I like to consider myself the “Travel Finesse Goddess”. I love to take incredible vacations without breaking the bank. Every week, I get several messages asking, “Where can I travel outside of the US for cheap?” After doing research and taking several international trips of my own over the last year, I’ve narrowed down a few international destinations that will allow you to not break the bank and still travel like a celebrity.
A trip to Mexico should be no more than $800 for a 3-4 day stay. You can fly out of the U.S. for under $300, lodge in an AirBnB or even a nice hotel for under $200, and have $300 left over for food, tours, and souvenirs. The key to frugal traveling in Mexico is going during “low seasons”. This means avoiding traveling during spring break or summer. I went to Mexico City last year for New Years on a $180 round-trip flight, $250 hotel room/4 Nights, and $200 for food, souvenirs, and tours.
Mexico has a lot to offer and is budget friendly. If you love beaches, look into Cancun or Cabo and instead of staying at an all-inclusive hotel ($1000+), consider a cheaper hotel or AirBnB. I found Airbnbs for $40 a night or hotels starting off at $55 a night (Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inns). By saving money on lodging, you can splurge more on food and sightseeing. If you are more of a history fanatic such as myself, consider traveling to Mexico City. Hotels start off at $55 a night and Airbnb’s are around $40. Mexico City has a lot of museums that are either free or under $10 USD to get into. It also has pyramids tours, free parks, shopping malls, and the famous Frida Kahlo Museum. Puerto Vallarta is great if you love sitting on the beach or hiking. I went in October with my bestie and we did a nice jungle tour for around $30 USD. All of the cities I listed are “walkable cities” which means you don’t have to splurge on a rental car.
Ok, so prior to going to the Bahamas this year during Mardi Gras weekend, I’ve had heard that the Bahamas was too expensive. That was not the case. You simply have to know how to plan ahead what you want to do on the trip and budget accordingly. I booked my lodging in January ($80 for 4 nights), tours about 2 weeks prior and I planned to cook a lot of my food. When I arrived in Nassau, I went to the grocery store and brought items I knew I needed. I only ate out twice. Nassau is literally a “walkable city”. You can take a cab (book prior online) to and from the airport and walk everywhere else. The Bahamas is rich in history and full of places to visit for free like The Queen’s Staircase and the Rum Factory. You can also find flights to the Bahamas for under $300 which is cheaper than most cruises where you would only spend a few hours in the Bahamas.
I lucked up and saw one of my Facebook friends posting about a deal too good to be true. A flight from New Orleans to Barbados (with a day layover in Fort Lauderdale) for under $200. I went online and used a travel credit and proceeded to book that flight. I rented an Airbnb for $20 a night and I rented a car due to wanting to drive to different parts of the island and a car was the best bet. I traveled to majority of the parishes and had the best time of my life!
The best thing about Barbados and the Bahamas is that they take USD. The conversion rate is 2:1 and 1:1 respectively.
I’m currently planning my 30th Birthday to Thailand and I’m excited! Everyone who I’ve talked to said that Thailand is a cheap destination to go to. You can buy food for $4. Besides visiting Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands to play with monkeys, there are plenty of additional things to do as a budget traveler. You can relax on the beaches, explore elegant Buddhist temples, shop at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, and check out the New York City of Thailand, Bangkok.
Start a Travel Fund. Just like you have an emergency fund and a Christmas fund, you should have a travel fund. Open a separate savings account and just start putting money in it. When Southwest or United have those $200 flights, you want to have the money to purchase ASAP.
Pick a side…..Time or Place. When looking for destinations I often hear people saying they look for a place during a specific time. That’s how trips get expensive. It pays to be flexible.
Travel during Low Seasons. If you want to go to Paris for under $500 or the Bahamas for under $250, travel during the low seasons. Paris is cheaper in the winter. Tickets are normally under $500 starting in our late fall until March. January through March and After Labor Day is a great time to visit the Bahamas.
Until next time….