Hey everyone! I traveled a ton this year (at least it feels like a ton for me) and I wanted to share my tips on how I did it on a budget!
First I want to talk about the places I’ve traveled to this year. I went to New York City (once), Los Angeles (once), Florida (once), and Chicago (5 times).
- Flights: I love using websites like, Skyscanner and Google. When I go on google, all you have to type in is (example): Chicago to Orlando flights. Something will pop up and you can type in the days you want to go. They’re both super easy websites to use. I also love that sky scanner lets you see the prices on everyday, which I think is a super cool addition because that can also determine when you wanna fly! I also recommend booking flights in bigger cities (if you live near any or are willing to drive) because they’re cheaper! My boyfriend and I always fly out of Chicago, even though it’s 3-4 hours away from where we live. When we do travel to stay in Chicago, we always drive. So, we do have an advantage here.only
- Hotels/ Airbnbs: Where we stay is based on the prices. For example, we usually stay in hotels when were in Chicago (we stay downtown Chicago) because most of the airbnbs are too far where we want to be or they’re too expensive. I’m not going to lie though, we’re SUPER SUPER last minute. Like sometimes we will book a place a week or two before we go or sometimes even the day of. Lol. (I blame my boyfriend for that.) But even being super last minute, you can still find super nice and clean hotels anywhere from $100-$200. We will usually only stay for 1-2 nights as well. Going to bigger and further places like New York or Los Angeles, we will also book depending on the price. New York for example, we stayed in a hotel, but we took advantage of their bundle packages. I highly recommended doing bundle packages because you can save a lot of money! Disclaimer: bundle packages might not always save you money, it’s usually all about the timing. I found that if you’re booking last minute they usually come in handy! I like using the website, Booking.com. *** Prices will also vary depending on when you book and how long your stay is. For example, let’s say you’re going to New York City. The flight is $161/ person and the hotel you want to stay at is $100/ night. Let’s say you’re staying for 4 nights. Also, remember that you can choose different rooms. If you get a bigger room or a room with a view, they will cost extra. The total for both plane tickets are $322 + taxes and the hotel total is $400 + taxes. The grand total is $794. But, if you look for bundle deals, you might only have to pay $600 (for both people) for your total cost instead of $794. These are just examples, but that’s how a bundle works. New York has airbnb’s, but they are super hard to find cheap and good location, that’s why we stayed in a hotel. Los Angeles, however, we love to stay in airbnb’s, they’re usually cheaper than hotels.
- Transportation: If you’re staying in a city like Chicago or New York, Do NOT drive a car! It’s honestly a waste of time and money. We do drive to Chicago, but once we are there we park our car and never use it until we have to leave! We will literally walk everywhere!! That’s why it’s best to stay downtown! Everything is close and you get a lot of exercise. I LOVE using the app, Spothero. It’s a super cheap way to find parking spots in large cities for a cheaper price! If you stay for just the weekend you’ll end up paying $100, which I think is ridiculous! With the app though, you can pay as low as $30 for the whole weekend! (Not guaranteed to be that price though!) ￼When in New York, you can use the subway system which is a super cheap way to get around. Every ride is $2.75 or you can buy a bus pass for $33 for unlimited rides for 7 days! We unfortunately did not ride the subway. Again, we walked EVERYWHERE and used Uber when we needed too. Like at night because I didn’t wanna walk 3 miles to get back to our hotel. Lol. Unfortunately, when you’re in LA, you do have to Uber or rent a car. We usually just take Uber’s so we don’t have to worry about parking. **TIP**: When booking places, figure out your transportation. We will usually find a cheaper place to stay since we know our transportation will be more expensive and if it’s not going to be expensive, we are willing to spend more on a place to stay. That’s just a little tip we like to use!
- Location: Something to consider is to book a place near the things you want to see or do. This is just for your own convenience so you don’t have to worry that much about the pricing of an Uber or so you can walk there. We book places we know are near things we want like restaurants, bars, stores, sights to see, etc… This just makes things super easy for us!
- Extra Extra junk: If you know you’ll be traveling, don’t waste your money buying A TON OF THINGS. I’m not going to lie, I’ve definitely bought things for trips and ended up not even using them. Like clothes, make up, shoes, etc.. Literally anything. Especially if you’re not going for a long time, you should plan out your outfits you’ll wear instead of just over packing items that won’t be used. This will also save you a ton of money! When I went to NYC, I bought a $65 pair of shoes before our trip and I wore them the first day and ended up having to buy a new pair of shoes because they weren’t as comfortable as I thought they were going to be. I just wasted $65 for NOTHING.
- Don’t worry too much about being bougie: I feel like when people travel, they have to do the most extravagant things ever! That shouldn’t be the case especially if you’re on a budget! Stop worrying too much about eating fancy food and drinking the best drinks! I’m not saying you CAN’T do that, I’m just saying to be smart about your money because you never know when you’ll need it for emergencies. Things add up quickly!! I’m not going to lie though, NYC and LA are known for having SUPER expensive drinks. My boyfriend and I had 1 drink at our hotel (in NYC) and each drink was $18. To some people that might not be a lot, but where I’m from, a drink is literally like $4, lol. When in NYC, our hotel was right next to Chinatown, we literally got some noodles and dumplings for $6. You can find super good food to eat for such a cheap price, just do your research!
- Travel with people: I feel like this is so obvious, but traveling with someone will save you money! Family, friends, a significant other, etc! I don’t have friends, so I always travel with my boyfriend. Lol, but if you travel with more than 1 friend, you guys can split the cost of a place to stay and it’ll be so much cheaper! My boyfriend and I will usually split the costs of things. So, I’ll pay for the plane tickets and he’ll pay for the hotel. Depending on how much they are, sometimes I’ll give him money to pay him back or use it for food on us. Another huge advantage is traveling with your parents! I went to Florida with my parents and they usually pay for everything. Which is very nice because you don’t have to worry too much about spending your own money.
That’s it for how I travel cheap! Let me know down below if you guys have any websites or other things you do/ use that help you save money when you’re traveling!