5 Ways to Travel Affordably (and More Often!)

5 Ways to Travel Affordably (and More Often!)

The question I receive most often regarding my travels is, “how are you able to travel so often?!”. It’s certainly not because I have a sugar daddy or unlimited vacation days from work. For me, traveling often goes hand in hand with traveling affordably. The more money I save on one trip means more money saved up for the next. I was still able to plan vacations and weekend getaways when I was just a part-time nanny due to frugal travel practices. Needless to say, I also try to save money when I’m not traveling either; you’ll never find me buying things regular price. If you want to travel more often, here are my top 5 ways to travel affordably:


    How to Travel Affordably and More Often
  1. Lower your expectations. I have never traveled luxury status, and I’m totally ok with that! If you are strapped for cash, but want to travel more then having low expectations is a must. This might mean staying in a less-popular part of town, no provided room cleaning during your stay, or not being able to choose your airplane seats. This last note is a great way to save money – I never pay to choose my flight seat online. I would also like to point out that part of lowering your expectations may mean traveling just for a couple days. A relaxing vacation doesn’t have to be a few weeks long; sometimes all you need is a weekend to unwind.
  2. Stay at someone’s house or a cheaper hotel. Airbnb and Hotwire are my go-to websites when it comes to accommodations. I stayed in an Airbnb (private room) for $12/night USD in Bali, and a room in Madrid, Spain only cost me $23/night USD.
  3. Book ahead of time! Not only do Airbnb listings get booked up fast, but I’ve found that flights are cheapest months in advance. If possible, I would book your trip 6 months or more in advance to get the best prices. It’s also good for peace of mind when you get all your planning and booking squared away ahead of time.
  4. Constantly monitor flights. If you have a destination in mind, there are a few great tools to ensure you get the best flight prices. I’m subscribed to Scott’s Cheap Flights, which emails me whenever a fare sale or mistake fare occurs. I also use Google Flights and Hopper to notify me whenever flight prices go up or down. Hopper is great for letting you know whether now is a good or bad time to purchase.
  5. Travel lightly. Bring one carry-on and no checked in baggage. Not only does this save you money, but it’s also nice not to have to worry about lost luggage. Check the weather forecast and start narrowing down your outfits!

Want to travel Europe for cheap? I wrote an entire blog post on how I traveled to 5 countries in 19 days for only $2,110 (including spending money!).


Do you have any affordable travel tips that I’m missing? Let us know in the comments!


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Comments ( 54 )

  1. ReplySarah Camille
    I am about to start planning a trip, so your tips are great timing. I have done Airbnb but need to check out Hotwire now. :-) Cheers, Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I'm so glad I was able to provide some timely tips, Sarah! Where are you off to on your travels?
  2. ReplyAddy
    These are good tips I love traveling & want to see more of the world but concerned about flight & hotel cost! & I've never heard of Hopper, thanks for the suggestions!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks, Addy! If you're up for it - Airbnb is definitely a great alternative to expensive hotels.
  3. Replykaryld2016
    I can't do the no checked luggage cause I have too much with toiletries :) But that's also why I usually fly Southwest, and get a free bag. Sometimes I fly Allegiant to Vegas, and I refuse to pay the extra to choose my seats ahead of time. The flight isn't long enough for me to worry about that.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Haha I have had a lot of experience with Allegiant too! They don't even give you free water unfortunately. Love those airlines with free luggage check-in though. Thanks so much for your thoughts!
  4. ReplyAlison Steck
    Great tips! There are so many ways to travel at any price point!
  5. ReplyDenisse Salinas
    Great tips, we're going to Italy in a few months so I'll definitely check your Europe post for ways to save while there!
  6. ReplyLaci Jamison Carlson
    This is so awesome and OMG yes we just recently started using airbnb and I'm in love!!
  7. Replylisalatelyco
    Great tips - I'm going to look into the airfare subscriptions. I don't travel a lot, but when I do it's planned well enough in advance that I should be able to take advantage of cheap fares! This will help me stay in the know about good timing!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Hi Lisa! Love that you are smart and book in advance too. It's also great for peace of mind! Thanks so much for your feedback.
  8. Replyannmarie1979
    If you can, stay with relatives! I love all the other tips as well. It is possible to travel on a budget, with some planning! Thank you for sharing!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Yes, absolutely! It's always great when you have friends or family elsewhere to stay with. Planning is so key!
  9. ReplyNatalie
    These are amazing tips Emma. I always wanted to travel more and only a year back I realized it's not about money it's about planning. I already talked to my hunby. We decided to travel more often now that our kiddo is bigger. Thanks for this great reminder.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thank you, Natalie! I love what you said there - "it's not bout money it's about planning". So true. I'm excited for you and your family to travel more (and affordably!).
  10. ReplyAnn
    I love how you arranged all the informations, it really is possible, with smart budgeting!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much for the positive feedback, Ann! I really appreciate it. Happy traveling :)
  11. ReplyAanchal Iyer
    Bingo! Absolutely fantastic tips worth noting down. There is a saying 'well begun is half done' so planning is the ultimate thing one must set them on priority. Keep posting Emma, Cheers :-)
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I love that saying, Aanchal! I've never heard it before. Thank you so much for teaching me something new today and thanks so much for your kind comment.
  12. Replypassportforliving
    Great tips, I agree with all of them. I do find that Airbnb gets booked up quickly so only the expensive ones are left at the last minute. Booking way in advance is not something I do because I like being spontaneous but I know it would save me some money if only I could plan a few months in advance!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, I love that Airbnb tells you the percentage of homes left to book for perspective. People definitely book in advance on that site. That's wonderful you're able to do spontaneous trips though!
  13. ReplyDaniella
    Thanks for these great tips! I live in South Africa so to travel to places such as Europe can be super expensive because of the exchange rate. However, I don't let that stop me and I have realized that luxury travel is overrated and you don't actually experience the place you visit. Hostels are a great way to get a real feel for the city you are in and they are so affordable.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much for your insight, Daniella! I totally agree - luxury travel is overrated and you don't get as authentic of an experience in my opinion. I would love to visit South Africa at some point!
  14. Replythesaltymamas
    Great tips! My cheap Europe days are probably behind me (three teeny kids!) but we definitely take advantage of AirBnB to get larger places to stay in at great prices!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much! And understandable with the 3 kiddos! Airbnb's definitely offers some great full homes to stay at for great prices.
  15. ReplyClaudia
    great tips!! Cant wait to use them :) thank you for sharing!
  16. ReplyKyia
    These are some awesome tips! I would love to travel, but I am always low on cash because of life and bills lol. Thanks for sharing! I will be sure to save this info!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I totally feel the same, but travel has always been a priority for me. I'm glad this helped, Kyia!
  17. ReplyJoanna
    Great tips! I love Google Flights
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks, Joanna! I totally agree - Google Flights is great. So easy to use and compare flights.
  18. ReplyShelby @ For The Love of Paws
    Ugh, man, that is my DREAM! I need to take this advice. It seems everyone is really utilizing Airbnb's now. Need to get on trend.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Haha it's definitely worth looking into! So much cheaper than regular hotels. Thanks, Shelby!
  19. ReplyGLENNY (@glennymah)
    O I love these tips! Ive heard of hopper before but never really used it. I think it's about time I should!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks, Glenny! Yeah I recently found out about Hopper and have been using it to monitor for Christmas flights home. It's great that it tells you to "wait" or "buy now".
  20. ReplyRosalie
    I always travel to visit people I know! For me, accommodation is always the most expensive part of traveling, and when I'm staying with a friend I don't just save money on the hotel itself, but I also have a local to tell me what tourist traps to avoid and I can save a lot of money cooking at home.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      If you have friends or family to stay at then that's even better than cheap accommodations! Thanks for the comment, Rosalie!
  21. ReplyJane Davidson
    Booking in advance is something I really need to work on. Perfect example, I am planning a trip in like 3ish weeks, across the country aaaaaand I don't have my flight booked yet. lol Ahh! Love, this post, you're inspiring me!!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      If you really want to save money then you can make it happen! Where are you going in 3 weeks?? I've never booked a flight so close to a trip. You'll have to let me know if you find any cheap prices in this timeframe!
  22. ReplyKay
    Thanks for sharing this! I'm a college student and travel is hard (even though it's the best thing ever), but this post really helps break it down and make it simple! Thank you! :)
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I'm so glad you found it useful, Kay! I totally get those college struggles (having only been out of college for a couple years). You can definitely make it happen though!
  23. Replyfit2fash
    Some really great sources here. Thanks for sharing. A question though... Getting a room in Bali or else where... Doesn't that scare you a bit to stay in a strangers home? Like are they checked and verified not to be harassing/creepy? lol
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much for your kind words! And great question. I have used Airbnb at least a dozen times now and *knock on wood* have never had a negative experience. I make it a MUST to only stay in homes that have a 4.5 (out of 5) or higher rating and I read all of their reviews to make sure I'm not missing anything. I think you just gave me an idea for another blog post! <3
      • Replyfit2fash
        Oh good. Yeah perhaps you can do one on how to trust some of these homes. Like I understand the one where you get the whole house to yourself but I don't know how I feel about trusting to stay in a home with others that live there. Like their crime rates are higher and IDK I just wouldn't be able to sleep. LOL.
        • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
          I totally understand your paranoia (because I'm generally a very paranoid person myself). I guess all the places I've stayed at have raving reviews about the area and hosts being super welcoming and wonderful. Stay tuned for a post on this! <3
  24. ReplyArianna Lynne Fangonilo
    Thanks for all the tips! I usually rarely even think about traveling because it's so expensive to get off island. I'll keep these in mind for next time I travel!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks for reading, Arianna! I can imagine it'd be more expensive if you're on an island. Which island are you on?
  25. ReplyLinda de Beer
    Good tips. I also find buying food in supermarkets is a great way of saving.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      That's another great tip, Linda! Saving on food while traveling definitely makes a difference.
  26. ReplyParween
    Thank you for these tips!

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