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Jet Set For Less: 15 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Stephanie Ashley
by Stephanie Ashley Published on March 21, 2014

Jet setting around the world doesn't just take time, it takes dough. Don't let your wallet take a serious hit next time you decide to travel; instead, here are a few quick tips to help cut your travel expenses down to size.

1. Snag the good deals.

Not all of those cheesy flight and hotel deal commercials are full of it--a lot of sites like Kayak, Priceline and Hotwire, can actually find you decent deals on flights and hotel rooms. No harm in trying!

2. Frequent flier miles rock!

If you're really into traveling the skies, there's nothing better for you than a frequent flier account. Not only can you get upgraded to first class every now and then (free drinks!), but you can use those extra miles to book a flight, absolutely free.

3. Pack light!

Checked baggage fees can be an absolute pain! Save yourself the hassle and pack a bit lighter this time. Yes, the hotel room will have a hair dryer, and no, you don't have to bring your entire beauty product collection. You'll survive, we promise.

4. Airport shuttles cost so much less than taxis.

Taxis can be so convenient, but shuttles can pick you up right at your door too! Shuttle companies run in most major cities, and they cost so much less. True, the ride takes a bit longer and you'll have a few extra passengers, but it gets you there just the same.

5. Public transit is your friend (sometimes).

Lots of cities have subway lines that will take you right to the airport. Maybe it's not the best idea to bring a bag the same size as you onto the metro, but if it's just you and your carry-on, you'll fit right in.

6. Planes aren't your only option...

Air travel may be convenient (except for the baggage fees, security lines, etc.), but you can still travel to most places by bus or train. The trip takes longer, but you get to ogle at all the scenery you would've missed while airborne. Bring a nice book, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

7. If you need a car, get a rental account.

If you absolutely must have a car once you arrive at your destination, try getting one in a package deal with your flight and/or hotel. If you travel often, consider a rental car account, similar to a frequent flier card. Many accounts are free, and you can't deny they have their perks!

8. Try out a cute bed 'n' breakfast!

Instead of a standard, drab hotel, try finding accommodations with a bit more character. Do a bit of research and find a cute (but safe) bed 'n' breakfast. It's generally much less costly, and you'll get more of a feel for the city and its people.

9. Maybe don't try out Airbnb....

Okay, Airbnb may be relatively cheap, and they do say that their users have been vetted....but if the recent "XXX Freak Fest" is any indication, maybe it's not worth the risk...

10. Friends with houses are always a great option.

Even if you're not in town to see your friend, it's still nice to see them! It's also very nice to not have to pay an exorbitant amount for housing. There's no harm in asking if you can crash on their couch in exchange for dinner and drinks. What are friends for!

11. Bring home photos, not souvenirs.

Don't waste the space in your suitcase or the green in your wallet on cheap souvenirs. Instead, take photos of your travels and make a personal photo journal when you get back home! It's so much more creative and sentimental than a simple t-shirt.

12. Don't get caught with cell phone roaming charges!

Read the fine print on that cell phone contract before traveling outside your coverage area. Cell phone companies are notorious for charging overages, so make sure you're ahead of the game. Maybe try a prepaid phone just for your travels?

13. Cut back on the excess while you're away.

It's a sad but true fact that the most enjoyable things in life are some of the most expensive. Unless you're really wanting to shell out on the good stuff for this trip (spa day, wine tastings, oh yes), then try to cut down on the indulgences. Maybe just one drink with a nice dinner, instead of every night out at the bar?

14. Don't travel alone; it's always more fun (and less expensive) with a friend.

It's easy to get lonely when you travel alone, so take a friend along with you! You can cut the cost of housing and transportation in half, all while making your trip 2X as fun.

15. Plan ahead for everything.

We all want to save money, but no one wants to get caught in a sketchy or dangerous situation, especially in an unfamiliar city. Stay safe and stay on budget by doing all your research and vetting the services you try out. Not only can you find the least costly options, but you know there will be no surprises (besides the ones you want!).

Got any other tips for staying on budget while traveling? Tweet us @wewomenCA!

by Stephanie Ashley

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