Updated: Apr 6, 2018
Learning how to travel on a budget takes planning, but nothing is impossible. As a single mom, I haven't had the budget to take us on amazing trips or fly her to another country. We live in Orange County, California; land of the Housewives. My daughter has friends that have been on some extravagant vacations, shoot some have been to more places then I have; also just an fyi she is only 10. I feel like I need to be realistic with my daughter, and her expectations. Teaching her value in money, but also not letting her feel like she is missing out while building lasting memories.
While experts are predicting that travel prices are on the rise this year, with airfares expected to go up by 3.5% and hotel prices to increase by 3.7%, it's still possible to take a budget trip in 2018 — if you know where to go.
FORBES-Laura Begley Bloom , WOMEN@FORBES
I have scoured the internet and put together my top 3 travel experts and their advice.
Started traveling: 2011
Favorite travel experience: Living like royalty in Thailand
Bryce first caught the travel bug after he was able to essentially score a free spring break trip during college using the rewards on just one new credit card. When his friends kept asking him advice on how to get into travel hacking, he decided to launch his own business to teach readers how to best leverage travel rewards and points. He’s since accumulated millions of travel points that allow him to travel abroad in luxury several times a year.
Started traveling: 2002
Number of travel credit cards: Lost count
He’s been called the “godfather of the [frequent flyer] hobby” — and with good reason. He started leveraging points while travel reward programs were still in their relative infancy. Gary’s knowledge and acumen in the world of maximizing rewards spans literal decades, and plenty of others have taken notice. He’s been featured on Good Morning America, The Washington Post, and even The Colbert Report.
Matthew Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt)
Started traveling: July 2006
# of countries traveled to: 80
Matt quit his cubicle job for a life of travel more than a decade ago and hasn’t looked back. He’s since launched his website, NomadicMatt.com, where he’s helped millions of readers get the most out of their travels financially. Oh, and he became the New York Times best-selling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
The Experts above have some amazing advice sprinkled throughout their websites, so go check them out for more tips. I have consolidated the important tips and places to go below. I wish I would have used this useful information found absolutely free, to make my travel a whole heck of a lot easier, sooner.
3 rules on how to travel cheap
They provide a a whole lotta great ideas on how to best travel on a budget that easily distilled into three simple rules:
Get the best travel credit card
YOU SHOULD GET A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD!!!!!
Travel credit cards offer some of the best ways to earn Big Wins. By maximizing and accruing points through their associated rewards programs, you can save thousands per year on travel. This is also the way most of these travel experts we’ve talked to do it so cheap: on points. It’s the bare minimum you should do if you want to travel cheap.
Travel at the right time
“Flexibility is the most important thing in finding a cheap flight,” Nomadic Matt says. “You need to be flexible in either your date or destination. If you have to go to Paris on a specific date, then you have to pay the fare. There’s no magic bullet to make the price go down.”
I myself use www.travelpirates.com to search for cheap flights, kicker is that they are the most random dates. Go figure!
Are you planning on taking a luxurious vacation to a Ritz Carlton, or do you mind staying in a local hotel with flavor and charm. It is important to determine what type of experience you want to have. I always prefer the experience I can have and activities to spend money on, rather then staying in a 5 star hotel. I'll sacrifice for the overall experience.
Remember to budget for:
Shopping (always shopping)
Inter-vacation travel (visiting other countries, etc..)
So you've followed the above and now have all tips you need to plan your vacation. Now where the heck to go?
Below are 5 of the TOP listed cheapest places to travel too, and things to explore while you are there.
1. Where: The Cook Islands
Why: Made up of 15 islands and less than 100 square miles, the Cook Islands are everything you’d hope to find in the South Pacific — lush tropical beauty, vibrant reefs and a Polynesian vibe that is both traditional and modern. Its rich Maori culture is still very much intact and hospitality exudes through the friendly locals. Think: Hawaii half a century ago, but with 21st century conveniences like WiFi. Take your pick on where to stay — you’ll find reasonably-priced luxury alongside Airbnbs, beach shacks alongside boutiques, all with a rustic, island-chic appeal. The largest island, Rarotonga or “Raro,” is made up of rugged mountains, unspoiled beaches and the national capital of Avarua, where you’ll find boutique hotels, quaint shopping, rare pearls, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, coffee shops, a distillery that makes banana vodka by coffee pot and even a Friday night party bus. The island is easily accessible by bus and being only 20 miles in circumference, you can easily conquer the entire island in a day. Note to Type A travelers: Bus timetables are on, well, island time. Aitutaki Island to the north, is home to what many refer to as the world’s most beautiful lagoon, thanks to its crystal clear turquoise waters, coral reefs and sandy islets that allow for world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. When visiting the Cook Islands, it's not to be missed.
2. Where: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Why: Encircled by massive stonewalls, this Adriatic gem is hard to resist. With its old-world charm, the city’s streets are paved with limestone giving it a cool feel during hot summer days. Its well-preserved homes and monuments range from baroque St. Blaise Church to renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace. It’s a perfect day excursion when island hopping along the Adriatic coast. Oh, and you won’t want to miss the stunning medieval fortresses, Lovrijenac and Bokar, which tower over Dubrovnik.
3. Where: Vancouver
Why: Canada, eh? The good news is, our neighbor to the north(west) has a favorable exchange rate of .80 cents to the U.S. dollar. So luxury hotels like the Fairmont Pacific Rim in the naturally stunning city of Vancouver are super affordable. The city is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada: 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. “Van” is literally set within a rainforest, so nature enthusiasts will love walking along the waterfronts with views of the nearby mountaintops. For the culturally curious, I suggest weaving your way through the cobbled streets and shops in the historic Gastown neighborhood. Don't miss Kimprints, a shop supporting underprivileged street artists, or the Ok Boot Corral, a local bootmaker who has been in business since 1833. For an unexpected insider experience, get your sea legs on to go fishing for what’s in-season with sustainable seafood supplier, Organic Ocean. Afterward, you can bring your fresh catch to the kitchen of the Fairmont Pacific Rim to make fresh sushi. And let’s be real: What’s sushi without homemade sake? Check out Masa Shiroki, an artisan sake maker on Granville Island, for his locally made bubbly sake.
4. Where: Karpathos, Greece
Why: The Greek Island of Karpathos offers much of the same allure as chic Santorini and Mykonos, but with the advantage of lower prices. Karpathos is the second largest of the Dodecanese Island chain, which includes better-known Rhodes. Karpathos dates back to the 5th century BC, offering history buffs a way to have two trips in one, combining sun and sand with a step back in time. Ancient ruins can still be seen at Aghia Anastasia, while the island’s history can be studied in more detail in the Archaeological Museum. Beyond lounging on white-sand beaches, active travelers can choose from a selection of sports: fishing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing. Away from the well-worn tourist path, Karpathos has hillsides covered in vibrant wild flowers and small villages like Arkasas to explore. The island’s capital, Pighadia, is a modern city, but in small towns like Olympos, traditional dress is still worn day-to-day and life has the authentic feel of the past. Karpathos has many apartments and studios to rent, resulting in real savings. There are plenty of budget hotels under $100. Multiple restaurants and tavernas dot the countryside, where you can savor traditional Greek dishes at low prices.
5. Where: Barichara, Colombia
Why: Colombia isn’t usually thought of as a value destination, but due to the strong U.S. dollar, it has become one of the most compelling destinations in the world for those willing to venture off the beaten track. Travelers in the know are loving Barichara, one of the most beautiful small colonial villages in the Andes. Stay at Casa Barichara for under $200 a night and dine at El Carambolo, a quaint B&B rich with personality and the perfect fit for those searching for authentic, Colombian hospitality. Though not a typical tourist destination, Barichara is perfect for adventure travelers who enjoy activities like paragliding. A trip to Barichara can be paired with the town of Salamina, where travelers will find quirky architecture and a renowned coffee production, and/or the vibrant town of Medellin, which boasts music, museums, nightlife and friendly people.
Hopefully you will update this post with beautiful pictures you've taken on vacations using this amazingly helpful information. Safe Travels everyone. Ta Ta for now.