9 easy tips for traveling on a tight budget

Think you have to have a lot of money to travel? Think again. Just follow these simple tips to enjoy a vacation anytime, anywhere.

When you ask someone what they wish they could do more, the popular answer is “travel.” And when you ask them why they don’t, the automatic response is “money.” But travelling doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you use Skyscanner. Whether you’re a college student looking for a summer abroad or ready to cash in those vacation days without breaking the bank, follow these tips to get the most out of your vacation – and your dollar.

1. Plan ahead

Everything gets more expensive the longer you wait – airplane tickets, hotel reservations, not to mention all the early bird deals you miss out on for cruises and other travel packages. So plot out your destinations early and start scouting the deals now. Using our Best Time to Book tool can help you get really specific on when to travel for less.

Check flight prices now

2. Travel off-peak

Whether you’re buying trans-continental plane tickets or booking seats on a train for a weekend getaway, sticking to off-peak times can seriously cut cost. If you can, try planning your trip during an off-peak season to save big. Peak times can vary depending on your destination, but typically major holidays and spring and summer breaks are good times to avoid.

3. Ditch the checked bag

Some airlines charge extra when you check a bag. Either stick to the ones that allow passengers their first checked bag free, or leave the bulky suitcase at home. If you’re planning on visiting a few different locations, this will be easier in the long run, as large luggage can be cumbersome.

Find out more: 6 ways to avoid paying airline baggage fees

4. Choose a hotel alternative

Sure, the little bars of soap and fresh white sheets are nice, but the luxury can pack on hundreds of extra dollars depending on where you stay. There are a variety of other options available to travelers, ranging from hostels to services like airbnb.com, which allows travelers to rent rooms or apartments from locals, and couchsurfing.com, where you can find a spare couch or bed to crash on in each city you visit. And don’t forget you can find cheap hotels anywhere in the world on Skyscanner.

5. Avoid dining out

Beachside restaurants are great, but can easily add an extra $50, $100 to a night out (especially if you’re treating your family.) Instead, stock up on groceries and cook a nice meal you can bring to the beach. Breakfast, especially, is easy to make wherever you’re staying (in some establishments it’s complimentary.) For lunch, toss a sandwich in your bag. Not only will it save money, but you won’t have to derail your day by stopping at a café.

6. Skip the souvenirs

Shot glasses and t-shirts are cute and fun, but they add tons of unnecessary costs (not to mention weight to your suitcase). If you want to remember a location, snap a picture with your phone. And if you want to bring something back for friends and family, try something simple and quirky, like a coaster from a bar or a shell off a beach – only at the places that allow you to take, of course.

7. See what’s free

Every place has its “must-see” locations – and often they come with a price tag. Pick one or two must-see spots, then fill the rest of your days with free alternatives. Often, parks are a great place to enjoy the scenery and maybe even catch a free show. Before you leave for your trip, research the local museums as well – some of them offer free or discounted days.

8. Check out the discounts

Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer great deals that range from tours to spa days to great discounts on merchandise. If you are planning to hit a hot destination during your stay, be sure to browse some discount sites first to see how you might be able to save.


Like food, drinks can seriously pad your nightly bill. If you’re planning for a couple nights on the town during your trip, opt for buying yourself a nice bottle of wine or whiskey over a bunch of expensive drinks at a bar. If you want to experience the pub scene, stick to pints, as they’re often the cheapest alternative, or see if the bar has a nightly drink special.


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