It’s time to make traveling more often a priority! You might not be ready to transition to a digital nomad lifestyle, but that’s no excuse to ignore all your wanderlust dreams. Maybe you have a getaway in Bali on your bucket list or you want to take a road trip down the California coast; I’ll be the first to tell you that it is attainable. You absolutely deserve to live your best life, full of experiences and adventures, because let’s be real – life is short. There’s this misconception that taking a trip means having to spend lots of money, but that is not true. Traveling does not have to be expensive and I’m going to share with you all my secrets of how to plan a trip on a budget.
Determine Your Budget
Before even thinking about where you want to visit, the first thing you must figure out is your budget. This can be something anywhere on the scale of $300 to $2,000. If you’re looking to spend less than $1,000 for your entire trip, don’t expect to go overseas. Really take your time with the details of your budget. Think of all the expenses you will need to cover, such as flights, accommodation, food, transportation, activities, souvenirs and more!
Once you’ve decided an overall number, plan how many days you’d like to travel for. If you’re looking at a weekend adventure within your country, then 3-5 days can suffice. I think any international travel deserves at least 7 days. You’re in a whole new country, so you will need the time to experience the unknown culture! And if you’re looking to travel quite far overseas, then at least 10 days is ideal. Remember, travel time can take away some days.
Set a Timeframe
Now that you set a budget, it’s time to decide when you want to visit your location. I recommend choosing a date that’s a few months away. If you already have the funds, then by all means, go as soon as you can.
Save: To truly plan a trip on a budget, travel in the off-season. Avoid the typical vacation months from May to August. Also, keep in mind of any holidays. Christmas and New Year are often an expensive month for accommodation and flights.
Create a Vacation Fund
Use this time until your trip to save for it! Come up with a plan and stick to it. I think the easiest goal to set is to divide your budget by how many weeks you have until your trip. This will give you an amount that you must save each week. For example, your budget is $800 and your weeks left are 12. This means that you will need to save $67 each week to be best prepared.
Save: Do not use a credit card during your trip. Use the cash that you save instead. Yes, it’s easy to just swipe and go. However, each foreign transaction fee really adds up! Also, avoid withdrawing from an ATM for the same reason.
Finding Cheap Flights
Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned picking a destination yet? That’s because you can really save a lot of money on flights if you are flexible. This means not being so set on one destination. It also opens up the door to learn about new places that you never thought about visiting! Having flexible travel dates also allows you to find better deals. I personally try to look around two weeks of when I plan to leave to see which day flights are the cheapest.
Save: Use a website like Kiwi to find affordable flights to plan a trip on a budget. There’s even an ‘anywhere’ option when selecting your arrival destination, showing you how much flights cost to many different countries.
Don’t limit yourself to only flying! Trains, ferries, and buses also exist and they may be even more budget-friendly. Always compare all your options.
Booking Affordable Accommodation
The next step to plan a trip on a budget is finding where you will stay. Aside from your long-distance transportation costs, where you stay is another large expense when traveling. Hotels are never an option for me. They are much too expensive and you don’t even get a kitchen with that price. Whereas with Airbnb, I can get an entire home for the same price if not much less! Hostels are also a great option. The word ‘hostel’ may rub you the wrong way, however, they have evolved so much recently. Most offer private rooms that you can book, so you don’t have to worry about sharing bunks with multiple people. And, it’s quite common to find ones that offer complimentary breakfast.
Save: Join digital nomad Facebook groups that are specific to a certain area, for example, Kuala Lumpur Digital Nomads. You can ask around for accommodation that is within your budget, sometimes people offer up their homes or know of others who own property that can help you out.
Also, if you’ve never used Airbnb before, I can help you save $40 on your first booking when you sign up through my referral link here!
Do Your Research
You have your tickets, a place to stay, and you’re ready to go! To ultimately plan a trip on a budget, don’t forget about the most important part – what will you do when you get there? Without a proper plan, you will fall off budget real quick. Decide whether you will eat in a restaurant for all your meals or maybe you want to keep spending low by making your own breakfast daily. Many cities offer free attractions and sightseeing, come up with an itinerary of things to do throughout your days. Maybe you want to take a cooking class, search Trip Advisor for one that is suitable for your price range.
I hope this post gets you thinking about where you want to visit next because anywhere is possible! Gather all the information you can about the costs of a destination before you visit. I have compiled cost of livings of every place I’ve visited so far, check it out if you need some inspiration. From there, get your budget set and you will be ready for your next adventure! Let me know how you plan a trip on a budget in the comments.
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