The 5 Crucial Rules to Affordable Traveling




5 rules to affordable travel

  1. Do NOT choose the destination first

  2. Pay attention to time of year (high vs low season)

  3. Be READY to buy one day sales!

  4. Be willing to use local transportation!

  5. Balance eating out vs making food

Breaking any of these crucial rules will make your trip less affordable.


Do NOT choose the destination first.

This is theeeee most important rule. The most made mistake by travelers is selecting your destination first..now pause and think about it… there are 195 countries out there that all have their own unique experiences and sights. Be flexible and experience the world! The best way to travel affordably is to wait for the deals and then decide if that’s a country you want to explore. One of the largest pieces of a traveler's budget is the airfare in which you can easily cut down on that by being flexible and patient!


Pay attention to time of year

After finding a great deal on a flight take a brief second to research when high season is. You should expect to pay more if the travel dates are right in the middle of peak season. A simple google search of the destination and “when's high season?” will provide you your answer.

If you go in high season, this means you’ll have to pay more for tours… hotels… AirBnbs.. And deal with more tourists! The best time I have found to travel is in either low season or the very start of high season. This alone can save you quite a bit on your accommodations.


Be READY to buy one day sales!

Often times the best deals are short lived ones. You need to be ready to move on these deals, expect the travel dates to be 3-6 months away and with mid week travel dates. Spirit, a super bare bones budget airline, will often have 75-90% of sales (these are the greatest). A great site that aggregates these deals across the airline industry is airfarewatchdog.com. It provides the best deals based on your departing airport for both domestic and international places. I recommend signing up for the newsletter and suggest following it for a few weeks before buying. You’ll gain a much better understanding of what great deals are vs normal prices. Another personal favorite is Kayak.com Explore feature that provides a view of the best deals covering the globe. Double check the duration of the trips though prior to getting to excited.



Be prepared to use local transportation!

Alright so you’ve made it this far, you know what country you are traveling to but now want to explore every top thing to do it has to offer. To do this you have to get from one city to another. Jumping from city to city can prove quite costly and can ruin an affordable budget in minutes. I suggest finding 1-3 cities over a 10 day trip that you want to enjoy and experience. Everytime you move cities that is lost time to transportation and not relaxing or experiencing the culture!

Now once you know what cities you want to see you need to price out how much to get between them. Oftentimes a private transfer from your airport to a city or between two cities can cost 10-20x more than using public transportation. A great example was our trip to Belize, a private transfer would cost us $100-125 per person between Belize City to San Ignacio. Instead, the local bus from the bus station cost us $5 dollar and only took an hour and a half longer. That saved us 190+ dollars!




Balance eating out vs making food

You not only want to explore the entire country but also experience all the different foods! The trick here is find an accommodation or AirBnb that has a functional kitchen. I suggest setting a goal to making at least 1 meal a day, (breakfast, lunch or dinner... it doesn’t matter). In my opinion breakfast is the easiest to make. Pay attention to all the popular food around you… then go to the grocery store to buy the local ingredients to recreate some of the local flavors! Think about it.. if you are willing to make either dinner or breakfast you can save $15+ per person everyday. For a 10 day trip for one person that can be over 150 dollars… easily.



*Bonus Rule* Maximize travel points through loyalty programs and everyday credit card purchases!


The best way to make your trip even cheaper is sign up for the free loyalty programs. This gives you the opportunity to accrue points to book free travel in the future. To increase your point earning potential it is great to find a travel credit card for everyday use. My favorite cards are ones that provide flexibility with transfering points to several programs. The flexibility allows for more opportunities to find sales! Read What travel credit cards are in my wallet?

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