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Travel on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Money While Traveling This Summer

By: iTHINK Financial | Jul 13, 2018

How to Cut Your Travel Expenses and Still Have the Trip of a Lifetime

While traveling and vacationing may not fall under one of your biggest expenses, it certainly might rank as one of the most important expenses. It’s the time of the year where you can leave work behind, kick up your feet and relax at your favorite destination or explore somewhere new. 

Whether you’re visiting family in California or discovering a new country, you want to have the trip of a lifetime without going too far over budget. Keep reading to see how you can do just that. 

How to Save on Flights  

First stops first—you have to get to your destination. Here’s how to save on pricey airfare. 

Flight Search Tools 

Websites like Skyscanner and tools like Google Flights employ aggregators to find the cheapest airfares across the web. The search engines pore through airline websites like Delta and Southwest and travel company websites like Expedia and Travelocity to give you the best price out on the market. 

Fly During the Week 

With the majority of Americans working 9-to-5 jobs, airports tend to get flooded on the weekends for short trips or visits. With the popularity of flights on the weekends, ticket prices spike on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If you have flexible travel dates, book your departure or return—or ideally both—on a weekday. 

Travel During the Off Season 

While traveling during the rainy season or in the heat of summer may not be your top pick, you’ll certainly find cheaper flights during these seasons. Research the off season for your destination and check out tickets during this timeframe. 

Bring Only What You Need 

You may be tempted to pack a few outfit or shoe options, but minimal packing will save that extra charge for checking in a bag. Try planning your trip day by day and bring the exact amount of clothes you’ll need. 

How to Save on Accommodations 

After you’ve booked your flight, the next step is finding budget-friendly yet comfortable accommodations. 


A spin on Airbnb, websites like TrustedHousesitters or HouseSitter offer the opportunity to stay in someone’s house for free or cash in exchange for housesitting services. With TrustedHousesitters, you pay a one-time membership fee to watch people’s houses at no charge, and with HouseSitter, you receive a fixed daily rate payment for your services. 


Couchsurfing brings together a community of like-minded travelers all with one goal: traveling on a budget. With this website, you can request to stay in a local’s home for free with the hopes that one day you’ll host a Couchsurfer in your hometown in exchange. 


Hostels offer less privacy but cheaper rates with a dorm-room style set up—think a ton of bunk beds in one room. You could room with anywhere from 4 to 15 people, but on the plus side, tons of hostels give free or cheap tours, group excursions and meals.

How to Save on Food

While you might be dreaming of a slice of pizza in New York or a crepe in France, here’s how to save on meals while still savoring your destination’s cuisine. 

Book Accommodations with a Kitchen

Realistically, you don’t need to eat out for every meal while traveling. Three meals a day adds up quickly and with less purchased meals, you can really research and narrow down what you want to eat and where you want to go for a memorable meal.  

Eat out for Lunch and Not Dinner 

If you book accommodations with a kitchen, and you’re deciding between eating out for lunch or dinner, choose lunch. Options and plates for lunch tend to be cheaper—plus, you can take leftovers back to where you’re staying.  

Take Food To Go 

Bouncing off the last tip, if you take food your leftovers to go from lunch or even dinner, you’ll have a free meal waiting for you that night or the next day. 

So, are you ready to spend less and still experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip? Well, pack your bags because you’re ready to go on your next budget-friendly trip. 

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