Happy New Year lovelies! Hope your holidays and New Year celebrations were filled with loved ones, tons of good food, and wonderful memories.
I’m starting this year off by sharing my tips for planning to travel more on a budget. I feel like travelling is the resolution many people have on their list, but do not really accomplish. I remember a colleague of mine mentioning how lucky I am to get to travel and though I’m beyond grateful to have the opportunity to explore the world, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t do the same. We were similar in age, had financial stability, essentially there was nothing holding us back so why didn’t he take the plunge? Then I realized he thought I was spending a fortune and the truth is I’m really not - it’s all about budgeting and planning.
Travelling first starts with planning, here are a few helpful tips to plan an escape to your next destination without spending all your savings:
Learn about your travel destination
Start this as early as you can, learning about your destination is essential when planning your trip. Everything you learn will give insight on what you would like to do and also how much you should spend. I find reading travel blogs very helpful, it gives you perspective on a person’s experience and it’s less formal than an article (but I’m still a huge fan of travel magazines). Do your research for you can have the tools to make your trip the best it can be for you.
Set a realistic budget
Having learned about your destination will help in setting a budget for your trip. It’s important to be realistic when it comes to setting a budget cause you do get what you pay for; can’t expect a 5-star experience when you’re only willing to pay a 1-star price. Make a list of what’s important and what you would like to accomplish on this trip and go from there. After you know what you want to do and have an estimate on how much it will cost you, make a savings plan. A great way to save is to add this trip as a monthly cost, this breaks it down for it not to feel like you’re spending a large amount of money when starting to book things.
Purchase everything in stages
The most useful tip - You do NOT have to purchase all aspects of your trip at once. This for me was life-changing especially when you don’t have a huge chunk of money to spend all at once, it allows you to save money between your purchases. I book in three stages:
Flights: This is the first thing I purchase, it’s best to book flights between 6 to 2 months for international and 3 to 1 month for domestic. If your trip requires multiple flights try booking them consecutively, rather than all at once, it will help you save money in between flights. If travelling by train during your trip (ex: taking the Eurostar or Amtrak) include this as well. A good source for flight pricing is Google Flights, it lists all available flights, prices, gives suggestions on which dates would save a few bucks, and airfare alerts can be set. Keep in mind the least expensive days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; as well as the best day to book in the US is Tuesday afternoon.
Accommodations: After your flights have been sorted, book your stay whether it’d be hotels or an Airbnb. While learning about your travel destination you would have got a better understanding of where you would like to stay. Note that staying closer to the center of a city will be a bit more pricey and might save you money on transportation, but staying a little further might be convenient if staying for an extended period of time and planning to explore different parts. Also, if booking through a travel site (ex: Expedia, Priceline, etc.) purchasing your flight and accommodation together will save you more money - mainly if you purchase a roundtrip.
Other: Lastly book any extras, this includes anything from travel insurance and airport transfers to tours. These are best finalized closer to your trip it will allow you to have a better sense of what you will like your itinerary to look like (if you have one).
You want to be excited about all aspects of your travels, planning it should not be pain. Enjoy the experience of putting together your dream trip and remember you have all the power to make it amazing!
For me travelling is my happy place, I encourage everyone to travel as much as they can as often as they can, it’s honestly one of the most eye-opening experiences to have.
Hope you found these tips helpful, feel free to leave any of your travel tips in the comments below!
PS - Iceland, Copenhagen, Paris, and Brighton photo diaries coming soon!