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Map, laptop, camera and passport on a table.

Wanderlust. Wan·der·lust ˈwändərˌləst/ noun 1. a strong desire to travel.

When we were given this incredible opportunity to head West this Summer, I knew I needed to get to work planning a budget-friendly vacation. So I made this awesome travel budget planner to share with you so you could also enjoy amazing trips without breaking the bank.

6 Awesome Tips for Cheap Travel

When planning our own vacation this year, I’ve been doing lots of research into how I can save money on our trip, especially since we are still paying off our debt.

I also found a few good money-saving tips that I wanted to share with you in hopes they can help you plan some cheap travel so you don’t have to miss out on exploring this beautiful world.  

Remember, living on a budget offers you freedom, not restriction.

Check out my Begin to Budget Bundle to help you create a budget you can actually stick to. I created this bundle based on the exact system we used to pay off $54,500 of debt in only 20 months. This 34-page printable budget binder will help you organize your finances, pay off debt and save money.

Use Apps To Send You Price Alerts on Flights

There are a ton of apps available these days that will help you search and track flights! I found this awesome app called Hopper a few years back, and it saved me over $50 on my flight! You search for flights, and you can save your search and get price alerts.

It will alert you every so often on the price fluctuations of your flight. The really cool thing is that it will tell you whether you should book or wait.

For example, Hopper will say, “Your flight to Atlanta is $400 right now. We expect this to drop by $30 in the next few weeks. You should wait to book.”

Or it might say, “Your flight to Atlanta is $400 right now. We expect the price to rise about $30 over the next few weeks. You should book now.”…how cool is that? It’s a great tool, but make sure you enable notifications so you don’t miss out on the perfect time to purchase your ticket.

Bonus Tip: While I haven’t verified these tips, they are ones I’ve heard over time and may be worth a shot.

  • Flights are rumored to be cheapest 54 days prior to travel.
  • Flights are also rumored to be cheapest when booked on a Tuesday since airlines usually run sales beginning on Tuesdays.

How would it feel to actually enjoy traveling without worrying about how much money you’re spending?

Creating an intentional plan for your trip before you actually go on the trip will make sure you’re focusing your spending on the parts of your trip that matter most!

Click the button below for your free planner.

Book With Cashback Offers

One of my favorite apps, Rakuten, now has Travel Thursdays where you can get up to 10% cashback when you book travel accommodations through them on a Thursday.

This is how I booked our hotel and our rental car, and we got 4% back after we returned from our trip.

Plus, check to see if you can bundle with any additional discounts you may qualify for…veterans, AAA, hotel points, etc. (some hotels will only let you use one discount at a time, so you should check with them directly).

Note: Once you join Rakuten and make a qualifying purchase, you can share your referral link with friends and earn $30 for each friend you refer to Rakuten. #winning

Join Rewards Programs

Even if you are not an avid traveler, take the time to join the rewards programs of the airlines you fly and the hotels you stay at.

Sure, it takes a few extra minutes, but the programs are almost always free, and the rewards points and bonus miles usually have no expiration date, so you can keep accruing them and someday redeem them for some substantial savings.


How would it feel to actually enjoy traveling without worrying about how much money you’re spending?

Creating an intentional plan for your trip before you actually go on the trip will make sure you’re focusing your spending on the parts of your trip that matter most!

Click the button below for your free planner.

Plus, some programs also offer discounts on upgrades or other options to their members, so be sure to opt into their email notifications.

Bonus Tip: Remember to record your login credentials somewhere so you can access your accounts next time you book travel to avoid missing out on points you’ve already earned.

When I booked our recent flights, my credentials didn’t work for some reason, so I called the airline they found my old account, and it had a balance of 15,000 miles! It can be a total pain to call directly, but it’s often worth it.

Bonus Tip: Booking flights online is cheaper with most airlines. Many of them add a premium of up to $25 if you call to book it over the phone with an airline representative.

Rent a House Instead of a Hotel

Programs like Airbnb are really gaining steam. Especially if you are traveling in a group, these options can save you a ton of money.

Instead of booking a hotel for a whole week, you can often get an entire house for only slightly more money! When traveling with others, you’re then able to split that cost for substantial savings.

Plus, you can get great amenities at your rental, too…etc. full kitchen (to save money on dining out each day), your own pool, gym, garage, etc. there are so many options to choose from.

Traveling alone? You can even find just a room in someone’s house to rent for a night.

 Get $40 in travel credit when you sign up with Airbnb through this link.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to read the fine print and descriptions when renting through these sites as they often include special instructions, cleaning fees, etc.

List Your Own House

What about actually making money while you travel? Think about listing your own home on Airbnb while you are gone on vacation?! You’re getting the best of both worlds.

Plus, you’ll have a house sitter that is actually paying you instead of the other way around. List your home on Airbnb today.

Bonus Tip: This is also a great option if you travel a lot for business or take temporary assignments out of town.

Use a Travel Budget Planner To Stay on Budget

When planning our vacation, I created an easy printable to help me keep all my expenses straight, and I thought it might be helpful for others as well, especially because it can be easy to forget some of the smaller expenses when planning a trip, which can really add up and cause you to go over budget on your trip.  

Using my free Travel Budget Planner will help keep you organized while planning your cheap travel, and don’t forget to hang on to it so you can reconcile all your expenses once you return home. 

Traveling can feel really overwhelming when you’re on a budget, but some careful planning and a little extra time and effort can ensure you have an amazing vacation without blowing your budget!

And once you’ve booked your trip, be sure to check out these life-saving products that help me save a ton of time packing for vacation and keeps my whole family organized while on vacation; plus, they’re super affordable.

Do you use any of these tips when traveling on a budget?  If you have any extra tips, feel free to share them below in the comments. 

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Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.

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