6 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Planning a vacation is an exciting time to look forward to a new experience. Whether you are traveling by airplane or car, a vacation can be customized to fit any budget. For some people, the financial aspect of traveling can be stressful. We’ve put together tips to help ease that burden by traveling on a budget.  

Money Saving Travel Tips 

1. Tips for booking airfare  

  • If you’re flying, set up price alerts through sites such as Google Flights and  SkyScanner to get notifications when airfare prices increase or decrease to help you book at the right time.  
  • If you have the advantage of multiple airports nearby your arrival or departure destination, research flights from each to compare pricing. Larger airports tend to have lower prices.  
  • When selecting your flight dates, flight schedules show different prices depending on the day of the week. If you’re flexible on time and days and can fly mid-week or overnight instead of popular days such as Friday and Sunday and early mornings, you can often find better deals.  
  • Small fees add up. Pay attention to additional airline fees such as selecting your seat and checking a bag. Some airlines charge to pick a seat selection. If you‘re comfortable in any seat, skip this step. If a checked bag is an additional fee to your ticket, consider taking a carry on for free instead of purchasing a checked bag. 

If you’re traveling as a whole family and have the luxury of a few extra days to drive, a road trip vacation may be more cost effective.

2. Travel during off-season 

If you have the flexibility to choose when you travel, avoid peak travel seasons such as spring break and holidays. Not only will you save money on airfare and lodging, but there’s a good chance your destination will also be less busy.  

3. Consider alternative lodging options 

Depending on where you’re traveling to, instead of staying at a hotel or resort, consider alternative, safe lodging options such as AirBnB, VRBO and Bed & Breakfasts. These vacation rentals can often give you more ‘bang for your buck’ by reserving a whole apartment or house for a great price. Some Bed & Breakfasts may include a meal with your stay as well.

4. Use membership discounts for car rentals 

If you need a car to get around, compare prices through different car rental companies.  

  • If you’re a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member, you receive discounts on car rentals through Avis and Budget with your member benefits.  
  • If you’re a member of a wholesale company such as Costco, take advantage of membership discounts including car rentals from a variety of companies.  

5. Cut back on dining out  

Part of the fun of taking a vacation and traveling to new destinations is trying different, local foods and taking a break from cooking. However, eating every meal out can really take a hit on your budget, especially when traveling with a whole family. If you have access to a local grocery store, stock up on snacks, beverages, and pick a meal or two to eat in such as breakfast and lunch. Plus, it’s fun to find different, unique foods at a local market. 

Alternatively, plan your daily schedule to combine meals. If you eat a late breakfast, you may be able to combine a late lunch/early dinner into one meal.

6. Research free things to do 

  • Look for places to hike such as National Parks and State Parks that you can buy a day pass.
  • Often times museums are free or have free days of the week. Also, look for things to see that you can tour yourself.
  • Walk when you can, rent a bicycle or take public transportation. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll get to experience a different viewpoint of your destination and see things you may have missed by car.  
  • Talk to locals at the destination and get their recommendations for things to see that are less touristy and often less expensive.  

Putting in a little extra time to do research up front while trip planning can help you stick to your budget. It’s also important to protect your identity while traveling. Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent to learn more about digital defense tools to protect your personal information.