I didn’t travel much growing up. My travel experience was limited to visiting my grandparent’s Las Vegas timeshare during summers and traveling to Hawaii for weddings and family visits. Beyond cramming into rooms or bunkering with family, the places I was venturing out to weren’t exactly giving me new perspectives or introducing me to new cultures.
When I was in the eighth grade, my mom worked all summer so that she could send me on a class trip to the East Coast. That was my first time traveling without my parents and traveling to a place that felt so unknown— the first time I walked away from a trip with a new perspective and thirst for more. From then, my lust for traveling only grew and I began to create my own opportunities to explore the world. However, being a newbie in this space meant making some mistakes along the way…
Embarking on a habit of travel may seem daunting and costly, especially if you don’t have the resources to make the process seem manageable. If I could go back to give my broke college self some advice when first starting to plan affordable adventures, here would be my three easy steps to start traveling without breaking the bank:
Step 1: Plan ahead and be flexible with your travel dates
One of the easiest ways to save money on travel is to plan ahead and be flexible with your travel dates. Many travel websites and airlines offer discounts for booking in advance, so be sure to do your research and book your flights and accommodations early. Additionally, traveling during off-peak times, such as weekdays or during the shoulder season, can also result in significant savings. Using a site like slickdeals.com can help you find deals on flights and vacation packages that are often available during off-peak seasons.
Step 2: Be open to alternative forms of transportation and accommodations
When it comes to travel, there are often many ways to get around and many places to stay beyond the typical options of flights and hotels. Consider alternative forms of transportation such as buses or trains, which can often be less expensive than flying. Additionally, staying in hostels or vacation rentals can be much more affordable than traditional hotels.
Step 3: Look for free or low-cost activities and experiences
Traveling doesn’t have to be all about expensive tours and attractions. There are often many free or low-cost activities and experiences available in your destination, such as visiting local museums or parks, trying street food or taking a self-guided walking tour. Research your destination ahead of time and make a list of these types of activities to help you save money and still have a great time. Oftentimes, there are small towns close to where you live that can be new and exciting to visit. Do some deep-diving (or TikTok-ing) for short road trip ideas like vising a local pie shop, art installation, or antique store.
In conclusion, traveling on a budget is achievable with a little bit of planning and creativity. By following these three easy steps, you can enjoy a fulfilling travel experience without breaking the bank. Remember to plan ahead, be open to alternative forms of transportation and accommodations, and look for free or low-cost activities and experiences to maximize your travel budget. Happy travels!