7 Easy Tips to Travel on a Budget

Travelling on a budget? Do you think travelling is expensive? It doesn’t have to be. There is a common misconception that you have to be loaded to be able to travel. Not so!

If you’re on a budget, you just have to learn how to travel smarter (and maybe not stay in that hotel where you can feed giraffes during breakfast)!

We recently planned a trip to Rome for about half of what it would’ve cost to go to an all-inclusive in Mexico for a week – including flights. Surprise! Bet you didn’t think that was possible, did you?

If you know how to plan effectively and budget your money, you’re able to snag some incredible deals and pocket that extra money for a nice meal or experience, or put aside for another trip.

There are many ways you can travel on a budget, and I am all about saving money where I can. With these easy tips, you can too!

Travel on a budget
The majestic Pantheon in Rome (visit for free!)

1. Be flexible

Let your budget determine your destination. If you have your heart set on a certain city or country but really can’t afford it, often there will be a similar place to go for a fraction of the cost. Research inexpensive cities to travel to – and often times they are underrated, and accommodation, meals, and activities are less expensive compared to tourist hotspots.

One of my goals one day is to make a list of cheap places to travel to, put them in a jar, and randomly pick one, because you’re going to have a memorable trip no matter where you go!

2. Don’t book during peak season

It’s tempting to book during warmer months, around holidays, or school breaks, but often times this means more crowds, more sold out places to stay, jacked up prices, expensive flights, and packed restaurants (need I go on?). Off-peak travel can have its benefits too, and allow you to soak in the atmosphere more or maybe take in some experiences you’d never otherwise get.

Travelling during peak season may be more convenient for you, but there is a better chance of getting tickets for the things you were travelling to see in the first place. Look to travel just before or after peak time to still reap the benefits of weather or available options for bookings.

3. Watch your flight prices

Finding a cheap flight is half the battle when it comes to budgeting for a trip. With apps like SkyScanner, you can track flight prices and get notified of when they drop, so you can be assured you’re buying at a good time. SkyScanner will also find the cheapest time for you to travel during any given month.

What I love about SkyScanner is the ability to put a flight to “Everywhere” and it will show you the cheapest flight options. You can even select the cheapest month as a criteria if you aren’t committed to a certain time frame.

Weekdays are generally a better time to buy flights than weekends, and even certain days of the week can offer less expensive flights. In my time in researching flight prices, I’ve found better prices on Tuesday and Wednesdays compared to any other day of the week.

Budget Travel Skyscanner
Skyscanner offers a ton of options if you are just looking to go anywhere!

Google Flights and Hopper are other great options when it comes to flight price tracking and will also notify you of any fluctuations.

Travelling as a student? Check out these tips on how to travel as a student (even if you’re broke!)

4. Explore your accommodation options

Don’t just stick to hotels – there are plenty more affordable options on sites like Booking.com or Airbnb.

Booking.com offers budget-friendly options to book and cancel for free, so there won’t be any upfront costs. Often times the value for money is way better compared to staying in a hotel, so research your options!

Airbnb is a great alternative to hotels. It gives you your own space (you can opt for an entire apartment/house/room/shared bathroom, etc.) so there is something for everyone and all budgets. What I love about Airbnb is I usually find places to stay right around where I want to be.

If you want to stay by the Trevi Fountain in a hotel, you’re looking at big bucks. Staying in an Airbnb can offer you incredible views at a fraction of the cost, most times!

Travel on a Budget Rye
Mermaid Street, Rye, UK

5. Travel light – bring a carry-on only

Luggage fees add up! Opt to travel light – see my post on how to travel with a carry-on only! Save some money here and learn how to pack effectively and only bring what is absolutely necessary.

Check with your accommodation to see what they offer in the way of toiletries, and if you are staying for an extended period of time, look for laundry facilities close by.

I travel extensively with just a carry-on, especially to all-inclusive resorts. Wondering what to pack? See what to bring and grab your printable checklist!

6. Research food options ahead of time

I’m a planner. I love to research local restaurants and menus before going anywhere so I can get an idea of the price range. Having a budget in mind will help you gauge how much cash to carry with you, and what places you can reasonably afford to eat at.

Don’t pick the first place you come across – wander around to see what else there is. And – as much as it sucks – watch the alcohol intake, because we all know how much that can add up quickly on your bill.

Ask a local where their favourite restaurant is! Guaranteed it won’t be the one right by that popular tourist attraction. Walk a few blocks away and you’ll find a more reasonable place to eat.

Check out a local market. When we go somewhere new, we love wandering around in grocery stores and through markets, ogling all the food we can’t get at home. If you have your own accommodation, bring something back to your place to eat at a fraction of the cost of what it would be at a sit-down restaurant.

Budget Travel
Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. The closest we’ll be getting to the real thing for a while!

7. Check out free things to do

One of the best things about travelling anywhere is the amount of things to see and do without paying a penny.

Walking tours

The incredible thing about a lot of big city travel is the amount of FREE walking tours available to take part in! Yes – they are absolutely free, but the guides operate on a tip basis, so depending on how worthwhile and informative you found the tour, you can tip accordingly.

I actually prefer this method of seeing a city, because you probably wouldn’t come across some of the things you’d see and you’ll get a lot of good recommendations from them as well. You can sign up on sites like FreeTour or GuruWalk. Go based off of reviews from others. They’ll tell you when and where to meet and how long the tour takes.


Many cities offer free access to museums on certain days of the month or holidays, and many offer free admittance anyway! Visit tourism sites for where you are travelling and you will be able to find which places you’re able to go, and when, without paying a cent!

Heading to London? Check out their 27 free museums here. We visited the Imperial War Museum on a rainy day during our last visit and it’s a great way to pass the time and learn something along the way!

Italy recently started offering free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Check out the list here.


On many of our trips we’ve just enjoyed walking around the city and taking in the views for free! Take advantage of famous landmarks and walk your way around town (if feasible, which most places are). You see way more walking than when in a car, so be sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes!

Final Thoughts

With these easy tips, you can stretch your hard-earned money (and maybe even travel more often). By making some simple adjustments and being open to travelling to wherever your budget will allow, you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck. What other travel budget tips do you follow? I’d love to know!

Looking for more budget travel tips? Check out this list of 120+ pro tips on how to travel on a low budget!

Pin it for later!

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  1. May 23, 2020 / 9:44 am

    I love asking locals the best spots to eat and enjoy authentic markets, too! I swear I travel solo because it takes me at least an hour to decide on the perfect place to eat! 🙃 Great tips!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 10:19 am

      Thank you so much! A major part of the fun comes from deciding where and what to eat!

  2. Shay
    May 23, 2020 / 10:29 am

    Great tips! I am definitely guilty of not following these rules even when trying to travel on a budget. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn to be a light packer!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 10:33 am

      Thank you! Once I saw the route we were going to take in Positano (hiking up the hill to get to our villa) there was NO way I could’ve lugged a suitcase up there..so I made it work!🙂 Haha – once you do it, you’ll never look back!

  3. May 23, 2020 / 1:48 pm

    Thank you for those great tips! I agree with you: the more you are flexible, the easiest it is when you are on a budget!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 4:30 pm

      This was a tough lesson for me to learn. I’m still trying to do this! haha. Thank you!

  4. May 23, 2020 / 2:48 pm

    Great tips! I also love Skyscanner’s “everywhere” feature!!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 4:31 pm

      I LOVE doing this for fun randomly – and dreaming! One day I’d love to just find a cheap place and be spontaneous and GO – but my inner planner won’t let me!🙃

  5. Chelsea
    May 23, 2020 / 3:08 pm

    Great tips! I always try to be flexible with my plans to get the cheaper option. It’s crazy how much you can save by altering your dates a tiny bit! I also love setting up alerts of sky scanner! I haven’t mastered the art of only taking carry on just yet!!! Haha! Pinning these tips for sure!!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 4:32 pm

      Thank you! I’ve been TRYING to be more flexible with my plans – but sometimes I’m just so stuck on a certain timeframe! SkyScanner is amazing!!!! And once you travel with a carry-on once, you won’t look back. I promise! 😆

  6. May 23, 2020 / 4:10 pm

    That’s awesome you were able to spend less on Rome than Mexico! I use all these tips as well and you really can have a great vacation on a budget. Even though I reallllyyy want to book the hotel and feed giraffes during breakfast, sometimes ya have to compromise 🙂

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 4:33 pm

      Thank you! It blew our mind too. I couldn’t believe it! It really opened our eyes to where we should go re: value for money. Feeding giraffes is DEFINITELY on my bucket list!! 😆

  7. May 23, 2020 / 7:48 pm

    Great tips! Genius status on booking.com helps a lot to pick the best accommodation on budget. skyscanner is very useful too. I love this blog post. Keep it up!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

  8. May 23, 2020 / 8:35 pm

    Great tips! After studying on a budget for a semester while studying abroad, I can definitely agree with these!

    • Sarah
      May 23, 2020 / 8:54 pm

      So awesome! I wish I studied abroad. Maybe it’s not too late to go back to school?🙃

  9. Jasmine
    May 24, 2020 / 12:28 am

    I follow all of these tips! Except the ones for flights and only taking carry on – my mum is a flight attendant, so we get cheap flights and unlimited baggage so that’s always fun! And I ALWAYS research places to eat before going on the holiday haha! Thanks for sharing these!

    • Sarah
      May 24, 2020 / 8:34 am

      That’s incredible!!! You are so fortunate. Finding cheap flights is half the battle! And I love looking at menus wherever I go. Consider it a hobby of mine haha🙂

  10. May 24, 2020 / 4:09 am

    Great tips Sarah! It is all about making those smart decisions while still having an amazing time 🙂

    • Sarah
      May 24, 2020 / 8:34 am

      Thanks Rania!🙂

  11. May 24, 2020 / 5:46 am

    Great recommendations. Yes, with a bit of planning, you can save heaps of money. Managed to visit the Colosseum for free, when we visited Rome a while back (one of those things for free on first Sunday of the month).
    Also had been quite lucky to get really good flight and hotel package deals for New York a few times, where it was cheaper to book the package including a five star hotel than book the flight on its own.

    • Sarah
      May 24, 2020 / 8:35 am

      It’s crazy to think that we can go to some of these awesome places and pay way less than we even figured! As long as we have some time to play with, it’s fun finding all the hidden deals! Thanks for your comments!

  12. May 24, 2020 / 1:56 pm

    I found a ton of value by using Airbnb when I traveled. One of the best examples I can think of is finding discounts on dreamy apartments during the off season and getting the stay for half price! Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. 🙂

    • Sarah
      May 24, 2020 / 8:23 pm

      Airbnb is the best – great advice!

  13. Cassie Bailey
    May 24, 2020 / 3:18 pm

    This is an excellent list. I am finally coming around to free walking tours too – they can be great.

    • Sarah
      May 24, 2020 / 8:22 pm

      Absolutely!! I love that they can provide better advice and guidance than the paid tours like Hop on/Hop off! They’re great!

  14. Gina
    May 25, 2020 / 3:08 am

    We did a lot of travelling with our kids by going off season, and checking out free things to do. The teachers weren’t too impressed by taking them out of school but we think they learned invaluable lessons during travel. And great memories!

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2020 / 12:58 pm

      Haha! I think traveling is a great learning experience for kids! My parents did that with us too!! Definitely valuable memories! 🙂

  15. May 25, 2020 / 11:12 am

    Very good tips!! I am thinking of heading to Rome next summer!

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2020 / 12:58 pm

      Thank you!! Everything is booked for September but I doubt we will be going – so sad. It’s such a fun trip to plan and there is soooooooo much to see!!!

  16. May 25, 2020 / 11:44 am

    Thank you for these tips! The carry-on only is ALWAYS where I struggle but I know it would help me so much!

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2020 / 12:59 pm

      It really will! Just play around with it now at home even to see if you can get a week’s worth of items in a carry-on. Once you do it, you won’t look back!!

  17. May 25, 2020 / 12:14 pm

    Excellent tips! I used Airbnb in South Africa to offset the higher cost of the game lodges I stayed in for safaris. When we can finally start traveling again I’ll be sure to put some of these to use 🙂

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      That’s a great idea! I’m sure there are tons of awesome little Airbnbs to stay in. South Africa is the greatest!!! Thanks!

  18. May 25, 2020 / 4:15 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know about the free walking tours. Thank you so much for this. I used to think guided tours was just an added expense and I could just roam through cities and then read about the history before or later. But they are very informational and educative while your’re actually present there. Now I am saving this for later!

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2020 / 4:52 pm

      Absolutely!!! I’m so glad you found this helpful – I only recently discovered the FREE walking tours. They’re awesome! They still cost a little bit (due to tipping) but I think it’s money well spent! A lot of the time we would never have any idea of what we are looking at or where we should go! Thanks for your comments!!

  19. Francesca
    May 25, 2020 / 11:17 pm

    I have such a hard time bringing just a carry-on on a longer vacation… I can do 3 day trips but not much longer then that. I also LOVE fiding free things to do in places.

    • Sarah
      May 26, 2020 / 7:16 am

      Packing everything in to a carry-on is definitely an art…but once you manage to do it you’ll feel empowered 🙂 It took some practice but now I can’t NOT do it! Free things are the best!!!

  20. May 28, 2020 / 6:28 am

    It’s great that you share your experience. I am a novice traveler, and for me your blog is an aid in planning my trip. Thanks!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2020 / 9:05 am

      Thanks so much Roger! I’m glad you found it helplful!🙂

  21. May 28, 2020 / 8:46 pm

    I love Skyscanner’s Everywhere search so much that I decided to leave my entire route for a year of full-time travel up to the cheapest destination each week haha! I was nine months through, in the Philippines, when COVID hit. Can’t wait to head back out again when it’s safe!

    • Sarah
      May 29, 2020 / 8:53 am

      You are amazing!! That is GOALS right there! Glad you are safe – can’t wait to get back to travelling!

  22. June 7, 2020 / 8:50 am

    Great travel tips! For me, planning the trip is a big part of the fun.

    • Sarah
      June 7, 2020 / 9:43 am

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  23. June 18, 2020 / 7:20 pm

    Fantastic post, Sarah, and great tips! I’ve never thought to use Skyscanner before, but have always been a fan of Hopper! Thanks for encouraging me to try another app 🙂

    • Sarah
      June 19, 2020 / 9:58 am

      Thank you so much! Skyscanner is amazing – and really fun to use!

  24. June 27, 2020 / 10:43 am

    These are really great tips! I think it’s funny how people always assume that it’s really expensive to travel, because as you’ve shown, it doesn’t have to be. Good advice to ask locals for restaurants. When I was in Italy we ate at a lot of tourist traps and ended up disappointed.

    • Sarah
      June 27, 2020 / 12:12 pm

      Thank you! I totally agree – no one understands how we travel so often but…I’m pretty good at hoarding my money and don’t splurge a lot! Just gotta know where to find deals 🙂

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