Travel Noire: 5 Tips To Travel on a Budget

14by Rachel McRae

In today’s expensive society, I find it necessary to budget everything, especially travel. Traveling is extremely fun but it can be very costly. Here’s a few ways I save:

Set up a Travel Fund
Each trip I take is paid in full before heading to the airport. I start stashing away a small percentage of my income into a savings account months in advance so when it’s time to book my trip, I can pay for it all up front. That’ll leave no worries when I return.

I know a lot of folks look for deals via Expedia, Kayak, etc. and find killer deals for flights and hotels! I’m blessed enough to work for an airline so my airfare is usually free (domestically) and only a few bucks (internationally). So, if you know anyone that works for an airline, consider purchasing one of their buddy passes and fly standby. Example: A round trip ticket from the east coast to Paris, France starts at $1,200 but a buddy pass may be 1/2 that price!

Aside from flights, when booking hotels, I look for deals via Expedia or the hotel chain I have the most rewards with. Expedia often has free cancelations (a great perk for “just in case” situations) and usually have the lowest prices for some really nice hotels. Also, if you can, book your flight and hotel together for even greater savings.

Timing is Everything
Travel during off-season. When traveling to the islands or Europe during holiday, you’ll pay TONS more compared to going during the fall or winter. Flight and hotel/resort accommodations will be cheaper during those off-peak times. Personal note: I traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica last April for 4 days, 3 nights at an all-inclusive resort for less than $400/person. Pricing nearly doubled two months later when summer officially arrived.

Exchange Currency Beforehand
If you’re traveling to another country that does not take the USD, exchange your money at a local bank. Now, you’ll have to Google something like “banks that exchange currency” and a few should pop up. For my travels, I use a nearby Wells Fargo which exchanges currency for a small fee of $5 (FREE if you bank with them). Avoid exchanging money at the last minute while in the airport because you will fall victim to ridiculous exchange rates.

Travel Light
If possible, only pack a carry-on bag (usually a small suitcase or duffle). Working for an airline made me appreciate packing light as people pay so much in baggage fees before they even step foot on a plane. If possible, limit your packing to one carry-on suitcase so eliminate baggage fees during your travels. Check your carrier’s website for carry-on size and weight restrictions.

Create a Travel Budget & STICK TO IT
Even though this may be vacation for you, be sure to create and stay within a budget. If you’re traveling overseas, do your research prior to see where you can eat, what transportation is available (I always take shuttles and trains – save TONS), and what entertainment will cost. Build your budget from the research and maintain your spending.

If you save early and plan ahead, you will save $100s on your next travel adventure. Wherever you land, I wish you happy savings and amazing travels!

Be sure to follow Rachel McRae on Instagram & Twitter @TheBelleAgency!

If you need deeper work around healing your relationship with money or overcoming your blocks and fears, maybe it’s time for some money therapy.   

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