Life isn’t always glamorous, and neither is being able to afford travel. Sacrifices have to be made. In a perfect world, we could all receive paid sponsorships and free airfare tickets to Europe. But that just isn’t realistic for us nine to fivers. I get a lot of questions on how to make travel affordable. So here are my 6 unglamorous secrets to affording travel.

Go in the Offseason

I cannot stress enough that this is the main reason I can afford to travel. Traveling in the offseason can save you hundreds of dollars. I usually see prices slashed in half in the offseason, so always check those prices during the more ‘undesirable season’, and see if you are willing to compromise. It may not be glamorous to travel in the winter, but your bank account will thank you.

Top reasons for traveling in the offseason

Go to Unpopular Destinations

This is another unglamorous but realistic way to be able to afford travel. Sure, this may mean that Paris and Santorini are totally off the table, but you’d be surprised at how many great less-traveled cities there are out there. Eastern Europe is a great option if you’re looking to travel somewhere unpopular and less costly, but still want the experience of those cobblestone streets and old world charm.

Get a Miles Card

All hail the almighty miles credit card! This is such a great way to make travel affordable for yourself. I admit it’s a little unglamorous and no one likes to talk about credit cards, but realistically, it’s nice to have a little help. Also, don’t forget that at sign up you are usually awarded bonus miles that can range from 10,000 – 40,000 miles. If you don’t have a credit card that gets you cash back or miles for travel, then looking into it is a great option.

Don’t be Picky

For me, traveling and affording to stay in luxury hotels is off the table. It’s just not happening. Definitely be realistic with yourself and try not to be too picky. Do you really need to stay in a five-star hotel like your favorite blogger? Ask yourself how important that is to you. It might not be super glamorous to stay in hostels and Airbnb’s, but no one has to know, and it’s a great way to afford travel.

Go With a Budget Airline

Budget airlines can definitely be a double edge sword, so do use some caution with this tactic. The best use of them to save money is knowing the right situation to use them in. I rarely use budget airlines anymore to get to Europe, but it’s a great option if I want to visit a destination that is more expensive and very touristy, and a great use for country hopping in Europe.

Here is a list of my favorite budget airlines!

Skip a Meal

Okay, please don’t starve yourself. But skipping a meal here and there is a fantastic way to travel the world on a budget! Eating in airports can be super expensive, and so is eating out three times a day. I try to either skip breakfast or lunch. If I skip breakfast, I usually just grab an apple and wait until lunch to fill up. Or, I will eat a big breakfast and snack on something light for lunch.

How has affording travel been unglamorous for you, and what are your plans for affording your next big trip?

33 Comments

  1. I wish I could travel off season. With kids is not possible. at least in our case with no family leaving close by. If you ever run into a good deal during high season please share.

    Reply
    1. I will definitely let you know! I also might whip up a post about traveling with kids. I’ve gotten some good information from parents recently about how difficult it can be. 🙂

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  2. Great tips! My family and I try to travel every other month and it certainly gets expensive. I would add that renting a hotel or apartment with a functioning kitchen and getting groceries to have breakfast and lunch at the hotel instead of going out to the list of ways to save money.

    Carly at A Modern Mom Blog

    Reply
    1. I totally agree! That’s one of the reasons I love using Airbnb. I love being able to eat breakfast at home while I’m traveling. You can save so much money!

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  3. I totally agree with getting a credit card that is partnered with a certain airlines. Miles can literally go miles! I would usually pack foods whenever I go on a trip – my go to would be canned Paella which is a life saver abroad. 1 because it has rice (which most western country don’t) 2 because it saves me a lot of money on a meal. Besides, bringing canned fish overseas are pretty much allowed in most countries. 😀

    Reply
    1. Haha I’ve never heard of someone taking canned Paella with them! That’s kind of genius! That would totally work for saving money on meals. 🙂

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  4. We’re totally addicted to AirBnb now. It has completely changed the game for us! And honestly, some of the places we’ve discovered have been even better than hotels! We also try to plan ahead for meals (especially at the airport!). If we can, we’ll try to hit a grocery store to have some snacks/small meals available to help us eat out less. We literally brought over 50 bars to Italy with us! It saves tons of money!
    Love these tips!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    Reply
  5. Great list of ways to afford travel! i agree with going off season, earlier this year I went to Costa Rica during their off season and I saved on flights and booking at a nice resort. The resort was offering a discount because it was off season and when I arrived I pretty much had the whole place to myself =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    Reply
  6. YES YES YES to everything listed here! I think an advantage of traveling offseason for someone who isn’t in school anymore is that less people take those days off at work compared to the holidays – so not only will you save money on fares and what not, you’ll easily get the days off too!

    cabin twenty-four

    Reply
  7. These are really great tips. I actually only eat two meals a day when traveling.
    I book a hotel with breakfast included – have a big breakfast and a bigger meal at about 4/5pm and that is more than enough.
    Unfortunately that is to save money because I am picky about where I stay.
    However I do like to go to small interesting places so that helps too.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

    Reply
    1. Yes! I do the exact same thing. I love just eating a quick breakfast at the hotel. Now that I am getting older, I am a little more pickier with where I stay. But still more picky about flights! Haha.

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  8. I’ll be honest, our travel plans have definitely slowed down and that’s mostly due to our finances. I try to fly during quieter times anyway but I’ve never really sat down to research those less popular places that would still make for a great adventure!

    Musings & More

    Reply
    1. I hear ya! It can definitely be tough, even with all these tips. Sometimes it seems like there are no discounts in sight.

      Author Reply
  9. We definitely rely a lot on our credit card points which is awesome! Doing a bit of research and figuring out the best plans out there helps. Expedia points have come in handy as well!!

    Minimizing the use of taxis and instead relying on walking and/or public transportation is another great way to not only save money but also see the city from a different perspective!

    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    Reply
    1. I totally agree! I will literally walk anywhere and everywhere to save money. It’s also part of the adventure and you can discover so many neat things that way!

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  10. Yes to getting that credit card that gives you reward miles!! Seriously that alone has probably made the biggest difference in our travel spendings, helping us save costs on flights and hotels so we can splurge on a nice meal or some shopping 😛 Also, if we can’t use our points for hotel, we try to go with Airbnb, it’s usually much cheaper than comparable hotels and I feel more like a local when I stay in one!

    Jenny | Geeky Posh

    Reply
    1. I totally agree! It’s usually much cheaper, and you get more space/amenities for your money. Airline cards are a great way to also get discounts on hotels for sure.

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  11. My fiancé and I swear by airbnb. It saves us money (compared to those name brand hotels) and it feels way more comfortable too! Maybe that’s because we are actually homebodies who happen to like traveling here and there haha. We might not skip entire meals but we will share at restaurants if the serving sizes look big! That makes quite a difference!

    Kim
    simplylovebirds.com

    Reply
    1. It really does. There are only a few cities that are expensive to the point where a hotel is the same exact price. But even when you think about what you’re getting with an Airbnb (all that space, kitchen, etc), I still prefer it for my money.

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  12. I never dream of going to places during peak season. I prefer not to mainly because I hate crowds and people hahahaha! Seriously who wants to have to line up for hours on end or visit landmarks with countless photobombers invading your space (and you doing the same to others no less!)

    BTW I am loving this new layout! You did change it right? LOL man it is has been a while since I’ve been here (and to be fair I’ve had a long-ass day and it’s been super hot on top of that. Plus my car’s air-con shit itself and blows hot air now. Boo. I’m a hot mess). So sorry babe. I’ve missed you and your amazing photographic style and eye.

    Sxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

    Reply
    1. Aw thank you Sonia! Yes, I did change it! It was just time for a change. I was feeling so uninspired and cluttered with the old one. And I totally agree, I hate the large crowds that the summers bring.

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