How to Travel on a Budget

As a broke college student, I know how disheartening it can feel watching your friends go on cool vacations in places far, far away. This summer, after years and years of dreaming, I went on a two week trip to London with my best friend. I’m hoping that these tips and tricks I give you can help you budget out a fruitful and inexpensive trip!

  1. 1. Buying Airplane Tickets

    I learned that the best way to get responsibly priced airline tickets is to buy them at least six months ahead of time. This doesn’t mean just waiting till exactly six months ahead of time to buy them, though. It’s usually best to start watching ticket prices around eight months ahead of time and to watch price graphs to make your decision on when is the best time to buy them. Second, compare prices from multiple sites. I looked at Google Flights, Priceline, Skyscanner, Cheapflights and endless other sites. Another good tip is to buy tickets during the off season as they will be even cheaper. When I say off season, I mean buying tickets during months when people don’t typically travel. Also, buying tickets from airline hubs (really big airports i.e. ORD, JFK, LAX, etc) can be cheaper. Therefore, taking a train to the major airport and then flying out from there could save you a lot of money. I think the reason why buying tickets from airline hubs is cheaper is because there are so many flights coming and going to so many destinations that airlines can afford to make tickets cheaper compared to smaller airports that don’t get any many flights.

  2. 2. Public Transportation & Walking

    The cheapest way to get around anywhere is walking or taking public transportation. Taxis, Ubers and Lyfts are all very expensive and, not to mention, make it easy to get stuck in a traffic jam. Using public transportation or deciding to walk is also better for the environment.

  3. 3. Hostel

    Hotels are nice, sure, but they’re super expensive. For those who don’t know, hostels are an affordable version of hotels— they’re usually less than half the price. They’re not as nice and they’re honestly more like a place to sleep during the night and that’s it. Some hostels, though, have pools or breakfast services, so they’re not always the bare minimum. HostelWorld and Hostels.Com are good places to look if you’re interested in staying at a hostel during your stay.

  4. 4. Groceries

    Eating out regularly can be super expensive. Go grocery shopping. This is a tip I picked up from my aunt who once spent a month in Europe. Groceries cost a fraction of what it does to eat out. This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to only eating what you make, it just gives you a chance to pick and choose when you want to spend a little more to eat out.

  5. 5. Free Museums/Landmarks

    The key to making any trip affordable is planning plenty of trips to free museums and landmarks! Ticketed exhibitions can be pricey, especially if you’re already on a budget. But if you really want to go to something that’s ticketed, I recommend trying to find a coupon or offer for discounted pricing.

I hope that this list has helped you and made you feel more in control of how much money you’re going to spend on your upcoming trip! Doing all of these things (except the hostel part because I stayed with family) definitely made my trip more affordable and is what is going to help me plan future trips. Also, make sure to check out my London vlogs if you want to see what I was up to.

Happy planning!