Budget tripIf you have been bitten by the travel bug but don’t have a lot of spare cash, travel is not completely off the table for you. There are many ways to shave dollars off the cost of a trip and still enjoy it to the fullest. If you are on a budget and want to see the world at an affordable price, these 12 travel hacks are wallet friendly.

1. Save Money on Hotels

The most expensive part of a trip is generally accommodations. If you can find affordable hotels, your vacation budget will automatically be reduced. There are many ways to go about getting reduced hotel rates. There are smartphone apps that search your destination to find high quality hotels for cheaper prices. You can also book your stay for the middle of the week or the off season when hotels tend to drop their rates.

2. Shop At Local Markets

Eating out for every meal on your vacation can quickly drain your funds. Instead of visiting restaurants multiple times a day, save your money for a few really nice meals throughout your stay. For the rest of your meals visit the local groceries and markets, and prepare your own food.

3. Walk As Much As Possible

When you are visiting a large city with a lot to see, your first instinct may be to take public transportation and cabs. After all, you don’t want to waste a moment of your trip. The cash you save by walking to your sightseeing destinations can add up fast. You can see the city from a whole new perspective and may even find yourself in an unexpected corner that you would never have found if you were taking a cab.

4. Limit the Cash You Carry

When you are on vacation, it is all too tempting to fork over your cash for any little thing that catches your fancy. Most of the time you end up going home with a suitcase full of things you do not need. To curb impulse spending, leave most of your cash and your cards back at the hotel. If you have a limited amount of money to spend, you will be much more choosy with how you use it.

5. Find Free Attractions

All tourist destinations have glitzy amusements that have the same thing in common. They are designed to separate you from your cash as quickly as possible. Some of the best places to visit are often free. Check out the local attractions that don’t cost a dime. Historical sites, cathedrals, cemeteries and some festivals are often rich with local heritage and free to the public.

6. Get a Credit Card With Rewards

Signing up for a rewards heavy credit card is a way you can contribute to lowering your vacation budget all year. Get a card that offers flight discounts, hotel rewards and rideshare credits. You can use your card to pay bills, buy groceries and shop, and pay it off at the end of each month to rack up as many points as you can. Cashing them in when you take a vacation can save you hundreds of dollars.

7. Travel Off the Beaten Path

If you do not have a particular destination in mind, try to choose one that is less touristy. These places are generally cheaper. If you want to visit a specific touristy destination, try to find a less popular alternative. There are often less crowded, and more pristine towns, nearby that can give you the same experience for a lower price.

8. Use a Discount Airline

Budget airlines get a bad rap for their terrible food and tiny seats, but they do offer the advantage of cheaper travel. If you are on a budget, traveling with a discount airline can get you where you need to go for far less. You may have to put up with less than ideal conditions, but it is just a few hours out of your trip.

9. Compare Rates

Several weeks before you start to book your tickets and hotels, begin comparing rates online. This can be very revealing and help you save a lot of money. For instance, you may find that one airline has significantly lower fares on a Wednesday. By scoping out airline and hotel rates ahead of time, you can cut a huge percentage from your travel budget.

10. Travel With a Group

If you are not dead set on making a solo journey, consider traveling with a larger group of people. Hotels, airlines, transportation firms and local attractions all generally offer significant discounts for groups. It is also cheaper to travel in a group, because you can all split costs on things like food, drinks and fuel.

11. Work For a Travel Company

If you have time to squeeze a few hours of part time work into your schedule, look to see if any airlines in your area are hiring. Even if you work part time, you generally have your airfare comped wherever you want to fly. It’s a great way to eliminate transportation expenses from your travel budget.

12. Trade Places With a Friend

If you have a friend that lives in a city you want to visit, see if they would be willing to host you. You can offer them the same courtesy at your home. Staying with a friend gives you an automatic tour guide, lets you hang out with someone you like and eliminates your need to pay for a hotel.

Travel does not have to be a dream you hope to achieve after you retire. By planning ahead and putting some thought into your travel arrangements, you can travel on a shoestring budget. You will never regret getting out and exploring the world.

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