Just because you and your SO are cheapskates (or broke AF) doesn’t mean you can’t have great travel experiences together. Read on as we uncover the best ways to travel on a tight budget with the love of your life.
1. Plan ahead
You don’t need to have a tight itinerary, but you should have a gist of how long you’ll be spending in each location, city, or country. You should also know the route you’ll take and the available public transportation. Coming up with a plan helps eliminate unexpected spends, including accessible yet expensive dining places, taxis, and last-minute flights and accommodation.
2. Schedule your trip out of season
The general rule is the travel industry hikes up prices during peak seasons.
You can save money by traveling off-season with your partner. Research the best time to visit your intended destination. The rule of thumb is to avoid weekends, holidays, and school vacations where most tourists are likely available. Next, to lower hotel and airline prices, you may also enjoy fewer crowds – a win-win situation.
3. Be accommodation-savvy
Your lodging takes a huge chunk of your travel budget. If you’re opting for budget-friendly accommodation for couples, consider trading expensive hotel suites for hostels and B&Bs. Save more by scheduling your stays during mid-week, Sundays and other off-peak times.
Use a third-party booking site. Sites like booking.com allow you to search and compare different brands, from budget to luxury properties, across multiple destinations. However, don’t just think about the price – consider your destination, accessibility, comfort and safety level, and travel style.
4. Watch out for airline deals
Since airfares are likely the most expensive part of your travel budget, cutting on this expense truly does your wallets a favor.
Follow your local airlines on social media or sign up for e-mail alerts, and watch out for airline deals. Fly during the midweek. Fly economy too. The money you spent on cheap seats can be used for food, accommodation, and attractions.
5. Share a suitcase with your partner
Avoid unnecessary baggage fees and explore with a carry-on suitcase. If you must pay, consider sharing a suitcase for the both of you than carrying two heavy individual suitcases. Sharing a suitcase gives you less baggage to carry around, which means traveling would be a lot lighter and easier.
6. Learn to unload
Don’t spend time, money, and luggage space on things you can travel without. Remember these three things: pack less, think small, and travel light. Bring an easy to carry bag, containing fewer clothes, less gear, and less cash. Ditch things you can ask for in your hotel, like toiletries. Acquire the smallest, most comfortable hotel room possible.
7. Embrace public transport
Cabs provide a hassle-free way to get around an unfamiliar destination but they’re likely overpriced. The price of a few minutes travel could’ve been added to your lunch date. Take buses, trains, and subways. Walk short distances. Not only can you save but you’ll also feel more like a local.
8. Travel off the beaten path
Mainstream tourist attractions are popular for a reason, but they can be a nightmare for your wallet. Not to mention the hour-long queues and expensive yet mediocre dining places nearby. Try to visit other incredible places in the city. You may even discover hidden gems.
9. Trade fancy dinners for cheap date night ideas
Take your pick: Treat yourselves to a fancy dim-lit restaurant with steak and spirits and pay for a bill that’s as expensive as your hotel accommodation OR redefine your date night for half the price (or even less) with these ideas?
- DIY romantic picnic with a view. Go to a local supermarket and shop for roasted meat of your choice, a platter of cold cuts and bread, and a bottle of wine. Go on a picnic in a park, riverside, and other public places with a view. Go stargazing. If you’re lucky, you may watch fireworks display or street musicians.
- Chill night with an artsy vibe. If you and your SO love art and coffee, you may visit a themed café instead. Some cafés cater to visual art, film, and photography fans, allowing you to sip your favorite drink while gazing at art pieces or doing what you love.
- Dinner and drinks with live performances. From jazz bands to spoken word poetry, there are many bars with amusing performers to visit. Some places are free, others may ask for a small cover charge. Either way, these are still cheaper than fine restaurants plus you’ll get your money’s worth for the entertainment.
- Night food crawl. Want to trade comfort for an exciting gastronomic adventure? Consider sampling a wide range of local fares in night markets, street food stalls, and some hole in the wall eateries. Your fancy dinner budget could go a long way.
Tip: It’s wiser to search prospective restaurants online and evaluate their menu prices than pick the first restaurant you see.
10. Focus on experiences, not material things
The best things in life are free – don’t you agree? Don’t stress yourself out on buying pricey souvenirs you don’t need or waste cash on fancy dinners, shows, and events.
At the end of the day, it’s about you and your partner, and the beautiful place you’ve set your feet on. You can have the best time of your life as a couple in a cheap hotel, economy plane seat, or a nearby park, drinking soda as long as you have each other.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the resident writers for Cahernane House Hotel Killarney, a charming four-star boutique hotel, beautifully set on a picturesque private estate and near the bustling Killarney town centre. Her fondness for travel, food, and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content.