Budget-Friendly Travel Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation Without Breaking The Bank!
Although the weather in many parts of the country has yet to even resemble Spring, don’t be fooled because it is the right time to start thinking about Summer! Now is the time to look into travel destinations if you’re considering flying somewhere. While the optimal time to purchase plane tickets has varied over the years with changes in technology, booking at least two months in advance is still good advice. Even if you can’t afford to head to an exotic location this year, there are still ways to plan a great time on a budget!
There are a few websites that make planning a trip much easier, but one in particular has especially amazing options, and it’s called Skyscanner. Before you begin searching on any travel site, open an incognito/private window on your web browser to hide cookies that have the potential to up prices. If you’re flexible, Skyscanner allows you to choose “cheapest month” instead of set dates, and will display the best weeks to go to your destination of choice. If you aren’t sure where to go, they also offer the option of choosing the cheapest airport to fly into in any given country. If you’re headed to Europe, there are a ton of cheap airlines that can get you between countries for insane amounts. (I once bought a ticket from Spain to the Netherlands for $50 roundtrip!)
Even if plane tickets are inexpensive, it’s the hotels and AirBnBs that usually rack up a decent cost. However, there are many hostels that are willing to exchange work for free rooms. If you have extra time to spare, working at a hostel for a few days could be worth it! Check out hostels in the area you’re looking to visit, and send them an email about it. There are also programs where a family will host you for a certain period of time if you help to teach them English. Sites like Go Overseas offer a range of programs, from volunteer work to teach abroad programs. Be mindful because some will cost you, but there are opportunities that will give you a free, local experience with whatever length of time you can commit! While many programs last a few months, you can also find some for just two weeks.
Of course, not everyone can leave the country, or even the state, and that’s totally understandable in today’s financial environment. Taking inspiration from travel site Pack Up + Go, there are tons of places within close proximity to your town that you might have never considered. Pack Up + Go plans a 3-day excursion within your budget that can include either flights or road trips, depending on what options you choose. They’ll book everything for you and plan an itinerary, and your destination remains a secret until the day of your journey! If this is still too expensive for you, try researching places within a few hours' drive of your home. There’s always something to be found, whether it’s a construction-based theme park in New Jersey called Diggerland, or a Toilet Seat Art Museum in Texas! Who says you have to be on a beach or in front of an architectural icon to get great Instagram photos?
Finally, there are tons of YouTubers that create travel content specifically for people who are looking to go places while on a budget. One of my favorites is DamonAndJo, a best friend duo with videos in multiple languages that document their travels across dozens of countries. They began traveling as broke college students, learning tips about the local public transit and restaurants with great deals to perfect their traveling craft. Now in their mid-twenties, the pair has sponsorships and they travel full-time! Their videos are inspirational and will show you how to eat for only a few dollars a day in tons of locations. Jo even gives advice on traveling as a solo woman! Another great channel is Living Bobby, who has completed insane challenges like living in New York for 24 hours on only $1! This includes food, activities, and finding a place to sleep. He also shows cheaper rent options for large cities, and how to eat well without going into debt.
Regardless of what type of vacation you’re planning (even if it’s a staycation), always remember to take time out to relax!
(Image via LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images)
- Melissa Breccia, YH Contributing Writer