Key Words: Plan, Plan, Plan!
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Before going on a trip, I usually come up with a basic plan covering where I want to go, what I want to do, and how long I want to stay in each city, beach, or national park! I like to do my research and be prepared, but also be flexible for any changes in the plan. Vacations shouldn’t be stressful!
Buying plane tickets in advance and using apps such as Hopper and Skyscanner has saved me hundreds on fares! On Hopper, you can see what days have cheaper flights, and they even give you a buy or wait recommendation depending on price trends. You can also find hotel and car rental deals on this app. I try to pick a destination that fits my budget, and not get carried away by cheap flights and assume cost of living in that country is just as cheap.
Another great tool for finding accommodations to fit your budget and meeting new people is Hostel World (a huge search engine where you can find hostels in over 170 countries). Staying with other people in the same room will greatly reduce the cost of your stay, and hosts are usually very friendly and open to sharing activity recommendations. I recommend keeping your belongings in one of the provided lockers while you are out exploring. Other standout budget accommodations include Selina and Generator Motels. If you can, try traveling off season for less expensive flights and accommodations overall. The sooner you start looking at places to stay, the less you will have to pay, most likely. The bottom line is, having a plan is always a good idea to travel on a budget.
Another tip is to make sure you pack appropriately for the weather and activities in order to avoid unnecessary expenses while traveling, which can quickly add up! Check out this article for tips on packing like a pro! I like to watch videos on YouTube of people who have traveled to where I am going to see what they packed and what activities they enjoyed the most! Some of my favorite travel YouTubers include the Vaga Brothers, Top Jaw, and Phil Good Travel.
I save money by buying food in local markets and cooking wherever I’m staying. Going to local markets helps me dive into the culture and day to day life of the people in the country I am visiting. I always bring a water bottle with me to avoid buying plastic water bottles and to stay hydrated! I also like to ask locals about their favorite restaurants in order to avoid expensive “tourist trap” places that are overpriced. If you do decide to eat out, lunch will probably be the cheaper option. If a city is walkable, that is my favorite choice of transportation. If not, try renting a bike or using public transport to avoid the high costs of Uber and taxis.
Whether you are traveling to relax, explore, or learn about other cultures, you shouldn’t let your budget stop you. Work around your budget and get creative to meet your travel goals and make awesome memories that last a lifetime!
Katerina Logrono is a Paraplanner at Willow Planning Group, LLC. She is primarily responsible for supporting you in reaching your personal financial goals. Katerina loves exploring new places while helping you live your adventure too!