5 Tips for Travelling on a Budget

by Karen Kwan

I’m not only an avid traveller, but I also love dining out and shopping. So I’m always looking for ways to cut costs so that I can travel more often, eat more delicious meals and score great buys when on the road. And because caring is sharing, I’m dishing up my personal strategies on how you can pinch pennies so you can jet set more often.

Pack only a carry-on suitcase

Take it from someone who used to pack nearly her entire closet so she’d have outfit options, it is possible—and worth it—to learn how to pack lightly. After all, pack less and you have more money to shop. Admittedly, I learned this lesson the hard way: I once had to pay a hefty fee for excess baggage in Spain, and on a two-city trip, I had to pay $25 for each of the three flights I took. Wasting that $75 still irks me to this day.

Stay at rental apartments

Scrimp on your accommodations and stay at a rental such as an Airbnb and you can extend your trip thanks to the money you’ll save. After all, how much time do you ever really spend in your hotel when travelling, other than for sleeping and showering? If you’re willing to crash in an apartment where the resident is living, that’s when you can really save money. If you’re nervous to rent such a place, read through the reviews and ask the person you’re renting from plenty of questions, so you know what to expect of your stay—and if you have to chase down the owner for replies, that’s a sign this apartment may not be one you want to stay at.

Take public transportation

While it’s so much more comfortable getting an airport limo to and from the airport, and cabbing it while you’re in your destination, if there’s a decent public transportation system where you are, you can save loads of money by using transit versus taxis. It might take a bit longer, but what you sacrifice in time you make up for in cold, hard cash that you can use toward dinners, theatre tickets, drinks—whatever your jetsetting heart desires.

Buy snacks and water at the supermarket

I trust you know enough not to eat the very pricey snacks in a hotel minibar. To avoid temptation, make a pit stop at the local drugstore or supermarket when you first get to a destination and stock up on the staples you know you need such as bottled water, fresh fruit, granola bars and the like.

Be willing to travel on less desirable days and at less coveted times

If your schedule and commitments allow, choose to travel on a very early flight or on less desirable days of the week (fewer people travel on Wednesdays than Fridays, for example). You can often save money on your flight by booking those “off” times. Consider whether losing a few hours’ sleep and getting up earlier is worth saving you that $50, for example—the way I see it, you can make up some snooze time on the flight itself.