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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Frugal Traveler's Guide to Travel on a Budget

With everyone counting down the days to the Summer Holidays, it's time to start thinking about how to make the most of this time of year. For many families travelling is a favourite activity, but it can add up fast. So I spoke to one of my favourite (and most well- travelled!) gal pals about how she and her husband travel on a budget. A big thanks to Christina Neufeld for contributing this post!

A Frugal Traveller's Guide
By Christina Neufeld
If you’re anything like me you’re either on vacation or dreaming of your next getaway.  Many of us share the desire to travel more often but think we can’t afford it. This is exactly what I thought until I realized that the best way to travel more is to travel cheaper. Cheaper doesn’t have to mean that you sacrifice on the experience though! Here are my top tips to help you plan your next trip on a budget:

Book in Advance
It’s been said many times, but the earlier you book the more chance you have of saving money. Many companies offer early bird discounts and when there are different price points it’s usually the cheapest tickets that go first. It’s true that there can be great last minute discounts if you are flexible on your travel dates and destination, but if you have specific dates and a location in mind it’s best to book as early as you can.

Explore Alternative Types of Accommodation
One of our favourite Air BnBs in Untermammergau, Germany
In general, the more flexible you are, the more potential for saving money on your trip. This is especially true for accommodations as there are a variety of budget options available. Here are my suggestions for alternative accommodations.

Our favourite hostel in Feidkirch, Austria

   Air BnB - This is my personal favorite because you can find an apartment/house rental to fit any budget, even for one night. I have stayed in some beautiful apartments for a steal! This is also a great option for families because you can rent a unit with lots of space and a full kitchen. Always be sure to read the reviews before you book.

      Hostels  - In some countries these are mainly for young backpackers but in other places elderly travelers and families are quite common.

   Staying just outside of the normal Tourist/ Downtown Area – You can use public transit to get downtown and save a bundle.

   Guesthouse/ Inn  - In Europe these are common and include more basic accommodations at a discount.

Our beautiful hostel in Feldkirch, Austria

Hotwire/ Priceline  - Name your price and submit your bid.

Look for Inexpensive and Free Activities
Park Guell is a beautiful- and free!- place to visit in
Barcelona, Spain
The main draw for many destinations is the attractions it has to offer and these often come at a high price. Of course you don’t want to miss out on major attractions but you can factor in some savings as well with these options:

   Pay What You Want Tours - Most large cities offer these tours which are usually very well done and give you the flexibility to pay what you think it’s worth.

   Free Museum Days/ Discount Days - Sometimes these discounts apply only to residents of the area, so read carefully.

  Groupon/ Living Social/ Other Daily Deals - It can pay off to sign up a few weeks before and watch the deals, but be sure to read the fine print to make sure you will be able to use it on your trip.

  Parks and Natural Attractions - Often free or very affordable.

Eat Cheaper
Paella is delicious & common in Spain
Some destinations are more expensive than others, but no matter where you go eating out for 3 meals a day can add up quick! My husband and I are both foodies and love eating delicious meals when we travel. You too can enjoy fresh and tasty meals at a budget price using these tips:

           Street Markets – These are great for finding freshly prepared foods which you can then take away to a nearby park for a picnic. Picnics are my favorite way of saving money when travelling. Not only are they affordable but you can sprawl out on the grass to rest your tired feet and people watch. If you don’t have a market nearby try the grocery store for your picnic supplies.

Delicious Paella is common in Spain

Street Food/ Vendors - Most cities/ countries have their own type of cheap street food which is readily                      available and particular to that region and usually very delicious.

Specials – In some places such as Spain you can take advantage of multi- course meals for a low price. These specials are usually posted on a chalkboard or you can ask your server. If you can eat a large lunch in the mid-afternoon you may not need to spend as much on dinner.

Eat Where the Locals Do – Don’t be afraid to step away from restaurant chains and try some of the
local cuisine. It’s usually much more affordable and tastier than the tourist filled chains. Just be careful
that you choose clean and reputable establishments as standards vary by country.

Cook Your Own – Having a kitchen available to use can be a great way to save money.

Overall the best way to save money is to plan out your budget before you travel, make sure it’s reasonable, and then stick to it. Once you know how much you have to spend you can splurge on what matters to you and cut back in other areas that are less important. Plan in advance so that once you’re on vacation you can enjoy it without having to worry about the cost.


Christina Neufeld is a lover of all things travel. She was bitten by the travel bug at a young age and has made it her goal to see as much of the world as possible. So far she has visited 22 countries and lived in 3. She currently lives in BC with her husband Chad. You can follow along with her adventures at www.travelwhereyouare.com where she shares travel tips and advice. Christina also loves travel planning and can help you plan your next trip at www.merakiitineraries.com

Title Image Source: Here And There
Photos courtesy of Christina Neufeld

May posts sponsored by Noah's Ark Hypnotherapy