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Holidays can be super expensive, and none of us have a bottomless pit of cash. But that doesn’t mean we should stay at home and feel miserable knowing we can’t afford to jump on a plane.

In fact, if you plan it right, there’s no reason why you can’t have a short trip away at least once every two months. But this means you need to wear your budget traveller hat. The five tips below will show you exactly how to do it.

5 Simple Budget Holiday Hacks

Be Ready to Go at the Drop of a Hat

Venice sightseeing

Now, this isn’t always that easy to do, but if you have an understanding boss and some holiday time to use up, then you can save big.

Watch airlines’ websites and sign up for email alerts that will let you know when special offers become available. If you’re prepared to leave the following day or midweek, you could fly somewhere at a fraction of the cost you would normally expect.

If your credit card is maxed out and you really don’t want to dip into your rainy day fund, you might want to consider a short-term loan. Now, this isn’t to pay for the holiday, it’s just to cover the immediate expense of the ticket and when next salary comes along, you’ll be back on track by paying off your loan.

If you’re thinking about taking this route, we’ve covered the responsibility of taking out a personal loan in this post. Make sure you read it as it’s something you should only approach if you can do it sensibly.

Just remember to keep the essentials for a quick trip close at hand, so you’re ready to go. Read this post for tips on how to be a spontaneous traveler.

Watch airlines’ websites and sign up for email alerts that will let you know when special offers become available.Click To Tweet

Only Use Free Wi-Fi

Booking hotels Online Laptop TRVL

Roaming charges can be expensive (you should use prepaid anyway), and paying for hotel WiFi if it’s not free can add up tremendously. So make an effort to find out where all the free Wi-Fi is at.

Some cities offer free Wi-Fi on public transport or even hotspots in popular tourist attractions so make use of it whenever you can. Though in fairness, you really should be enjoying the holiday so the least time connected the better for you!

It’s incredibly important to be traveling with a VPN for your computer and phone if you plan on utilizing free WiFi overseas. Because we’re traveling, and constantly connecting to different networks, we’re way more vulnerable to cyber security threats.

Whether at the airport, hotel, or a café, most free WiFi is via an open network, which aren’t safe, and allow anyone on the same network to easily see your data: usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, how much adult content you’re streaming!

But a VPN means you can connect without worrying about your security, and make sure you’re protected from these types of attacks.

It’s SO important have a VPN for your computer and phone if you plan on utilizing free WiFi overseas. Click To Tweet

Book a Place With a Kitchen

ramadan Dubai food RF

Airbnb has been the answer to so many budget travellers’ dreams. You get cheap, high-quality accommodation and more often than not, a kitchen.

You might not feel like cooking on your holiday, and we’re not suggesting that you do it all the time, but cooking for yourself is a great money-saver.

Visit the local market and grab everything you need for breakfast and making packed lunches. You can eat out for dinner if you like, but it’s also quite fun to shop around and try your hand at cooking the local food.

Trust us, trips to the supermarket in a foreign country can be a lot of fun, and make for some great memories!

Prioritize Free Activities

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

Many tourist attractions like museums or parks have one day a week when they’re free. Do your homework and find out how to take advantage of this.

On top of this, there are also the many, many free or cheap attractions in every city. Beaches, national parks, public squares, religious sites, and even zoos can be cheap or free.

Walking tours too are a fabulous way to experience a new destination for free, and the majority of cities around the world excel at being pedestrian friendly. It’s a great way to orientate yourself with a new location while taking in the most popular tourist attractions, and seeing a city’s top landmarks is absolutely free.

It’s usually pretty easy to catch a free walking tour in major cities; they’re often advertised on hostel bulletin boards, though for those who don’t like group tours, or aren’t fond of feeling pressured to tip, it’s just as easy to search Google and download a free walking map of your city for a self guided tour.

Walk Everywhere

Yes, we’re going there. Pack a good pair of shoes and walk everywhere at your destination. It may be tiring, but you’ll find that a good walk around the area will uncover a lot more than a bus or train ride across the city.

You’ll meet more people, see more things, and come across all those little local shops and restaurants that aren’t in the guidebooks.

Transportation costs don’t stop just because you’ve arrived at your destination. And the expense renting cars, hire taxis, or taking the bus can really add up. So choose a walkable city!

Among the most walkable cities in the world are Sydney, Florence, Paris, Dubrovnik, New York, Berlin and London.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. These are simple but effective ways to save money on your travels. I walk everywhere, use free WiFi and focus on free activities. In fact, I barely get into any paid activity!

    • Awesome Renuka! You really can still have so much fun, and a really memorable vacation without spending much. Money does not always equal a better time! :)

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