I exaggerated - of course, you need SOME time and SOME money. But "Low on Time, Low on Money" didn't have as nice a ring to it...Still, these tips will help you SAVE BIG!
"How do you travel to all of these places?" is a question I get often.
"You must have a lot of vacation time!" Negative (although I do get a decent 22 days, great in America, but Europeans feel sorry for me). I also envy teachers and KPMG US employees.
"Traveling is so expensive!" Depends on your goals and expectations while traveling! You will be amazed at the places you can fly on, say, $300 if you're flexible!
Life is full of responsibilities: bills, family, job. It's no wonder many people would rather not deal with the added stress of taking a vacation and instead feel burned out. But, taking a break is vital for rejuvenating your mind and spirit, taking you off of auto-pilot and maybe even sparking some inspiration in your life. This doesn't always require leaving town, BUT a change of scenery in some form, and what better way than to travel elsewhere!
Here are some of my travel tips if you're low on time and/or money. Feel free to check or cross off any of these strategies that work or don't work for you!
If your issue is TIME:
Take advantage of long weekends to decrease the amount of vacation days you use! Keep in mind everyone is thinking the same thing, so these weekends tend to be the most expensive for traveling.
Don't be discouraged by having a short amount of time. I've had an amazing weekend in Turks & Caicos where I did jet skiing, horseback riding, relaxed on the beach, sipped cocktails, and did a photoshoot! I felt refreshed and like I had a full experience! See more in my post where I spent 48 hours in Turks and Caicos.
Pick a destination close to home. Travel doesn't only mean leaving the country. Drive or bus to a nearby state or take a 1-2 hour flight to save travel time.
Save up your days, and take one long vacation. If you have a dream destination in mind, it may be worth it, especially if you currently don't take vacation at all anyway!
Use a sick day to extend time (if you don't have to bring in a doctor's note, of course).
Hire a travel agent. This will likely cost more, but saves time in planning. Give your criteria, and let them do the rest!
If your issue is MONEY:
Choose a notoriously cheap destination. The cheapest country, by far, has been Colombia for me! 30 minute Uber rides and satiating, delicious meals for less than $10?? The flights are reasonable, too! I also stayed in a 5-star hotel for less than $80 / night! Thailand is also notoriously cheap, but the flight may be a lot more. Also think outside the box, like Eastern Europe or other places that are not all over your IG feed.
Travel during off-season for your destination. Example: early fall or after New Years through early spring for Europe or Asia. But DO check the weather to be prepared and understand why flights are so cheap - is it hurricane/monsoon season? Snowy? Will you die by going to Dubai or India in the blazing heat of August? (probably)
Fly during low-traffic days. Most people fly out on a Thursday or Friday and return on a Sunday to take advantage of the weekend. Instead, fly out Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday and return on a Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday. The weekend may be sacrificed, but if you aren't particularly there for nightlife, you're not missing much.
Choose a low-cost carrier. Yes, that means flying Frontier or Spirit, which BTW, has been rated the #2 airline in the US in 2023! *Mind blown!* Similarly, there is Norwegian Airlines to Europe, VivaAerobus to Mexico, etc. Yes, they are a bit less comfortable or reliable at times, but may be worth the savings if you're in a pinch. And honestly, most airlines are struggling post-pandemic. *sigh*
Bring a friend! Splitting the costs with friends is a major way to save! Not just with hotels, but with meals, taxis, or group discounts on tours or car services.
Opt for a DIY approach and do free activities. It's not necessary to book a tour for everything. I do like having a guide to add historical context and for ease, but to explore a town, park, or food, a walking tour is not necessary to me. Also, look into free museums or specific days of the week that are free admission.
Use public transit. If there are trains, trolleys, or buses, I will take it and save vs. taxiing and Ubering everywhere! (Except in Colombia and Mexico City because, again, Uber was so cheap!). Another example, I hired a tour for the Teotihuacan pyramids from Mexico City (because I wanted to ride the hot air balloon), but if you only wanted to explore the ruins, there is a public bus that takes you there for much cheaper! More on that experience in my post on my 3 Days in Mexico City!
Stay in shared rooms in hostels. I know it's not for everyone, but especially if you're solo, on a budget, and want to meet people, a hostel is a great option! Beds can go for as little as $15 / night depending on the destination. Besides, having a luxury hotel room is a waste of time if you're barely there to enjoy the amenities. I've stayed in three hostels and have felt safe with my belongings locked away safely, as well. And as far as cleanliness, shower shoes solve for the bathrooms, and honestly, which bed sounds cleaner to you, that of a single person in a shared room with little privacy, or that of a fancy, private, romantic hotel room for couples? Yeah....Read my post for more on picking a great hostel!
If hostels are too uncomfortable (especially loud party hostels), pick a 2-3 star no-frills hotel for less than $100 / night. Check the reviews. As long as it's clean, quiet, and comfortable, you're good to go!
Which of these would you find most helpful? What other tips would you add to the list? Comment below!