Let’s Travel Frugally

There’s something for everyone when it comes to traveling. There’s luxury travel, cheap travel, nomadic travel, cruises, travel tours, RV travel, family travel and on and on. Almost everyone can find something to fit their needs and budget when it comes to traveling, and it’s not difficult to find ways to save both before and during one’s journey.

Brett and I consider ourselves to be experienced frugal travelers; that is, we are out to get the biggest bang for our bucks all while staying within a budget that works for us and doesn’t send us spiraling into debt. Being frugal while on the road not only means being thrifty, but avoiding waste and managing our funds with care. Being thrifty while we travel is not always about finding the lowest price but searching out the best value and getting the most for our money. For example, when we were in Rome in 2018 we signed up for a small group tour and visited the Colosseum, Palantine Hill, and the Roman Forum. The cost per person was above our usual price point, but after reading through what the tour offered compared to other lower-priced tours we decided the one we selected would give us a lot more for our money, or in other words, a better value. We ended up with a more in-depth look at these historic places (the tour guide was a local historian) and a group limited to 12 people, small enough that everyone could hear the guide and ask questions easily – no one was left “standing at the back” of a crowd . What we saw, learned, and discovered about the places we visited on the tour provided far more value than what we would have saved by booking a cheaper tour or trying to do it on our own.

To keep our travels affordable, we stayed in Airbnb rentals, shopped locally for food and cooked our own meals almost every day. We rode trains, buses, and took cheap flights, and we walked or used public transportation to get around in each location. Brett faithfully recorded our spending every day so we knew whether we over, under, or right on budget. We balanced stays in more expensive lodgings with less expensive ones in other places, and ended up just $38 over budget overall for our lodging.

In the next few months I want to explore what we’ve learned about traveling frugally, about different ways to save before and during travel, and how to get more for less while you’re on the road or visiting any location. I’ve already posted a bit about saving ahead of time for travel (located in the Saving category), but I want to learn more and better ways to travel while spending less and getting more, and I hope you’ll follow along.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Travel Frugally

  1. I will be interested as you post along this idea. While we want to be frugal, there are some things that we just absolutely won’t budge on when we travel (and I’m afraid my list might be getting longer!) and that is space and comfort in our lodgings. I like your comments about finding the best value for your money (even though on the surface it might seem more costly) and about doing what is best for the individual. I followed a blog for quite awhile of a younger person who stayed in (questionable?) lodgings that would not work for us older folks! So it’s good to see you qualify your frugality and help us all understand that what works for one, might not work for another.

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    1. I remember when we were first putting things together back in 2017 and I was trying to find articles about what to pack for full-time travel – all the articles were on living out of a backpack which I knew wasn’t going to work for me. Yes, it would have been cheaper but at what cost otherwise?

      Frugality is often equated with thriftiness or spending less, but I believe it’s more than that – it’s getting the most for your money, and sometimes that means more than saving a few dollars. One of the best pieces of advice I got from my grandmother was to always buy the best quality you can afford, not the cheapest, that it was better to own less but have things that lasted and did not wear out quickly or need to be replaced frequently. There are definitely areas to save when traveling, but there are also times when spending more upfront saves you more in the long run and provides more value.

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