Most of us have dream vacations but we never take them because we're so certain we can't afford them. But I promise, if you start saving and use these cheap travel tips, you have what it takes to go somewhere like Italy, Mexico Thailand, or even on a cruise!
It's no secret that we have caught the travel bug. After so many years of being afraid to travel, assuming that we couldn't afford it, I'm now kicking myself for all the adventures we have missed out on. Over the last few years as I have become more and more interested in travel, I have made it my mission to figure out how to do it as affordably as possible. Would you believe me if I told you all you need is $1,000 and you can have 9 days in Thailand, or 8 days in Spain? It's true!
Now that I know the ins and outs of cheap travel, I figured it was time to spill the beans, and teach you everything I have learned about road trip, domestic, and international travel. I cover how to find the best deals on flights, super secret hacks for getting flights for half off or more, how to find the cheapest hotel rooms, and my favorite sites that I use to book crazy-cheap vacation packages.
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
If you didn't know, I post a new video every week to my YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a thing! You can also text FCFTEXT to 833-520-0668 to be in the loop for when the videos are released, plus be kept up to date on all things Fun Cheap or Free! Enough chit chat, let's get to the goods.
Check the video out online or click and watch all about cheap travel below:
So there you go! Now you know how to travel on a budget for cheap. It really is possible as long as you use these tips. Keep on reading for a summary of everything that I talked about in the video!
SAVE YOUR MONEY
The first rule of being able to jump on cheap travel prices when you find them is to already have the money saved in your bank account. Much like the 3 month rule when it comes to buying something new, the same goes for travel! While you're saving your money, this gives you plenty of time to research where you want to go and what you want to do.
It will also allow you to figure out exactly how much you'll need for flights, hotels, transportation, food and spending money. Then when you find those great deals, you already have the cash saved up and you don't have to worry about putting it all on a credit card and starting the vacation off in debt.
We love to use credit for rewards, but stay away from those that only offer flight or travel rewards. When booking vacations in packages, you can't use those rewards. They are also super restrictive, so you can't be flexible in travel plans. We like the cards that offer cash back rewards. We can use that cash for any part of the trip! Just make sure that you already have the money in the bank to be able to pay that credit card off when the time comes.
USE RAKUTEN FOR YOUR VACATION
Rakuten, formerly Ebates, is one of my favorite companies. You probably know that they offer cash back from places like Walmart and Amazon… But did you know that they also offer cash back from travel sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia?! Sign up now, and you will get a $10 sign up bonus on your first $25 spent!
Get that cash back from Rakuten and put it towards your cheap travel plans! We're talking free money here, so why wouldn't you use it?!
CHEAP ROAD TRIP TIPS
Road trips can often be the most common type of traveling, especially when you have kids! Whether you're just traveling a few hours away or over multiple states, these cheap travel tips are sure to help save you some money and get you the most bang for your buck.
LOOK INTO RENTING
Want to go on a road trip, but don't feel like your car is up to the adventure? Maybe it's not big enough or not reliable enough. Rent one! No need to go buy a new car and spend wayyyyy more money that you need to.
Camping and RV-travel are also huge right now, but it can be super expensive if you don't already have a trailer or RV. You can rent RV's and or do an RV timeshare if you plan on using one a lot.
FIND HOTELS FOR CHEAP
Hotels can be super expensive, and if you are taking a road trip, you will need them to sleep. We like to use Google to search for “Cheap Hotels in …” whatever city you are heading to. Be sure to check the final price per night to get the best deal.
Look for hotels that have some sort of breakfast for free in the morning. This will help save so much money during your trip. You can use that for fun activities. Don't forget to also use Rakuten when you're booking your hotel!
RENT A HOUSE
If you plan to travel with another family, stay more than 3 nights, or just have a large family like ours, renting a house may be a cheaper option. We like to use VRBO or Airbnb. Renting a house can sometimes be cheaper than getting two or more hotel rooms. Plus, they have a kitchen, which helps to cut down on the cost of food.
CHEAP DOMESTIC TRAVEL TIPS
We use the same options for hotels and home rentals when we travel domestically. Use the above tips and you're sure to be able to travel affordably.
ALL ABOUT THE FLIGHTS
Flights are where this type of travel can be more expensive. We start by using Google Flights to get an idea of how much a flight may cost, before deciding on the location of our destination.
Wanna know how to get the cheapest deals on flights? Ummm, yes, please!! You can get the best deal on flights if you book your flight 54 days before your trip. Booking on a Tuesday usually yields the best deals, since that is generally when airlines post sales on flights. So book your flight on a Tuesday that's 54 days before your trip and you'll be saving. that. money.
Sign up for travel email lists. Open a new, free email account that is solely for travel and sign up for any money saving travel lists that you can. You will get notified when there are killer deals. I'm signed up for the free list on Scott's Cheap Flights and it's the bomb!
AIRPORT PARKING TIPS
So how do you get from your house to the airport? Luckily, you have a few options! If you live close to the airport, you can take an Uber or have a friend drop you off. For those times that you have to stay at a hotel before you fly out, try staying at one that offers free or discounted parking and will shuttle you to the airport. If you absolutely have to drive your car to the airport, shop around! Look at the different options that you have and see if any of those places offer coupons.
If at all possible, be flexible in your travel days. Some days are cheaper to fly than others. When you're looking at flights, look at the surrounding days to see how much money you'd be able to save by leaving a day earlier or later.
When you get to the airport to check in, ask the ticket counter if they need anybody to delay their flight to the next one. If the airlines are overbooked and need people to wait, they'll often pay cash, refund your ticket or give you travel vouchers for an additional trip. Just make sure that you are flexible and are okay with being delayed! It may be fine if it's just for a few hours, but it would be harder if it's overnight and you were needing to get back home to your kids.
TRANSPORTATION AFTER FLYING
So you've flown somewhere, but how do you get around? I really prefer to use either Uber or Lyft. They are everywhere, and they come to you. That's so much better than having to stand in the taxi line and wait your turn!
CHEAP INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TIPS
Use the same tips when you're looking for flights, hotels and transportation if you're doing it on your own. However, don't feel like you've got to be overwhelmed and do it all by yourself!
USE A TRAVEL AGENT
My favorite way to travel internationally is through a travel agent, like Get Away Today. When we booked our Ireland trip (way back when Daivy was still itty bitty), I saved OVER $1,500 by working with a travel agent. They didn't cost me any extra (except to book the flights). Plus, they helped to keep our trip super organized.
For our Italy and Thailand trips, we used Gate 1. It was amazing!! Our trip included flights, hotel, transportation, many meals, tours, and a tour guide for super cheap! For Thailand, it was only $1,050 per person. WINNING!
TRAVEL DURING OFF SEASON
This is probably one of my biggest cheap travel tips! For all travel, we recommend traveling during the off season. It is less crowded and everything generally costs less. Crowds = barfola for me. No gracias! Those benefits justify taking the kids out of school for us fo sho!
So there you have it! Do you have any great cheap travel tips? If so, please share them below!
If you need help saving your money to be able to travel, then you absolutely have to check out Budget Boot Camp!
It's a fun video program that makes money easy to understand! However, if it doesn't work for you for whatever reason, it has a 100% money back guarantee. So really, there's no reason that you shouldn't try it! Plus, you can save 10% when you use the code FCFBLOG at checkout.
Looking for more great posts on how to travel on a budget?
- Come see how we can afford to travel so much + some cheap travel secrets.
- I've got 4 secrets to affordable travel that you probably didn't know about!
- Like to travel with your kids? Here are some tips for traveling with kids to help you keep your sanity!
- Looking to take your kids on a cruise? Check out my 3-part series on how to cruise with kids!