How to travel on a budget

Do you want to take a trip, or enjoy a holiday, without clearing out your bank account? There’s something amazing about travelling on a budget, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can do at a very affordable price.

Here’s our guide to travel on a budget, and how to make the most of your money.

Ways to save money and travel on a budget

Travel during the week

It’s cheaper to travel midweek than on a Friday or Saturday. You’ll also want to avoid school holidays, bank holidays and special events. If you can, travel out of season.

You’ll usually get the best prices if you book to travel on a Thursday.

Be sensible about self-catering

Be realistic about how you’ll be eating on holiday. Booking self-catered might be cheaper, but only if you’ll actually prepare your own meals. If you’ll be tempted by convenience foods and takeaways, restaurants or supermarket meal deals, you could find out that going self-catered is actually costing you more. Self-catering is cheaper if you cook in your accommodation and take picnics when you go out for the day.

All-inclusive rates can seem higher, but you’ll be more in control of your money. You’ll know that once you’re there you won’t overspend on meals, snacks and drinks. If you don’t think you’ve got the willpower, consider a package holiday deal with your food already included.

Enjoy outdoor entertainment

If you visit different attractions every day, you could spend on a lot on entertainment. Plan outdoor activities in new surroundings, and save some money on your next holiday.

Geocaching is a great way to get out and about in new places. Instead of paying for expensive tours, learn more about the area from the people that really know it best. Most geocaches are placed by local residents, along with fun facts and useful information. Geocaching can be enjoyed by all ages and is a cheap or free way to fill a few hours even when you’re travelling with children.

Use public transport

Hiring taxis to take you around might make you feel more comfortable, but it’s sure to make the cost of your trip add up quickly. Use public transport if you can.

Travelling by bus or train can help you to get around cheaply. Look out for daily or weekly tickets that can further reduce the price of travel.

Better yet, wherever you can, walk!

Think like a local

If you see a restaurant that’s targeting tourists, you may be served lower quality food at a higher price than usual. If you want authentic food without the tourist mark-up, look for where the locals spend their time.

Look for hostels

Having your own en-suite hotel room makes for a more luxurious trip, but it won’t be kind on your bank balance. Staying in a hostel is cheaper. Alternatives are pod hotels, with just enough room to sleep and perhaps charge your phone. If you’re happy to cope with just the basics, you’ll pay a lot less for your room.

Use travel insurance

It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve saved if you have to cancel your trip. Check cancellation policies for any tickets you book, and have travel insurance for extra protection if you can’t go on your trip.

Store money safely

Wherever you travel, looking after your money is incredibly important. You won’t be travelling on a budget if you lose all of your cash. Always have money on two cards, and keep them in separate places. If you misplace your bag, or someone steals from your pocket, at least you’ll have a backup available. Along with each card, have a small amount of emergency cash to get by on. If your card is frozen by your bank, or somewhere you go won’t accept it, having cash will save you from embarrassment and extra expense.

Travel should not always be an expensive luxury to have, you can make it as cheap and as expensive as you like. For those slightly larger packages you can take a look at our holiday loans to help you fund the trip of a lifetime.

Choose the UK

Remember, you do not always have to go abroad to have a trip to remember. UK destinations offer many of the same experiences as you would find abroad, albeit with a slightly different climate!