My most commonly asked question is “how do you guys travel so much? I wish we could do that!” But you guys. YOU CAN. Now I am about to unleash all of my best tips and tricks for traveling cheap, so prepare yourselves! But before we get into that, we have to go over a few pretty important things if you want to accomplish all of your travel goals and dreams.
What are your priorities?
Money is always a factor because you need money for just about everything! If your #1 goal is to travel, you can easily make that happen. Save your money, set your goals, and just do it! But if your biggest goal is to save up to buy a house, or you just love to eat out all the time, or you spend insane amounts of money on Star Wars action figures that no one is allowed to touch so why?? (that was not a non-subtle jab at Mason), then those are your priorities that come before travel and that’s where your money goes and that is okay! We all have different things that are important to us and we can’t have it all – we have to choose and prioritize what means the most to us. In our case, travel is important! It’s something that we want to do while we don’t have a lot of stability in our lives. Because as soon as we start having kids or buy a more permanent house or graduate from college and find career jobs that prooobably wouldn’t like us leaving as often as we do… it’s going to be a lot harder to keep travel as a top priority.
Moral of the story: if travel is your priority, then make it happen! You are the one who holds all the power!
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Spontaneous
Unfortunately, some of the best flight deals are around for less than 24 hours. Although that can be stressful, it’s also really exciting! One of my goals is to set aside x amount of money and pounce at the next flight deal that comes up and fits in the budget, no matter where it is! But how do I know when flight deals are? Just keep reading.
Now we can get on to the good stuff!
Travel Tips: How To Travel Cheap
Flights – the most expensive part of every trip.
Let’s be honest, we would all be traveling everywhere all the time if flights weren’t so darn expensive! I have found a few apps, websites and email subscriptions that are awesome. My first step is usually to check Google Flights to see which dates are the cheapest. Leaving one day earlier could literally save you hundreds of dollars! Once I have 2 or 3 options for the dates I want, I start plugging them in to see if I can find a better deal! I’ve had success with the Hopper app (sometimes), Momondo, JustFly (especially for domestic flights), and the CheapOair app. My personal favorite is KAYAK because if you click on “flights” then “explore”, you can set your budget and see which flight deals you can afford all over the world!
Email subscriptions are good – I think I get most of the emails from the places listed above – but my all-time favorite and most reliable source for flight deals is Pomelo Travel. I paid $20 for a year of premium subscriptions and I’ve used that to help tons of my friends and family members find deals they were looking for! You can sign up for free, you just don’t get all of the deals he finds. Definitely recommended!
I know that you can get really cheap deals on domestic flights through Allegiant Airlines… that just really depends on how much luggage you have and how important it is that you arrive on time. I’ve never flown with them personally because once I add the fee for the carry-on (and sometimes the fee for the checked bag), it’s already the same price/more expensive than flights through other airlines. I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews; some say that it’s good, it gets you where you need to go, but are usually pretty delayed and don’t do anything for you without charging a fee. Some have had better experiences with it. Just some things to consider!
My last travel tip about flights is to stay open to using other airports! We recently bought all of our tickets for our China/Japan trip and I was blown away by how expensive they were, especially out of Salt Lake City. I’ve noticed that NYC, Los Angeles, Boston, and Denver tend to have some of the cheapest deals for international flights. We saved – I kid you not – almost $1000 by purchasing tickets out of Los Angeles instead of Salt Lake City. We were even thinking about paying the $100 in gas to drive to L.A. with some friends, hang out for a few days, then have them drive our car home. Be creative! We ended up finding cheap tickets to L.A. to make it to our flights to Asia, but we would have found another solution if it was going to save us $1K in the long run!
What can you take from all of these stories? Get creative! You can always find a way to make it work, even if you have to buy 4 different plane tickets instead of 2. Although if you aren’t poor college students like us, you’ve got a good reason for taking the easy way out and buying the more expensive direct flights.
Places To Stay
I have had a 100% positive experience using Airbnb! When we went to Puerto Rico, we stayed in 3 different Airbnb locations and all of our hosts were more than willing to share tips and tricks, their favorite things to do/places to go, and one even cooked some traditional Puerto Rican food for us! Not only are there lots of inexpensive options (we’re talking $15/night in some places!), but there are also so many really cool and unique places to stay that are an experience in itself. If you don’t have an account yet, here’s a $40 credit for your first trip!
Hostels are another option. I will admit that the thought of a hostel kind of freaked me out, and I’m sure that I imagine them so much worse than they ever could be. Although I have never personally stayed in a hostel, I’ve heard far more good stories than bad ones from people who have actually done it. Check out the app Hostelworld! I’ve heard great things.
Saving Money While Traveling
The third most expensive part of travel is FOOD. This is especially true when you are ultimate foodies like Mase and I, and can be detrimental to your wallet. If there are 2 of you traveling for a week and you eat at a restaurant for every meal, you’re looking at spending $400-$500 just on food! Trust me, it adds up so much faster than you think. We’ve kind of gotten a system going where we go grocery shopping on the first day for snacks and things to eat for breakfast (depending on whats available as far as kitchen amenities), eat out once a day around 4 or 5pm, and spend the rest of the day snacking. That way you get a chance to try the local food AND save money.
Easy breakfast ideas: instant oatmeal, fruit, pita bread with hummus, eggo waffles, pop tarts, cereal and milk, yogurt and granola
Easy snack ideas: carrot sticks, chopped up fruits/veggies, goldfish crackers, hummus and chips/bell peppers, granola bars, trail mix
Find Travel Opportunities
I feel like there are more and more travel opportunities through different programs every year! Universities offer study abroad, there are all kinds of humanitarian trips, and even programs that exchange free/discounted travel in exchange for your help teaching kids English! Why not travel while supporting a good cause?!
Those are probably my best and most-used tips, and if you have any questions you’d better comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them! You should also comment any cool trips you’re planning so that A) we can all be really jealous, especially me, and B) so I know that these tips are of as much use to you guys as they are to me. Thanks for reading! If you liked it, share the love and give it a share on social media – just tap the social icons below!