Travel Tips

Budget travel: What are the biggest travel expenses?

October 1, 2015
traveling on a budget intro

At IFBC 2015, one of the top questions I was asked by other bloggers was, “What are your tips for traveling on a budget?” When I began describing some of the tricks I use, I found out they aren’t common knowledge. That’s when I knew I needed to share them with other travelers as well. 

But first, I wanted to begin with an overview.

What are the biggest travel expenses, anyway?

Without a doubt, traveling is expensive, unless you have a significant number of airline miles or rewards points–and few people do, unless they’ve done a lot of business travel or are a brilliant travel hacker. However, there are plenty of ways to significantly reduce the amount of money you spend.

So, let’s first identify where your major trip costs will be coming from:

  1. Flights 
  2. Accommodations
  3. Food
  4. Other transportation (car rental, trains, etc.)
  5. Activities

This is generally the order in which your costs are the most expensive, too. Of course, the longer your trip gets, the more your accommodations and food will be, while your flight generally has a fixed cost (e.g. your flight price doesn’t increase with your vacation length), and only varies based upon whatever mysterious formula airlines use to calculate their prices.

Depending on your trip, your expenses may be slightly different. It helps to write them all down or put them in a spreadsheet and identify which the greatest expenses will be and which ones are the easiest to cut costs from.

Personally, I try to shave the most costs from #1 and #2. I budget #3 but will have a few splurge meals, because I’m on vacation: eating interesting, delicious, and unique food while I’m traveling is one of my priorities. #5 is generally already a pretty low-cost area for me, but I’ll still provide some tips on how to save there.

With all of this in mind, over the next few posts I’ll be providing tips on:

  1. Using flexible dates to save money (and even let you extend your trip)
  2. Knowing when you should  buy your plane tickets
  3. Living like a local to save money

Hopefully you’re excited, because I sure am. I’ll see you back here soon to chat about the first budgeting trick. In the meantime…

When you travel, what are your greatest expenses? What do you budget, and where do you choose to splurge?

Note: Active food bloggers received reduced admission to IFBC15 if they agreed to write at least three posts about the conference experience. All opinions in this article are my own.

Photo credit: Drew Coffman / Foter / CC BY


1 Comment

  • Reply Traveling on a budget: Be flexible - Plethora, Etc.Plethora, Etc. October 4, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    […] you’ve identified where your greatest costs are coming from, one of the first ways to cut down on trip expenses […]

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