Traveling is one of the most rewarding parts of life. So much of travel is priceless—seeing new sights, trying new foods, exploring new places, experiencing different cultures, and opening your eyes to just how large the world truly is.
But being able to enjoy these worldly experiences can cost a pretty penny. That’s why having some budget-friendly travel tips in your toolbelt is a fantastic way to ensure costly expenses never hold back your wanderlust.
If you’re someone who loves to travel but wants to do it without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. Read on for six budget travel tips that will make your next vacation both fun and affordable!
1. Create A Budget
A vacation is the perfect time to relax—going on a trip is a much-needed break from all the stressors of daily life. Naturally, you don’t want to spend your vacation worrying about money or staying within your tight budget, but when the costs begin to add up, you can’t always avoid it.
If you don’t want number-crunching to ruin your travels, you’ll need to plan ahead and be strategic with your travel costs. A great way to avoid money stress while vacationing is by taking the time to create a budget before you leave.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to craft the ultimate travel budget.
- Create a total – First, come up with a total amount of money you’re comfortable spending on this trip. This should be easy if you’ve been putting money aside for this trip.
- Calculate fixed expenses – Next, you should calculate fixed expenses. These are typically costs you’ve figured out prior to leaving for your trip, such as flights and hotels. Unless you’re doing everything last minute (which is not conducive to saving money), you probably already know what these factors are going to cost you.
Categorize the variables – Finally, you can get down to the real budgeting. Use categories to break up your new total once you’ve subtracted the fixed expenses. These categories will consist of variables in spending that are bound to pop up during your trip. Examples of variables you’ll want to consider are:
- Food – For some, food is the impetus for travel. To make the most of every bite (and every cent), figure out how many meals you’ll be eating a day, and how many mouths you need to feed if you’re traveling with family. Budget for each meal, and determine how many “expensive” meals you’re willing to spend. Then determine your budget for the more affordable meals along the way.
- Activities – Are you planning on enjoying an animal safari? Or renting jet skis off a scenic beach? The amazing things you’ll do on your vacation or weekend getaway are sometimes the highlight of your trip—but can be a strain on an already tight budget. Consider any day trips you might take, activities you’re planning, and try to calculate how much each will cost.
- Transportation – If you’re renting a car, the total price should be a fixed cost that is calculated beforehand. You might want to also look into several car rental companies. Look for the cheapest one that fits your specific needs. If not, plan your transportation expenses accordingly. You may want to figure out the local public transportation and how much it costs per ride or set a budget for rideshare services, car services, and taxis.
- Souvenirs – Do you plan on buying anything to commemorate your trip? This may seem like a small expense that doesn’t need to be factored into the budget, but sometimes frivolous purchases can add up to surprisingly high amounts. Set a budget for souvenirs, so you don’t blow all your travel money on T-shirts and snowglobes!
2. Save Money on Flights
At the top of your list of concerns may be the question: “how to save money on flights.” Plane tickets are often one of the priciest expenses when planning a trip. Which makes sense, of course! Traveling 30,000 feet above the earth isn’t exactly the cheapest mode of transportation. Good news: finding a more affordable flight price is within your reach, and doing so can expand your destination options quite a bit.
The typical rule of thumb is that travelers should purchase their airline tickets two months in advance. While the two-month rule is a good guideline to follow, it’s important not to depend entirely on this number for the cheapest flight price. Stay up to date on prices by checking with airlines periodically in the months leading up to your travel date. Purchasing the first ticket you see is rarely the best way to save money, so remember that patience is key.
Another way to find the best deals on flights is by using a travel website. Use a tool like Cheap Air Travel to compare prices from different airlines to help you score the best deal. In addition to these money-saving comparisons, RebateKey also has coupons and cashback rebates to help you get the most bang for your buck when booking flights and hotels for your trip. Some of the best deals available with CheapAir right now include:
- Up to 20% off hotels with CheapAir
- An $8.00 cashback rebate when you use the When To Buy Flights tool
- Another $8.00 cashback rebate on flights to Barbados
- Even more cashback rebates on domestic flights
Bonus Tip: Set up a Google Flight Alert a few months in advance. Just set your destination and your travel dates, and this feature will send you an email when flight prices are low!
If these deals aren’t pertaining to your travel needs, there are other options to consider. International flights can be particularly expensive, and the cost of traveling to another country is already pretty steep due to other factors.
Sometimes, you have to look for travel booking services that specialize in international travel. Vayama is a great way to save money on flights across the globe. On Vayama, you can compare the best deals and fares on flights to all parts of the world.
Beyond these rate calculations, RebateKey also has additional deals to help you explore the globe at an affordable cost. Get a Vayama coupon code and up to $10 cashback rebates with RebateKey on destinations such as:
- And more!
3. Utilize Airline Rewards Programs
Another way to save extra cash on flights is by signing up for airline rewards programs. If you’re a frequent traveler, these rewards can make a world of difference in terms of saving money on flights. When you’re already spending money on a plane ticket, there’s no reason not to earn miles for it!
The basic principle is this: the more often you fly, the more miles you get. Miles can be redeemed for discounted or even free flights later on. What could be a better way to continue your traveling lifestyle than raking in these rewards points and setting yourself up for another discounted plane ticket in the future?
If you’re interested in the specifics, here are some of the most popular airline rewards programs and how they work:
American Airlines – Sign up for an American Airlines AAdvantage account to get a personal account number. This number will be necessary for redeeming your miles. When you book a flight, hotel, or even rent a car through American Airlines and their partner companies, you’ll earn miles. When you book a flight, you’ll earn a percentage of the miles flown that are credited to your AAdvantage account. If you don’t use these miles within an 18-month period, they are subject to expiration. Miles can also be earned once per flight, even if you purchase multiple seats.
Delta – Delta has a pretty complex rewards system, with membership levels such as CLEAR and Wheels Up that cost additional fees. For the sake up simplicity, these are the rules for the most basic SkyMiles membership through Delta Airlines:
- Customers must provide their SkyMiles account number prior to booking a flight in order to earn points.
- You will earn five miles for every U.S. dollar spent on airfare, with a maximum of 75,000 miles per reservation.
- Miles can also be credited up to nine months prior to enrollment in the program—meaning you can sign up after you’ve taken a trip and still earn miles for it which can be put toward the next one! Delta also offers limited-time offers where SkyMiles members can earn more miles for their flights.
United Airlines – MileagePlus members can earn miles through airfare, car rental, and hotel bookings through United and partnering companies only after their enrollment date in the program. Miles you’ve earned do not expire and are eligible for redemption until they are spent on new airfare tickets.
4. Find Affordable Hotels
Laying down to rest after a long or stressful day of travel and sight-seeing is a lot easier when you know you’re not spending a fortune on a hotel room. Finding a great deal on a hotel can really help with travel expenses and the budget you’ve set for your trip, especially when you’re staying for several nights.
Fortunately, RebateKey can help you out. We have direct relationships with hotel chains that bring the savings right to your computer. Get a Radisson cash back rebate for a more affordable stay in one of their hotels. Some of the deals you can choose from currently are:
Three-night stay – Up to 25% off a three-night stay at Radisson locations.
Book a shorter trip – Save up to 20% off a two-night stay.
Opt for a prepaid rate – Get up to 25% off by booking a prepaid rate at a Radisson hotel.
Get a cashback rebate – Receive a $5.00 cashback rebate for the cost of your booking.
If you choose to stay at a Country Inn location, Radisson and RebateKey can provide you with an even more affordable experience. Find Country Inn and Suites coupons and cashback rebates on our site. Some of the biggest savings currently available include:
Up to 25% off – Receive 15%, 20%, or even 25% off standard rates on worldwide hotels when you book at least 14 days in advance.
Added bonuses – Get 25% off amusement park tickets when you book with a Country Inn nearby.
Cashback rebates – Customers can get a $5.00 cashback rebate for booking a stay at a Country Inn in many major cities in the U.S. and Canada.
5. Make Some of Your Own Meals
Going out to eat is a scrumptious part of any trip. Restaurants are a wonderful way to experience the food and culture of a new place. With that in mind, you’re probably aware that eating out every night can be a bit pricey.
If you’re visiting a place for an extended period of time, consider booking a stay at a place with a kitchen or stock up on food items that don’t require a stovetop. This allows you to make some of your meals at home, and reduce excess spending on food.
Save the costly restaurant outings for special nights, and try to eat smaller meals like lunch and breakfast at your hotel. This will be more budget-friendly and give you some extra cash to save on more exciting parts of the trip. Also, consider making a daily budget spreadsheet to break down exactly how much you want to spend on food each day.
6. Travel During the Offseason
Obviously you wouldn’t want to visit a place during their rainy season and have to stay inside all day—but that doesn’t mean you have to go at the busiest time of the year either. To save some money on flights, hotels, and excursions, look into when the offseason is for your destination.
Visiting a place during a less popular time of year will not only save money, but it can also help make for a more relaxed trip by reducing crowds. For warmer climates, the offseason may also provide cooler temperatures and weaker UV rays (nobody wants their trip ruined by a third-degree sunburn).
Travel Smart with RebateKey
With these tips to travel on a budget and a little help from RebateKey, your next adventure is close at hand. RebateKey is here to make saving money easier while traveling. Whether you’re looking for cheap flights, affordable accommodations, or even a new outfit for your trip—we’ve got deals, coupons, and up to 100% cashback rebates at the touch of a button.
Make your trip more affordable with RebateKey. The process is simple: search for products or services you’re looking for on our website, find a deal, and claim it! That’s all you have to do, and we’ll take it from there. Once you’ve booked your flight, hotel, or purchased an item, simply wait for your rebate check in the mail.
Traveling doesn’t have to hurt your bank account. Satisfy your adventurous soul on a budget with RebateKey. Good luck and safe travels!