How to Spend Money Wisely » Travel

Traveling without going broke

Love travelling? I do. It’s nice to be able to travel and get away from your busy life and see other parts of the world. Of course, travelling isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save money on travel.

Here are some of my best tips for travelling without going broke.

Travelling without going broke

1. Avoid travelling during high season

No matter what the destination, there is always a high and low season with prices that reflect it. Depending on the country, it can be based on the weather. However, other factors include holidays in your home country for example, and the summertime (when children have two months off of school).

If you have vacation time, you can try traveling during low season and potentially save a good amount of money. If you’re taking the risk in traveling to a country during hurricane season, you may want to purchase insurance that will allow you to cancel your trip if the weather will be dangerous and poses a risk.

2. Research to get the best bang for your buck

Researching before planning a trip is very important. You can check reviews for everything from airlines, resorts, cruises, hotels, restaurants, excursions, sightseeing, and everything in between. By researching every aspect of your trip, you can stretch your budget and make the most of your money.

Travellers all over the world will share their thoughts and experiences and help you make good choices. One of my favourite sites for this is Trip Advisor.

Travel Research

3. Travel with family and friends

Your travel rates can significantly decrease when traveling with others since you will be able to split costs. Hotel costs and gas money are great examples of costs that can be split and would, therefore, lower your overall travel costs.

4. Purchase a group buy trip

Group buying sites are great for just about everything, and this includes traveling. You can use websites such as One Spout to monitor what the latest travel deals are.

Taking advantage of a group buy can save you hundreds of dollars, but don’t forget to check the terms & conditions carefully as well as reviews on the trip, before buying into it.

5. Stay in a hostel or motel

For many people, the thought of staying in a hostel may not sound very attractive, but most hostels and motels can be very affordable alternatives to hotels. Remember that if you have any concerns about places to stay, check out reviews from other travellers and view detailed photos and comments.

Traveling in a Motel

6. Visit an all-inclusive resort or cruise

All-inclusive resort trips are a great idea for the family, or even for a couple. Many of these packages include airfare, resort hotel stay, all-you-can-eat food & drink, as well as many activities that the resort will offer during your stay.

You also have a choice of excursions that you may participate in for an additional fee. Cruise packages are the same, but the alcoholic beverages are usually an additional cost. Taking an all-inclusive vacation will help you monitor your spending a lot easier.

Traveling on a Cruise

7. Take advantage of the exchange rate

When it comes to travelling, taking advantage of the exchange rate is ideal. For example, a Canadian travelling to a Caribbean country will be able to do so at a much more affordable cost than travelling to a country in Europe.

When the exchange rate is good, your money can get you a lot more in terms of higher quality hotels, food and general shopping.

8. Visit family and friends

If you are lucky enough to have friends and family that live around the world – visiting them is a great chance to travel.

Not only are you able to travel with locals, but you may be lucky enough to skip the need for staying at a hotel.

9. Avoid foreign transaction fees

When you’re travelling, it’s important to consider the method of payment that you will choose to use locally. If you plan to use your credit card, be sure to contact your bank; you should be fully aware of the fees involved with using your card out of the country.

Typically, when you plan to travel, you need to call your credit card company to advise them of travel so that your account is not frozen, so ask about fees during the call. You do not want to spend anything on your credit card prior to knowing the fees involved, because once you receive your statement and are surprised with fees – it’s too late.

Many currency exchange booths in airports exchange with no commission, so bring cash with you to exchange when you arrive in your destination country. If you plan to bring a debit card, be careful when using ATMs. Do your research beforehand so you’re not surprised with hidden fees.

Traveling with Foreign Currency

10. Purchase travel insurance

Before taking off on your trip, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. It’s really a small fee to pay, just in case anything happens to you on your trip – especially if you plan to go on an adventurous one.

Also, if you are travelling to a destination where it’s recommended to get certain vaccination shots prior to traveling, contact a doctor to get them done.

11. Pack smart

Packing for trips is very important – try not to over or under a pack. If you’re under-packed, you may find that you will have to purchase essential items that will end up costing you a lot more than you had just brought them from home.

It’s also important to pack light because you don’t want to pay overage fees at the airport for bringing too much in your luggage. Be sure to check the guidelines from your airline before visiting the airport, and look into the weather at your destination, to bring appropriate outfits.

Traveling with Luggage

12. Don’t roam with your cellphone

Unless you have one of the better phone plans, roaming charges from your cellphone provider are not worth it. If you have an unlocked cellphone, purchase a SIM card and cellphone plan in your destination country to fit your needs while travelling. If you need to contact loved ones at home, get a data plan on your phone and use social media to keep in touch.

You will save yourself from all those pesky international calling costs. If you don’t have an unlocked phone, you may be able to find somewhere to have it unlocked or you can simply purchase a cheap non-smartphone with an international calling plan to use while traveling.

13. Avoid buying souvenirs

Souvenirs are great gifts, but have you ever purchased something while travelling and found that it was a pretty useless purchase? For example, a key chain that you don’t ever use, or a magnet that ends up cluttering your fridge.

Try to have fun on your vacation and take tons of photos to keep as your souvenirs. If you feel the need to pick up souvenirs, try to purchase something functional rather than decorative.

14. Travel safely

It may be challenging to spot scams, but they’re happening all the time. Stay alert and try to travel safely and smart. Think twice about offers before accepting them. There are scam artists out there that are preying on tourists in popular tourist areas.

If deals seem too good to be true, it’s probably the case. Be sure to keep your passport, money, credit cards, debits cards and all personal belongings safe.

These were just a couple of tips to help you travel without going broke, but there are many more tips out there. Don’t forget to take advantage of the internet and look into everything about your trip prior to booking it.

What are your favourite ways to save money while travelling?


  1. mpars

    We have started collecting Christmas ornaments as souvenirs. We can always fond something unique to go on the tree and the collection gets displayed once a year, for a short time, then gets put away so no clutter. It is also a great conversation starter with friends and family. We put the year and destination on each one and I love getting reminded of the memories, especially of sunny destinations when Canada is all cold and wintery!

  2. Poor Fat Chick

    My boyfriend and I always stay in hostels when travelling. You can get private rooms for less of the cost of hotel rooms. Yeah ok you may need to share a bathroom with the rest of the people staying there but we only need the place to sleep and shower anyway. We do research the place we are staying at and see what others have said about it. During our trip to Hollywood last year we stayed in a great little quiet hostel in a private room half a block from Chinese Theater and it only cost us about $40.00 a night.

    My advice is to also, if you are planning to go on tours in the area, is to book online and in advance. Many tour places have discounts if you book in advance and if they have more then one tour you want to go on you can usually get further discounts if you purchase them at the same time.

    Also ask the locals. No one knows the place you are visiting better than those who live there. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals or hotel staff for ideas on places to go/see/eat on the cheap. We have always done that and just by asking a few questions you can find some great places and really make a few friends along the way.

    But the biggest thing I ask people is to tell others what you have found. Stayed in a great cheap hotel/motel/hostel, give that place a review. Found a little cheap awesome diner/restaurant, write a review or blog about it (if you have a blog)… found something fun and cheap to do, again blog or write about it. If you tell others about it then people who research the area can also find cheap awesome places 🙂

  3. Rachel

    How can you forget how important it is to take advantage of loyalty airline points (aeroplan, skymiles etc) ? I get about every 5th flight free with Deltas plan. Since I fly to visit family at least twice a year, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to these bonuses.
    Buying flights as early as possible helps, also checking for flights out of other nearby airports instead of the most conveniently close one can mean big savings. I usually fly out of airports just on the USA side because it is so much cheaper, even after taking into account the extra travel costs to get there. With a larger family this could add up to thousands in savings.
    I saved thousands by booking a Disney cruise as far in advance as possible – you still don’t have to pay until 3 months before the cruise like everyone else, just reserve it a year ahead of time or more.
    I defray car rental costs with GCs earned via from the Airmile plan.

  4. Wendy

    I try to pick hotel rooms with a mini-fridge and microwave. My goal when travelling is to pick up healthy local food at a grocery store for breakfast and lunch and snacks, then eat out for dinner. A mini-fridge is great for dairy products and juice. It also means you can take any leftover food home from dinner and eat it for breakfast the next day!

  5. Wendy

    When travelling in a foreign city, there are always tour buses available. Sometimes these are great, with step on, step off type stops and a bus ticket that lasts the whole day. Other times the trips are pricey, and for the cost of a ticket on the local bus you may be able to see a great deal of the city, plus residential areas the tour bus might not go for a fraction of the price. Of course there will be no narrator, and it helps if you speak the language….

  6. howard

    Use free walking tours where available
    Check with other tourist for idea as well comments for shortcuts and deals
    ask for discount couples from hotels/hotels, or package deals
    Use B&B to save a meal cost and time too.
    use public transportation, stay close to train station, but not too close.
    check for free events
    Book on line can save you 5-10% or more.
    Take advantage of national or local promotions.
    check website for the 10must do in any location to maximize your time,
    Plan ahead, no more than 2 events a day, so you won’t tire yourself out. Plan the route to save time spent on traveling from one place to another.
    In Europe use the train as your overnight accommodation if you can sleep on a train. just be aware of your personal belongings.
    DON’T OVER DO IT, give yourself another excuse to a revisit next time.

    • howard

      In addition ask locals not busboys for recommendation, ask where locals eat, ask where taxi-driver go eat themselves. you will save at least 50% go to where locals go.

  7. Beckie

    I’d add being flexible with your travel dates. Sometimes its a matter of leaving two days earlier or later that could save lots of dollars on your airline tickets.

    If your comfortable and flexible enough to be a little creative with your destinations you can save money as well… I’m researching a trip to Paris in the next year or so, on flights I found when headed to Europe the direct flight from Calgary to London plus a train ride to Paris is way way cheaper than a flight to Paris. So I’m going to go that route and see a little of England as well 🙂

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