2018 was a year of traveling for Kyle and I. We traveled for over 40 days this past year and in order to do that we needed to do it for as cheap as possible. Since we’ve traveled so much, we’ve learned some tips for traveling on a budget and travel essentials you need.
1.Buy Great Luggage That Will Last: When Kyle and I first got married, we bought some really cheap luggage from Macy’s that was on sale and called it good. By the next year, it was torn, ruined, and beaten up pretty badly. I learned really quickly the importance of spending money on high quality luggage that will help traveling be easier. We were given luggage from iFly for our trip to New York City and it has been my favorite luggage I’ve ever owned. I love the luggage because of the hard outer shell, the expandable ability, and the European wheels, and the rose gold color! I had a few people ask me about the outer shell and if it gets beat up easily. My answer, NO! The hard shell keeps everything protected. It has received some black marks from being thrown around by the airports, but because of the hard shell, I just go home and wipe it down and it is back to looking new! I own the Full Set of the Rose Gold Hard Case option. You can shop that here. Kyle owns the Diplomat which can be purchased here. I highly recommend it and for the price point, it is everything you could do to make your trip easier!
2.Try Out Mystery Hotels: Every time someone asks me how we are able to go to Disneyland so often and how to do it on a budget, one of my biggest tips is the Express Deal option from Priceline. You can go onto the website, set your parameters, and then just see what hotel they give you. The best part though? It is discounted sometimes as big as 60%! If we don’t have a hotel in mind that we want to stay at, then we use the express deal hotel. We say what area we want to stay in, how many stars, any accommodations we want and then see what hotel they give us. I highly recommend this option when you want to save money with your hotel.
3.Cheaper Flights or Less Nights: When we start to research our trip, we always look at two different options. Would it be cheaper for us to fly out early in the morning, or late at night and get a hotel for the evening. Sometimes it’s been better for both. We also have learned that if we can be flexible and fly home on Saturday night, instead of Sunday, flights are cheaper. So I recommend seeing if you can save money by doing a more expensive flight, but you are spending less on hotels. It’s definitely something we like to save money by looking into.
4. Get a Travel Credit Card: This is the biggest way Kyle and I travel so much. We decided when we first got married that we would have one credit card that we used exclusively for everything. This would then rake up all our travel points and help us get free flights. We decided to go with the JetBlue travel card. You can see more details about those card options here. The one we have is no longer available because we were grandfathered in, but they have a lot of other great options. I would recommend finding either a hotel or flight card (or both) and stick with it. Kyle and I only have one credit card and we make sure to pay it off each month. I can’t stress enough how important it is to only buy what you can afford. Don’t get the credit card and rake up points, just so you can get the points, but you can’t afford to pay it off. We use out credit card for all our purchases and every year we end up getting a free flight somewhere. We also love to get extra points by booking our whole travel package through JetBlue.
5. Bring Your Own Snacks: As obvious as this may sound, we can spend a lot of money on trips by getting snacks that we may not have needed if we brought our own. We normally grab a fun treat that is easy to snack on, some granola bars, fruit snacks, and pack them in sandwich size bags that are easy to pack in our backpack while walking around. This is extra helpful in Disneyland when they have so many yummy treats and I’m always tempted to eat as many as I can. When I know I can snack on what I brought, it is crazy how much money I end up saving!
6.Have A Good Backpack for Your Carryon and Trip: This is not necessarily a way to save money, but something that I think is really important while traveling. I love this backpack from Sage and Harper that I use every single day, but I love it even more during my travels. I love the hidden pocket in the back for my passport, cash, and other essentials. You can purchase the backpack here.
7. Travel With Friends: Many of our trips happen with other people so we can save money. Many of our Disneyland trips this year were with friends or siblings. This helps us split the cost on a hotel, Ubers to the hotel, and other supplies. If you travel with other people and split some of these other money saving costs I’m sharing, you will save even more.
8.Bring Your Own Cereal For Breakfast: My family grew up traveling and one of the ways we saved money was by bringing cereal with us on our trip. We will bring 2 – 3 bags of cereal and then at the hotel we buy a small thing of milk and keep it in the fridge or the ice bucket and eat cereal for breakfast. You can save so much money by finding a hotel that doesn’t give you breakfast (although not always), and also bringing your own breakfast can save you money on purchasing breakfast each day.
9.Bring A Portable Phone Charger: This is also not necessarily a way to save money, but is one of my favorite hacks. Purchase a portable phone charger before you leave on your trip so that you always have your phone handy (especially during Disneyland). When you are at the park, you can actually purchase a portable phone charger for $30! I don’t want to spend $30 on a phone charger for a day, when I can spend next to nothing purchasing one before I go. I would recommend this one (currently on sale) or this one.
10. Don’t Check A Bag (Bring Travel Items): Some airlines let you check a bag for free, and if that’s the case then this isn’t for you, but there are many times when we are saving money that we aren’t able to check a bag unless we pay for it. That’s when we make sure to only pack enough in our carry ons. One of the tricks we use while not checking a bag is to purchase empty travel sized bottles and fill them with our own items at home. This helps me be able to take my own shampoo and conditioner, and still not need to check a bag.
What are your favorite travel tips and essentials? I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below!