or any of the big thrifty apps and start raking in the cash. You have taste, your a fashion icon. You’ll have no issue shipping some bits off to loving new homes and making a few bucks in return. Take it from someone who sells regularly: it is ADDICTIVE. That price battle between bidders 5 seconds before the sale ends? Pure tenderhooks excitement.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to do your research on the postage. If an item needs to be recorded post or you don’t know how much it weighs, look at other sellers selling similar items for guidance.
8. Set up a savings account
Setting up a separate ‘For Travel’ savings account is a no brainer. Make a weekly or monthly budget for yourself and at the end of that time period put whatever you have left over into your travel savings account. A little becomes a lot of money this way – it’s basically magic!
People say you spend to your means and it’s totally true (Parksinson’s Law – check it out), so buck the trend and get rich quick.
9. Travel mid-week
Weekends are the preferred travel times, as we all know. But, there are a few cons. First of all, it’s more expensive, and second of all, there’s soooo many people! If you travel mid-week you’ll not only be cutting costs but also you’ll spend less time waiting in queues and more time chilling!
Does this mean you maybe might have to take an extra holiday day from work? Maybe, but the trade off is so worth it. More memories, more fun, more money to spend!
10. Compare Flights
This is budget travel tips 101: the first flight you find will almost certainly not be the cheapest one. Keep digging.
Flight comparison sites like Skyscanner, TravelSupermarket and Kayak allow you to compare multiple airlines and flight routes so you know you’re getting the cheapest rate. Plus, don’t forget that airlines have sales too! Follow your favourite airlines on Facebook/Twitter for all the latest updates. Cheap flights aren’t hard to find if you know where to look…
Saving While There
11. Avoid Peak Season
Everything is more expensive during peak season, especially flights and accommodations, which are going to be your biggest costs anyway. Avoid school holiday times when you can, especially summer. I know I know, ugh, right? But actually, depending on where you go, you can get a lot of that luscious July weather in May as well! Plus, if you travel in winter or autumn, you’ll be treated with a fabulous new perspective.
12. Dust off your sneakers
Because really, who wants to sit on public transport when there’s a whole world to see? Swap that bus/tram/tube for the great outdoors and hit the pavements (or jump on a bike) for your daily commute. So you may have to get up a little earlier but with all those endorphins swimming round your body, you’ll be too happy to care! And, it’s great exercise, what a win win!
Or, if you’re visiting an area where transport is a must, look into rental cars! Some of the costs might be more worth it that way.
13. Hostels are the way to go
Does the word ‘hostel’ strike fear in your heart? Is it mainly because of the 2005 movie? Yes? Well, you’re not alone – that movie was terrifying. But good news, real life hostels don’t tend to be filled with psychos! Instead, they’re filled with friendly travellers just like you. Sure it’s not the most luxurious, but when you’re tryna save a buck do you really expect glitz and glam? We guarantee though that you’ll have a great time, especially if you like meeting new people, and indulging in souvenirs with all that money you’ve saved!
14. Get. Travel. Insurance.
Is it an extra cost at the checkout, sure, but if you have to cancel or fall ill or lose your phone on the plane, you’re fully covered baby – and that security is worth more than the £40 extra you’ll pay.
It’s tempting to look past it, trust me I’ve done the same, but don’t be silly. It’s a major life saver if and when you need it! Get travel insurance.
15. Pack light
Suitcases. This is where the airlines really get ya, those cheeky corporations. But we know all the tricks. Make sure your bag is up to code (and by that we mean right size and under the weight limit) like any travel legend and money saving pro.
Top Tip: Wear your heaviest items on the plane/train/bus there, even if that includes doubling up!
16. Freebies are your new besties
This list is all about budget travel tips so you can splash the cash while you’re there, sure! But it doesn’t hurt to keep up the good habits, aye? Truth is, there are loads of free tourist options at most locations, even the crazy popular ones. Keep an eye out for free walking tours, free museums, free tastings, etc. Free is the keyword, obviously, and if you set out looking for it you’ll be surprised at the quantity and quality of what you can find!
17. Eat local
DO NOT follow the crowd. They’ll be going to all the instagrammable restaurants, the really expensive ones, the ones on all the top 10 lists. And don’t get us wrong, those restaurants are good, great even! But eating where the locals eat, in hole-in-the-wall places, restaurants you wouldn’t know existed if you didn’t know where to look, is far greater.
Not only will you find the cheapest prices here, you’ll also be eating real authentic food from the area! It’s an absolute win.
18. Do your research
We all have bucket list destinations, and one day we’ll all tick every single box off (fingers crossed). In the meantime, though, choices will have to be made. When you’re travelling on a budget, maybe long haul flights and big cities aren’t the right choice. No matter where you want to go, just doing some basic research is a must.
Plan out your day to day, how much will you be spending and where and on what? Make a spreadsheet (spreadsheets are sooo in right now!) and map it all out. It’s not very spontaneous and free-spirited of you, but hey, we’re trying not to break the bank here, and maybe being a real adult for once isn’t such a bad thing…
19. Bring cash
Avoid tricky extra fees at the ATM or through credit card payments, and instead get some cold hard cash! Of course, in the age of post-covid this can be a little finnicky – some areas are purely cashless now, but just do what you can. We’re proud of you for even thinking of budget travel tips in the first place!
20. Travel with a friend!
Not only is this a great idea for your friendship: all the memories you’ll make, the good times spent together, the endless bonding. It’s also amazing cost wise! Why? Because you can split the costs of everything! This especially comes in handy when looking for accommodation. Instead of getting two rooms, get one with twin beds (or share if you’re close like that).
Social travel is good for many things, and don’t we know it.