Ballin’ on a Budget
By Danielle Pointdujour
Let’s keep it real. Most of us aren’t bringing in the big bucks. And as much as we love seeing the world, trying to plan that dream vacation can burn holes in our pockets. While some people are fortunate enough to fly first class and stay at pricey hotels and luxury resorts, many of us travel on budgets to get the biggest bang out of our little bucks. Ballin’ on a budget isn’t impossible and doesn’t require a compromise in comfort, safety or fun. Check out three ways you can take the trip of your dreams and stay under budget.
Take Note of Peak vs. Off Peak Travel Times
Sure it sounds great to travel to Europe in July, but unless you’ve got about $1000 for the flight alone, budget travel in the summer is a going to be a tough one. Try traveling during off peak seasons like fall and winter. The weather might not be warm enough to get your tan on, but it may still be just as lovely…just like the prices. Keep your eye on sites like Airfarewatchdog, Kayak Buzz and Skyscanner so you don’t miss deals when they pop up.
Packages Are Your Friend
Traveling solo and creating your own itinerary can be great, but it can also get a bit expensive. Using tour companies can deflect some of the travel costs since they are able to negotiate deals with hotels and airlines. For example, on FriendlyPlanet.com, for as little as $1200 per person you can hit up places like Costa Rica, Barcelona and even Thailand and your airfare, hotels, tours and even a few meals are included! I know it sounds too good to be true, but I’ve personally used them a few times for trips with friends and I haven’t had a bad experience yet.
Don’t Be Hostile About Hostels
Hostels have gotten a bad rap for being unsafe, party havens for the young and drugged, but that’s no longer true. Many of today’s hostels are providing the same level of comfort and service as major chain hotels so if you’re looking for a way to cut expenses without having to sacrifice safety and comfort, hostels are one of the best ways to do it. Hostels like Hostelle in Amsterdam, Pangea People in Germany and Saphaipae in Thailand are centrally located and offer private rooms complete with your own bathroom (for those of you who value space like I do), flat screen televisions and other amenities you pay double for in a hotel. If hostels still aren’t your thing, try renting an apartment from a local on Airbnb.com. Using Airbnb you can still get cheap pricing and as a bonus you’ll get more of an authentic feel for the area you’re staying in. Why travel like a tourist when you can live like a local!
What are some of your travel budget tips?
Armed with a fully stamped passport, Danielle has been called “The Hotel Whisperer” for her strategic engagement of some of the top hospitality brands in the world. In addition to being an Editor for Travel Noire, her travel writing has appeared on sites such as EBONY, JET, Parlour Magazine and Clutch. In short...she's awesome.