Even though the rest of the world imagines millennials sunbathing on a beach in Belize or “finding themselves” while touring Bali, we are actually spending less on travel than previous generations. Apparently, somehow, between stagnating wages, rising rent prices, and student loan debt, our money gets allocated to other things before we get to book our dream vacation à la "Eat, Pray, Love."
While we certainly have other financial responsibilities, prioritizing travel is still an attainable goal. It’s all about knowing how to book affordable travel, and then taking the initiative to save up and make it happen.
To help you plan your next trip, we asked five travel influencers, who run their own travel blogs or Instagram accounts, what their biggest money-saving tip is. Here’s what they had to say:
Pauline Chardin, TheVoyageur.net
“Don't follow the crowds. Being a Parisian, I know all too well how a tourist spot can make the price of a single coffee skyrocket. When I travel, I always try to explore little-known places, where I appreciate the feeling of really discovering something, and where everything is magically cheaper and often even better. That's how we got to stay in a regal apartment in Malaga overlooking the main square, ate the most wonderful fish for next-to-nothing on Leros island in Greece, and roamed for free in majestic Roman ruins in Tyre, Lebanon.”
Adrienne McDermott, @byebyeadrienne
“Figure out how to 'travel hack' transportation. Flights are often the single biggest line item and burden on a full-time traveler (and on anyone traveling for a short period of time). Never trust the major airline search engines. Always check local airlines, and when traveling long distances, it's usually cheaper to book some legs separately. Also, you can ride-share or boat-share for cheap or free in many places worldwide. It takes a long time to do all the research, but you can save hundreds with a little extra finger tapping.”
Andrew McDermott, @heyheyandrew
“Figure out how little you can live on before you leave home to prepare for life outside your comfort zone. Practice for the worst-case scenario by cutting out everything. Once shed, find out what you still find joy and contentment in. For example, see how few articles of clothing you can wear in a month. Once you get comfortable living without these things, you'll be ready for whatever the road throws at you... and you'll have ended up saving thousands of dollars to help fund that trip. Do this throughout your life—it's the best money-saving exercise we've ever done.”
Katie McKnoulty, TheTravellingLight.com
“My biggest money-saving travel tip would be to mix up your accommodations by staying in private rooms of Airbnb apartments and houses for a healthy chunk of your holiday. I've met so many cool people doing this, it's like hiring a new local friend when you stay in their place with them. And it's often even cheaper than staying in backpacker hostels, even cheaper than a bed in a 12-person dorm room! I know which I'd prefer. Doing this you really get to experience the local side of a place by asking your host for tips or even accompanying them out to a local party or event. I hate spending money on expensive hotels if I know I'm going to be out most of the time seeing things anyway.”
Alex Reynolds, lostwithpurpose.com
“If you want to keep your travel costs down, travel more slowly. People often get overexcited on trips, and try to cram in as many different places or countries as possible. Resist the urge to check off a million bucket list items, and instead spend more time in each place you visit. You'll get to dig deeper into the local culture and save all the money you would otherwise spend on transportation!”