We’re less than a week away from heading to Europe and everything is finally booked! I thought it would be interesting to share some of my money saving budget travel tips. After my husband and I came up with the big goal to pay all of our student debt off in the next 2 years, I almost considered canceling our summer trips. All of our flights and two of our hotels were non-refundable, so I didn’t plan on getting that back. But I could have refunded a few hotels and the daily budgeted money could be saved and put on loans. I’m pretty good with handling money and pushing towards financial goals, but turning my back on a pre-planned trip wasn’t going to happen!
Instead I decided to take it upon myself to create a budget for our trip. To help us stick to our established budget, we focused on finding affordable flights, our accommodation choices, using public transit instead of cabs/uber and grocery shopping instead of eating at restaurants every meal.
Finding Affordable Flights
I have an entire post dedicated to finding affordable flights and flight deals in this budget travel series. The post is specifically about finding flights to Europe, but it can be applied to pretty much any where you want to go. Click here, if you missed out on it.
Budget Travel: Accommodations
Depending on how you’re traveling (solo, couple, family), you have different options on where you can stay. If you’re traveling as a family, it will definitely be more comfortable and problem most cost effective if you just stick to hotels or give Airbnb a try. There are plenty of decently priced hotels across the globe and it’s totally unnecessary to spend $300+ a night on a room just because you’re on “vacation.” Unless that $300+ room comes with an awesome private beach bungalow or a top floor pent house over looking the city for a special event or occasion, otherwise your money can better be used elsewhere.
If you’re traveling as a couple (such as my husband and I), you have some extra options. You can stay at a hotel or Airbnb as mentioned above, or you can try out hostels. Depending on the city, the cost of a hostel for 2 people can add up to the price of a hotel, so it’s up to you to decide it if seems worth it.
If you’re traveling solo you can do pretty much anything you want! But of course, if you’re looking to hold on to as many coins as possible and still being comfortable, then definitely look into renting a bed at a hostel. There are several hostel rating sites out there, similar to trip advisor (but for hostels), were you can read other travelers reviews, see pictures and more. Hostels seem to range anywhere from $8 USD and up, but on average I’ve noticed $30-$60 for something comfortable.
Public Transit vs. Uber/Cabs
This is totally dependent on how comfortable to feel taking public transit, if you’re mobile and if have kids tagging along. If you’re by yourself or traveling as a couple, the budget travel option is definitely using the public transit system. When we went to Bangkok, it cost us around $20-$30 USD to catch a cab from the airport to our hotel ( a 30 to 40 minute trip in decent traffic). But on the way back to the airport, we decided to try out the public transit and were able to get their for way under $8 USD. Of course, if you have kids tagging along or someone who has a physical disability, public transit may not be as easy.
Markets vs. Restaurants
Now there is no way I’m going anywhere and not trying out the local restaurants. But is it really necessary to go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Some days maybe, but you can save a ton of money by stopping by the local market and picking up some essentials. Unless you have a full kitchen in your accommodations I would stick to oats, bread, fruit and nut butters. We plan on eating one or two meals a day from the market and then enjoying restaurants during the other times.
I hope you found these tips useful! I’ll try to get a part 2 up as soon as we get back from the trip letting you know how our efforts went.