8.28.2012

make it happen - traveling on a budget.

Last week I announced that we're going to Greece next may. After a lot of planning and saving h and I have decided that 2013 will be the year of travel

We are planning on going on two major international trips and a domestic trip out to Portland. Before you ask... no. i didn't win the lottery. Three trips is a lot BUT we take quite a few steps to ensure we can afford to travel:

1. save. Seems obvious right?! setting up a savings account and automatically transferring money to that account every month takes the guess work out and if you're like me, you won't spend money you don't "see." Don't think you have the money to set aside? Reassess all of your extra spending --starbucks, restaurant lunches, manicures, taxis... everything adds up! If you want to make traveling a priority you might have to cut down on other excess spending to make it happen.

2. travel off-season. We're visiting Greece in may which is considered off-season and airfare is considerably lower ($400-500 more/person) than summer months. For us this works out perfectly - it'll be mid 70's, perfect for walking around and while it might be too cold to get into the water I can still lay on the beach.

3. avoid eating at a restaurant for every meal - Visit a bakery and local grocery store and go on a picnic instead. This will save you money (and it might be good to take a break from heavy restaurant food every day!) also remember to pack snacks!

4. embrace public transportation - especially to/from the airport. A cab ride from most airports to downtown can be pretty pricey. prior to your trip do a little research and see if there is a train, shuttle or bus that will take you into the city. In Barcelona we took a motor coach city bus (Aerobus) into downtown ($10/person) - in Istanbul we took the metro (it was only $3/person!) - in Paris we hopped on the metro ($14.50/person). You will save a considerable amount of money taking public transportation and I usually feel safer on a train or a bus than I do in a cab in a foreign country (I blame that on too many action movies).

5. hotel vs. hostel. We never spend more than $150/night on a hotel or a hostel. For some people hotels are a REALLY important part of the experience, but for us it's just somewhere to sleep. We don't spend a lot of time in our room, so it doesn't seem to make sense to spend a lot of money on it. Consider a hostel when you travel too. We've stayed in quite a few nice hostels and some of them even include a light breakfast (free bread and cheese?! yes, please). We did have a rough hostel in Istanbul but we were wayyy under our budget on that one and should have paid a little more. With a hotel or hostel do your research and don't be shy about asking for photos of your room if they aren't available online. 

6. save the dream trips for when you can afford them. h and I would love to go to Australia or Tahiti but it's just not in the budget. The flights alone are ridiculously expensive. bummer but not the end of the world. We'll visit someday and there are plenty of places we can explore now without breaking the bank.

psst: in case you missed it, even more thrifty travel tips

Do you have any budget travel tips?!

xo, 
Jillian

24 comments:

  1. Some great tips there! i agree, saving is defintely a key factor here...no need to constantly eat out in restaurants...think of all the money you can save and put towards a lovely holiday!

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  2. I LOVE your picnic idea! Plus very romantic.

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  3. Love that you guys have dubbed 2013 the year of travel! Greece is going to be amazing, and I love all your tips for travelling on a budget. Any ideas where you'll be heading for the 2nd international trip yet?? :)

    xxx
    Jenna

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  4. yes! love this post. i agree with all your tips, especially the hotel/hostel. i've done my fair share of international travel and one of the things i do not splurge on is the hotel. i'm just never there and i'd rather spend that money on food, excursions, or on a flight. i think i just need to save more and then i'll be able to take that trip to peru next year! fingers crossed xoxo

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  5. these are great tips!! travelling off season is definitely the best way to cut down on expenses. and i like the idea of shopping locally for food vs. going out to restaurants! xo

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  6. These are such great tips. Seriously- so true about saving and not eating out. Bed and breakfasts were also a great money saver for me in England.

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  7. i am saving this with my husband. he thinks we can't afford a trip (or he said he would rather pay more on the mortgage, my student loans, or my car) but i think we can if we save consciously. great tips!

    http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

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  8. Such true tips Jillian...AirBnB is a great money-saver too if you want to save on accommodations and food really since you can cook at home some nights.

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  9. I agree, we always do a picnic lunch when traveling and if you can do off season it's cheaper and it seems like locals are so much happier to see tourists!

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  10. How awesome that you have made travel a priority & you're willing to save to make it happen!

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  11. amazing tips! i love your hotel theory as well, the room should just be a place to sleep! :)

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  12. Great post! let me add on a bit based on my travels

    1. Take into account the exchange rate and pay off your hotels and flights before you go so you know your spending money. Dont worry about souvenirs- people just throw them away. Bring back pictures and stories!

    2. travel off season- SO TRUE! I went to greece in late april and the weather was great. We were in rome by May 1 and you really notice the difference starting in May. By the summer it is even worse!

    3. Eat lunch at restaurants and grab food at the super market or on the street for dinner. Lunch menus are usually cheaper and u can still get the full experience

    4. Public Transit is key. a lot is in english and people are always willing to help!

    5. Hostels are great and there are many websites with reviews. You can often book private rooms with private bathrooms for super cheap

    6. Make any trip your dream trip!!

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  13. These are great tips! So jealous of your travel plans. We also need to start setting aside money to do this! :)

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  14. We always use public transportation, including using the bus to go to Mikenes and Nafplio when we were in Athens. We use trains, buses, metros, etc. Airbnb is a great site for finding affordable but comfortable places to stay, but we did splurge a little in Athens. We were there right when the conflict in Libya began, and there were some safety concerns for Americans. On the advice of some friends who lived there (Americans living in Larissa) we booked a higher end hotel (but got a GREAT deal on it because of the lower travel and it was March) and it was one block outside of Plaka, across the street from the Temple of Zeus, had tourist police outside, and had the best breakfast EVER which filled us up for the first half of our day. And we're hard travelers! I stalk Travelzoo and Dealchecker for sales and we nearly always try to travel in the shoulder season.
    We also found the food in Greece extremely cheap- and there is (or was, 1.5 years ago?) a law limiting the cost of water, so that sure was nice.

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  15. Such solid advice! If you're lucky enough to have generous friends, international travel can be a little less expensive, or at least better informed!

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  16. Every tip is just perfect! I can happily say that I follow all of these...well, except for one very important one... the saving! eek! this is a tough one for me...totally guilty of the daily (sometime twice) Starbucks, the manicures (that only last a week anyways), etc...Dan can save like no other, but my bad habits often get in the way ;) You have just inspired me to challenge myself to save! I have 2 big things to save for, one being our next big trip! Thanks, Jillian :) XO brynn

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  17. These tips are perfect! And something I really need to keep handy. Even if there isn't a trip planned these saving money tips are a must!

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  18. Great tips! I went to Greece in May a few years ago, and the only time being there off-season was a problem was when we wanted to go to Shipwreck Cove on Zakynthos and the boats there weren't running yet (we missed it by a couple of weeks). But we still got to visit another amazing beach on the island (and it definitely wasn't too cold to swim)! I would still visit the Parthenon in the afternoon though — even off-season it was super busy in the morning, mostly with cruise tours. But the crowds cleared by afternoon. Feel free to email me if you need any recs! hello[at]elembee[dot]com

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  19. fabuloussss tips! always needed when traveling abroad. You're going to LOVE Greece!!! xo

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  20. Great tips! We redid our bathroom this year, taking out our travel budget. I'm looking forward to getting back into saving for our next big trip!

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  21. Loved your tips! You can take such easy steps to a trip of your dreams, even overseas can be affordable if you do it right. Me and my husband have been using the sight hipmunk.com for our flights. It shows a ton of flight companies and lays it out in graphs and calendars so you can visually see your trip! It's my new favorite!

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  22. look into airbnb.com renting an apt is always less expensive than a hotel plus there's usually a kitchen so you can buy a few groceries and not have to eat every meal out!

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  23. Even more so look for opportunities to save by buying passes. For example, we were just in Paris and bought an unlimited week long Pass Navigo for the metro ending up saving us at least 30E a person. Also they had a fantastic Museum pass that let us get into most museums and attractions free and cut lines!

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mucho thanks for the blog love! xo