Travel can be expensive, and despite wanting to travel, the expense alone can be enough to make you believe staycations are the only vacations you’ll ever book. However, there are many ways to plan a trip for $1,000 or less, if you know your resources and plan carefully. And who knows? After you read these travel hacks, you may find yourself visiting your dream destination this year, after all.
If you’re on a budget, Airbnb is an affordable alternative. Airbnb accommodations are often much nicer than a cheap hotel. Prices typically run between $55-160 depending on the location.
Many people hesitate to use Airbnb because of the discomfort of staying in a stranger’s home, but when you consider the comfort of a home over a hotel, the savings, and oftentimes the convenient location, Airbnb is a great option for travel lodging.
2. Take a Cruise
Cruises sound expensive, but all inclusive cruise packages can actually be quite affordable. Packages often include your flight, lodging, and all travel accommodations, making this a fantastic option for an affordable vacation.
Even though these cruise packages are affordable, you still get the benefit of traveling to beautiful destinations. Often, cruises to the Caribbean or the Galapagos Islands are priced under $1,000.
3. Cook Your Own Meals
Eating out is arguably more expensive than flying, so making your own meals during your trip can save a ton of money. When planning your trip, take a peek at where the grocery stores are located. Be sure to pack a portable insulated bag to make it easy to bring food along with you during the day.
If you want to be really careful with your budget, plan your meals in advance. You can even get a feel for the price of food by visiting the grocery store’s website ahead of time. Plan to do a quick grocery run as soon as you can after arriving. If you’re staying in a hotel, be sure your room has a fridge (alternatively, you can purchase a styrofoam cooler and ice at the grocery store).
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t eat out at all, but limiting the number of days you eat at a restaurant will help you stay under budget.
4. Use Public Transportation
While it may sound daunting (and possibly unreliable) to use public transportation in a city with which you’re unfamiliar, it’s undeniably less expensive than renting a car or catching an Uber.
Once you know which city you’re visiting, check out the local public transportation options. Often, you can purchase a pass or tickets in advance, or download the city’s public transit app. Planning your sightseeing ahead of time will also help you identify the train and/ or bus(es) you’ll need to use.
5. Visit Free Attractions
Walking tours, hiking, monuments, landmarks, historical sites, and national parks are all great options that are often free, or very affordable. Do a little research while planning your trip and pinpoint the locations you can visit that don’t cost as much.
As an added bonus, free (or less expensive) attractions often give you a feel for the local culture and offer a unique experience that isn’t necessarily guaranteed with more expensive options.
6. Use Student & Military Discounts
Don’t forget to ask if you can redeem your student, military, or other discounts while you’re traveling. If you need to buy tickets for an attraction or pass in advance, you may see this option online, or you can inquire about it over the phone.
Often, by asking for a discount, you will learn about the different discounts a business offers. So, even if you don’t think you’re eligible for one of their discounts, you may learn about an upcoming sale or package deal just by asking.
7. Get a City Tourist Pass
Many cities offer tourist passes. For example, the Paris pass includes the Louvre, the Eiffel Tour, Sacre Coeur, Versailles, and more! The Osaka pass is similar, allowing visitors to access many attractions, including: Legoland, the Illusion Museum, the HEP Five Ferris Wheel, and one of the largest aquariums in the world.
Passes like this can help you save a lot of money, as they’re typically much less expensive than paying for each attraction individually. Plus, by using a city pass, you may discover a few hidden gems that are easy to miss on a Google search.
What are you waiting for?
Traveling often will help you learn all the tricks of the trade. So, even if you’re strapped for cash or you can’t get away for an entire week, consider planning a quick, weekend getaway. It will help you scratch that itch to explore, while also providing the opportunity to practice the ins and outs of travel.