I get asked all the time how I can afford to travel. Truth is, I wouldn’t be able to if I weren’t incredibly budget conscious. I work full-time at a place that doesn’t pay all that great, so my adventures consist of self-guided tours rather than margaritas at a sea-side resort – but that doesn’t mean they’re not just as great! In fact, I feel as though I get to experience a new city that much more authentically because of it.
Because of my firm budgeting ways, I’ve found some really great resources for planning cheap travel that I want to share with you guys! I use these every single time I plan a new adventure. If you decide to use these and they work out for you, I’d love to hear about it! I’m also always on the lookout for great travel resource websites, so if you know of any good ones not listed below please let me know in the comments. :)
I’ve found Skyscanner to be the best all-around flight search engine. I often have 15+ windows open at one time trying to track down the cheapest flight and more often than not, Skycanner is the one to pull through. There’s been a toooon of times where they show the same exact flight as another search engine but $50+ cheaper!
This is a fairly new option for us Americans, but if you’re planning on traveling to Europe this is the way to go! You won’t believe the offers that they offer sometimes… last I checked there was a roundtrip to Germany for $350. Like, unbelievable. Every other site was selling them for $900+!
I’m sure all Europeans readers know about this airline, but if you’re not from there and find yourself having to travel within Europe – check out RyanAir. It’s a super cheap budget airline (meaning you cant choose your seat and food is extra) but it’s so worth it for the cheap flights. When I was backpacking Europe I literally booked a flight for $24.
Last but not least, there’s Expedia. Every once in a while they beat out Skycanner on cheap prices so I figured I had to add it to the list. I’ve used Expedia a ton over the years and always double-check prices on there. When traveling to South America (Uruguay, specifically) they usually have the cheapest Copa Airlines tickets.
As you guys know, I’m a huuuge advocate of Hostelworld. I’ve stayed all over the world for an average of $10 a night because of them. I was skeptical of hostels when I first heard of them back in the day, but I’m happy to report that most of them are clean, private and safe. I put together a list of hostels I’ve stayed at in the past – you can find it here. ;)
I love Airbnb for extended stays! I first used it in Prague when we decided to stay for 4 days longer than expected, and our experience was awesome. We booked a beautiful little apartment in the heart of the city. Our hosts were incredibly welcoming and even left us the fridge fully stocked. We also used in Athens and again, it was so worth it.
When I need to book hotels I usually do it through Booking. I just find that they show the cheapest prices per night, but still always double-check on Expedia.
I only recently discovered this site, but I’m so hooked. You can type in any two places in the world and it’ll show you all the ways you can get there. There’s a flight option, driving option, train option and even a walking option. I use it mainly for traveling within a city – like, if I’m staying in a new city and want to go check out a certain landmark. It’ll tell you which bus stops or train stops to take or which street is the fastest. Highly recommend it.
The best invention ever, when it comes to getting around in unknown places. Uber is usually cheaper in other countries (as in, not the United States) and it's quick, safe and effecient.
- The best tip I can give you to travel cheaply is to be flexible. A ton of these websites let you choose ‘monthly’ views so you can check which day is the cheapest, whether that be for flying or lodging.
- Travel during the week. I’ve always found it to be true that traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is far cheaper than traveling during the other week days.
- If you’re looking for a spontaneous adventure, travel to where the dollar is strong. Mexico, Colombia and all of Southeast Asia is always quite affordable is you’re traveling from the US.
- Cook your meals! Eating out every meal adds up quick, so I always make sure to stop by the grocery store wherever I am to stock up on the essentials. Almost every hostel has a fully stocked kitchen too, which is super convenient.