10 Budget Travel Commandments

 

  1. Be flexible
    • Be willing to compromise when it comes to your travel plans. Failure to be open to several options means possibly missing out on a good deal.
  2. Follow the flight deals
    • If a cheap flight is available to a destination you’ve always been interested in, book it! Commit to following the sites recommended here and keep an eye out for flight deals departing from airports closest to you.
  3. Haggle when possible
    • Although attempting to talk down a price doesn’t come naturally to many Americans, it is an acceptable practice in some other countries. Don’t be scared to negotiate.
  4. Travel to destinations in the off season
    • All destinations have seasons which are more popular times for tourist to visit. For example, Europe is typically a more desirable place to visit in the summer. Visit destinations during less popular times of the year in order to take advantage of cheaper flights and accommodations.
  5. Travel to places where the dollar is strong
    • Research and visit countries that allow you to stretch your dollar further. Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, and South Africa all have currencies much weaker than the dollar, thus making travel costs affordable.
  6. Compare accommodation pricing on different sites
    • Never accept the first price you find. Compare pricing on the property’s site (if it’s a hotel) to OTAs as well as VRBO and AirBnb. I ended up saving over $500 on my hotel in Philadelphia by following this tip.
    • Pro Tip: If visiting a country where the dollar is stronger than the local currency, book in the weaker currency. For example if travelling to Australia visit Booking.com, change your  currency to AUD, then search for rooms.
  7. Know your rights and ask for vouchers when necessary
    • If your flight is delayed or canceled you may be eligible to certain benefits. I once received a 1,200€ flight voucher because my flights on a European airline were delayed a total of 10+ hours. This voucher was not magically offered to passengers. I had to send an email to the airline in order to receive it. However, 1,200€ in exchange for an email that took me less than 15 minutes to write was worth it.
  8. Look into alternate forms of transportation (i.e. the train or bus)
    • Although flying may be the quickest way to get from point a to point b, it is not always the cheapest way. When traveling in countries in Europe in particular I utilize this site. It allows you to compare the cost of various forms of transportation.
  9. Get a credit card or debit card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees
    • There’s no reason to pay transaction fees when traveling domestically or internationally. I utilize the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The first is a checking account that charges no ATM fees anywhere in the world. The second card is a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees and comes with a slew of benefits. These benefits include lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and more. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also allows you to accumulate points that can be used to pay for flights, hotels, car rentals, and activities.
  10. Order foreign cash from your bank in advance or take out money from an ATM upon arrival
    • Order cash in advance if you have a debit card that charges ATM fees. If you don’t have time to order foreign currency in advance, withdraw cash from an ATM in the arrival airport. Even if your card does charge an ATM fee, this fee is usually less than that of the currency exchange booths in the mall or airport. One of least cost effective ways to exchange money is to use a currency exchange booth.The fees at these booths are typically high, and you end up getting less money than if you utilized an ATM.
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