Do you have any advice for those who want to travel while on a budget?
Plan in advance! I always travel on a budget and categorize my planning and my spending at the same time, in three ways.
First is flights. I’ll wait until have the money saved up in full before buying my flight, that way I can put the flight on a credit card and get points, but I’ll have the cash to pay it off right away. Once the flights are booked, that ensures I’ll actually take the trip ;) and I can reserve my lodging.
I primarily use AirBnb and Booking.com, and tend to prefer Booking.com because I can reserve a room ahead of time at no cost (sometimes this means I’ll pay a little more upon check-in, but that “free cancellation” feature is too good to pass up). I like planning in advance where I stay, prioritizing places with a kitchen or kitchenette to cook meals in, and Booking.com let’s me reserve several places so I can fine tune exactly where I’ll be staying closer to my arrival date. I always make sure to Google-map an address first to see how close/far it is from the main train station or bus stop, too. Booking.com also lets me know how much money I need to set aside for lodging, if I still need to save up for that between the time I book and the time I go. AirBnB is great too, if I want more of a local perspective, but since you often have to pay up front, this locks me in more in advance than I typically prefer.
Lastly, is my per diem. I like to give myself (and my husband, since he’s usually with me) a daily budget for food, local transportation, treats, etc. Depending on where I’m going and how long I’m traveling for, I have been as strict as 70 euro a day up to 200 euro/day. I’ll multiply how much I want to spend daily by the number of days I’m traveling and adjust until I get an amount that I feel comfortable saving.
There is always grace for this process, too...in the end, travel will cost you money that is money you could have saved, but always having a trip in the works actually helps me spend less overall, and prioritize the experiences of my life over the “stuff” in it.