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Planning is the Budgeted Traveler's Best Friend

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Let’s confess: some of us have actually daydreamed about throwing a dart at a map and leaving then and there for the pinpointed destination. While this romantic dream seems ideal for those of us suffering with an incurable case of wanderlust, it doesn’t take into account our financial situations. Spontaneity may be healthy for our mental state but not necessarily for our wallets. For the sake of the thrifty traveler’s wallet, a well-planned trip could be the difference between taking a trip and staying home.

Here are a few money saving tips for the budgeted traveler.

When looking for airfare, it is so important to check your options. Be flexible with days and times, and if you live within a reasonable distance to more than one airport, check out the price difference! There are plenty of websites that can also be used as a tool for finding cheaper airfare. Try kayak.com or orbitz.com.

If your airline charges for checked bags and you’re traveling with someone else, consider sharing a suitcase in order to save on baggage fees.

Look into hotels and hostels. If you plan on being out all day and exploring, using the room solely for sleeping, consider looking for something that is reviewed as clean and safe. After all, you are just looking for a place to hang your hat. Websites like hostelbookers.com and hostelworld.com provide reviews that are really helpful. Also, if you plan on staying in a city, consider the distanced between where you will be staying from attractions you wish to visit. This will save you money cabbing and time walking.

Budget your spending money before you leave. Give yourself a limit and stick to it!

Make smart buying choices! Get souvenirs that are unique to the location! Do you really need a keychain for 10 Euro? Instead, put that towards a scarf from a French boutique that’s très chic! Or an excursion zip lining through the jungle!
If your packing situation allows it, bring a box of granola bars or snacks from home to cut down on food expenses.

And don’t forget your reusable water bottles!

Ask the front desk at your hotel or hostel about free walking tours or bus tour options! Also, try doing activities off the beaten path! Investing in a travel guide also makes exploring on your own a little easier.

Remember, trips don’t always have to be a plane ride away. Try day trips or take long weekends within driving distance!

Don’t be afraid to splurge on one or two things. Money shouldn’t get in the way of your dreams! But where you spend a little extra money on some things, cut back on others!

Happy (and inexpensive) travels!

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