How to Save Money Traveling

How to save money while traveling | Luxuriously Thrifty
There are countless ways to budget travel. You can eat the bare minimum, only stocking granola bars or shoddy sandwiches in your pack while you check out the sites. You can stay in crummy hostels, sharing a room with 8 other people, being afraid of leaving your things out in the open. You can pack only two pairs of pants for a 3-week vacation, making sure you can carry on your one backpack instead of pay for checked suitcases.  You can take the cheapest airlines that may not have many amenities on-board, including checked baggage, just to save a buck or two. These are the normal ways to save money while traveling and I hate all of them. 
Of course, I’ve done and do a lot of these things. I usually have snacks on me and I love carrying my own water so I don’t have to purchase a plastic bottle. I’ve stayed in hostels, but always in private rooms (and there are places you can lock your valuables when you’re in shared accommodations, of course). I’ve once taken that cheap airfare, thinking I’d save some money (it was also one of the only flights available); instead, I had to pay $400CDN in EXTRA BAGGAGE FEES. It was the end of a long trip so I really didn’t care what it cost to get home, but that’s ludicrous. And, definitely not worth it. There are way better options for saving money while traveling that doesn’t cost you your dignity. 

Booking Sites

Booking sites tend to have a bad name; thoughts of bad experiences or shady deals and scams come to mind almost immediately. But, when you research your sites and read reviews, you can feel safe booking with them. I have three favourites that I’ve used over the years: and for my accommodations and *

Because I like to live that champagne lifestyle, but on a beer budget. I mean, it’s a craft beer budget, so it’s nothing to laugh at, but it’s still a beer budget.

how to save money traveling so you can have a view like this without breaking the bank | Luxuriously Thrifty

I’ve found so many great hotels on those two websites and I love, love, love it. We booked nearly all of our accommodations in Morocco and Spain through those two websites, making it possible for us to stay in some pretty nice accommodations. Let me tell ya, Ronda is amazing to see, but the hotels are NOT cheap. We got ours with this amazing view FROM ONE OF OUR 4 BALCONIES for a really good deal. We got upgraded for our honeymoon for free and some cava sent to our room, but the room we had previous still looked beyond gorgeous online. For anyone salivating at those morning views, we stayed at Catalonia Hotel.

Pro tip: Sometimes, you can get the hotel cheaper by going through the actual hotel. This doesn’t happen often, but there can be special deals that are better than the booking sites. I always like to check out the actual hotel website before booking on any of the above websites, just in case AND to see a little bit more about the hotel.

Book Before you Think

Here’s the thing when finding that must-have deal. You have to book it without thinking about it. Just snap up the deal before you register what you’re doing.

Guys, I got two amazing deals this year: $600 to Paris and $700(ish) to Australia. Australia! That price isn’t heard-of. I’ll have to spend a few extra hundred getting to Vancouver, but that still puts me well under the cheap price we were HOPING to get ($1,500). Both flight deals were forwarded to me from a friend and I jumped on them immediately, not even thinking about specific dates and planning things out. Because, $700 to Australia, people.

Okay, that one I did think out a little more. As in, I researched what plane and what airline we would be taking and conversed with someone who had traveled to Australia a lot. I love a good deal, but I wanted to make sure it was legit and wouldn’t be some extra budget bullshit flight. No one wants to be on a budget flight for 11 – 14 hours. Grab the deal, but make sure it’s a legitimate website, source, and actually worth it.

Sign up for all of those annoying e-mails that come to your inbox (hi! You can sign up for mine. They’re just blog posts with a newsletter coming soon, so that’s fun, right? right?) and, most importantly, actually open them. You never know when you’ll get a sweet deal that will take you places you’ll never forget.

worried about the environment when traveling?
check out my tips here:

Budget and Earth-Friendly Packing Guide
Sustainable Travel
5 Things you can do to Lower your Carbon Footprint While Traveling

Stay in Apartments

Sure, staying in a cushy hotel is great. In fact, I recommend staying in a nice hotel (if you can afford it) for, at least, one or two nights on a trip. It’ll make you feel like a rich bitch and will allow you to experience another part of travel: luxury.

But, apartments are even better. You get to feel like you’re coming home to your very own *insert city* apartment and that’s a really, really cool feeling. Plus, they’re – usually – cheaper than hotels, better than hostels, and you can cook your own food. I gush about renting apartments abroad nearly every time I write a blog post about traveling, but there can be some drawbacks. Read my cons of renting an apartment here.

While you can sometimes find apartment listings on, my two favourite websites are airbnb (duh) and housetrip. I actually never used airbnb until just recently, always sticking with housetrip. I hate waiting for approval from the apartment owners as I get way too excited about the apartment and have already envisioned my days staying there, so I always pick the option of immediate booking when using airbnb.

Open up your Mind

Just like staying in an apartment, rather than a hotel, opens up a whole new world of traveling, checking out other options does the same. For our honeymoon, my husband and I ended up booking a hostAl in Spain. The capitalized ‘A’ isn’t a typo. This place is not quite a hostel, not quite a hotel, and is much nicer than a motel. We booked an ultra-cheap room in an ultra-hip neighbourhood and decided to shrug and see what it would be like.

We had been staying in absolutely amazingly breathtaking places in Morocco and fancier-than-thou places in Gibraltar and Ronda, so taking a chance on this hostal business was nerve-racking. Especially because it was our honeymoon. Everything felt like it needed to be a little better than any other trip we would go on. We splurged a little lot on the trip, so spending so little on something we hadn’t heard of felt a little iffy.

But, we read the reviews, felt okay, and were pleasantly surprised when we arrived! It was nicer than hotels I’ve stayed in in North America. Yes, it didn’t come with all kinds of bells and whistles, but we didn’t need it. Keep an open mind on your trip and you’ll be sure to be happily surprised. At least most of the time.

how to save money while traveling | Luxuriously Thrifty

Shy Away from the Tourist Traps

The best way to save money on a trip? Don’t spend any!

Tourist traps are called traps for a reason. Most tourists are ready to spend money, more than they would at home, just to gain that must-have experience. And, it is usually worth it. Usually. Sometimes, tourist attractions will let you down. If you’re really on a budget, you can easily skip a bunch of the attractions, only going to the ones you REALLY want to see, and still have a great time.

Look for free things to do in the city, look for discounted days of the week to visit museums and look for deals. Simply wandering around a city and stopping in a cafe or restaurant is often better than paying to see costly attractions. And, remember, you don’t HAVE to see a tourist attraction if you really don’t want to. Just because someone said to see the Prado Museum doesn’t mean you’ll love it. I made this mistake and wish I hadn’t stood in line and paid to gain entry. Not my cup of tea and I could’ve been checking out Reina Sofia for much longer, instead. Which IS my cup of tea.

Getting the feel of the place is a worthwhile experience, and part of a good trip. So, if you’re feeling low on cash, just wander, taking in the sights and the beat of the city streets.

And, the best way to save money while traveling? Stay local and be a tourist in your own city or province/state!

One thought on “How to Save Money Traveling

  1. Great post. I have presented “Unknown” Helsinki. No tourist guides, just You exploring.

    Unknown Helsinki 1

    Unknown Helsinki 2

    Happy and safe travels!

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