How can you travel on a budget without compromising luxury and comfort? Whenever I’m seen in a new location, I’m usually asked, “how do you afford it? How can you travel as much as you do? We all want the best when it comes to vacations, but vacations, as you know, aren’t always cheap. And for many, budget-friendly vacations are all they can afford.
Personally, I never travel basic economy; it’s something I would never recommend anyone doing. I also try to stay at a 4-5 star hotel because I value my safety, especially when traveling solo, but mostly because I travel a lot with my 8-year-old daughter. So how can you travel like a baller on a budget? How can you get that luxurious vacation without spending luxury prices? Here are a few ways you can do so.
Travel With Points or Airline Rewards
It pays to fly consistently with a specific airline. Our airline of choice is generally American Airlines. Build your points with each flight and save them for a discounted fare towards your next trip saving you money. If you’re also an elite member, you may be able to upgrade your flight for little to nothing. Here’s a tip for you: Never pay full-price for a first-class seat, always upgrade at the airport where you’ll get it discounted. You’ll still get all the benefits, including lounge access, without paying full fare.
Skip Popular Locations
Established cities are already popular tourist destinations, such as London, Paris, and Rome. That usually means that those cities have higher hotel rates, pricier eateries, and attractions. Skip these popular destinations and consider going to lesser-known locations. These destinations will have lower hotel rates, as they’re trying to attract visitors. In most cases, you’ll be able to enjoy a stay in a five-star hotel while only paying a two-star price.
Consider the Off-Peak Season
There are many benefits to traveling during the off-season. Not only will you face smaller crowds, but you’ll save a significant amount of money as well. Hotels are generally less expensive as there is less demand for rooms, and airfares drop as well. That means that you’ll more than likely end up with a luxury vacation for relatively little money. However, there are many ways you can get a great deal on a hotel room.
Get an Apartment
If you’re not able to travel during the off-season or a popular destination is your destination of choice, we recommend getting an apartment instead of a hotel. You can rent an apartment through HomeAway or Airbnb, which will enable you to have that luxury feel without that luxury price. A rule of thumb is to make sure it’s in a good location and relatively close to the city center. Here’s a quick tip: pull up the hotels that you’re interested in staying on a map and book a nearby rental or in that general neighborhood.
Skip the Michelin star restaurants and eateries in major tourist attraction areas. Prices are generally inflated in those areas. If you do insist on eating a restaurant, consider small family-owned restaurants. They are usually reasonably priced, and the food is just as good, if not better. Street food is also another option. You’ll be amazed at how delicious street food can be.
Avoid Holidays & Big Events
Traveling during major holidays and big events is just as bad as traveling during the on-season. Hotel prices are generally higher, and so is airfare, unless you’ve booked months in advance. However, even then, prices aren’t as low as they could be. There’s a reason why hotel prices skyrocket during Oktoberfest in Munich, so book a few weeks before or after or head somewhere different. If you must travel during a holiday, visit a country that doesn’t celebrate that holiday, as prices will be what you’re looking for. So for Thanksgiving, head to Canada as they celebrate their Thanksgiving in October.
Pick Up Your Car Rental Early
Did you know that you’ll usually get a free upgrade if you’re early for your rental? Since most customers don’t generally return their rental cars until well late in the day, rental agencies are obligated to give you what they have available at that time. And there are usually fewer compact cars available first thing in the morning. Last Christmas, we rented a small car as Madison and I were making a trip from Ontario to Quebec. Since we wanted to get a head start on our journey, we were there at opening and ended up with an SUV, which worked out great for us.
Traveling the world doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and with these tips and tricks, you too can travel like a baller on a budget. So get out there because life is an adventure, explore places you’ve never been.