Photo Credit: Dasha Kennedy
Finance Guru Dasha Kennedy Shares Her Tips For Traveling On A Budget
With everyone seeking out luxury travel opportunities and excursions, it can be easy to get lost in the sauce of spending a ton of money trying to visit the destination of your choice. From flying first class to dropping a bag on the most expensive hotel or resort, a traveler’s budget can break fast when you’re trying to keep up with the Jones’.
But budget travel isn’t a punishment and can actually help you have some of the best vacation experiences of your life without breaking the bank.
Finance expert and creator of The Broke Black Girl, Dasha Kennedym broke down some of her favorite tips to help you make your next budget trip fun and worth your while.
Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates
Being flexible with the dates you plan on traveling to and from your destination can help you keep your travel budget low and efficient. Travel is usually cheaper during the week than on the weekends or on Monday mornings, so check to see if it’ll be less money to fly out midweek instead of during peak times.
“If you’re willing to be flexible on your travel dates, you can definitely save money,” Kennedy said. “Especially on flights.”
Late-night flights are also a good option to consider when looking for inexpensive flights out of town.
Consider Flying Economy
While the allure of first-class may be calling your name, sometimes it’s better to fly economy if you’re trying to be budget-conscious. If you’re not traveling long distances, consider taking a step back and opting in for an economy class ticket.
“I know right now everyone is into luxuries and upgrades, but I think we should consider being smart about how we fly,” she said. “If it’s a short flight, there’s nothing wrong with flying economy.”
It’s no secret that most airlines charge extra for checked baggage at the airport. So, unless you’re flying Southwest or one of a few international airlines, you will pay to have your suitcases checked on the plane.
Kennedy says packing light will help avoid baggage fees because all you’ll need is a small carry-on bag. If you’re only taking a short trip and don’t plan on being in your destination for an extended period, consider only traveling with a carry-on to save money.
Consider Alternative Ways to Travel
While flying may seem like the most convenient and fastest way to travel, according to Kennedy, it may not always be the cheapest. Instead of flying, choose to travel to your destination by driving or catching a train ride.
“America is really one of the few countries that don’t use trains when it comes to travel,” Kennedy said. “Our country is one of the few countries that are really heavy on getting on planes instead of using trains.”
Traveling by train overnight also is one less night you’ll have to pay to stay in a hotel.
Book Your Flight In Advance
Be sure to book your flight in advance to get the best deal on your plane ticket. Waiting until the last minute can result in you paying more than you needed to for a flight, especially return flights.
“Most airlines release their flight dates in advance up to a year, so booking them in advance is always cheaper,” Kennedy said. “And the closer you get to your return date, the more expensive the flight is going to be.”
Travel with A Plan
Having a planned itinerary for activities, excursions, and meals for your trip will always save you money when it comes to traveling. By planning ahead, you can have a set amount of money put aside for your vacation instead of impulse spending when you arrive at your destination. While you don’t have to have every hour of your trip planned before you depart, having a list of planned activities and their cost will save you money in the long run.
“Of course, going on last-minute, spontaneous trips are great, and it’s fun,” Kennedy said. “But we all love to have free luxury over our time, and you’re able to do that when you are traveling with a plan.”
Having a plan can also help you to avoid last-minute expenses or just spending unnecessary money out of boredom while you’re on your trip.
Travel Out Of Season
Traveling during the peak season will always cost you more money. Kennedy suggests researching what is the best time to visit your destination and then book your travel during the opposite time of year.
“If the best time to travel is in August, you would want to travel before or after that because it’s going to be cheaper, it’ll be slower, it won’t be as crowded, and you’ll be able to enjoy the experience more,” Kennedy said.
Travel with People Who Have Similar Budgets
Traveling as a group can sometimes be more cost-efficient than solo travel. It can cut down the cost of room and board and excursions because the cost is split amongst multiple people.
However, if you do decide to travel with friends or family, be sure to travel with people who have similar budgets to ensure no confusion arises while on your trip.
“Traveling with a group of people who have a similar budget to yours can eliminate a lot of the problems that come with group travel,” Kennedy said.