Budget Travel Tips for Beginners: How to Travel on a Budget and Save Money

Budget Travel Tips for Beginners

Nothing beats the freedom of stepping off the plane to a new destination. The possibilities, the experiences, the new friends. Life-long memories are waiting to be made. However, it often feels like there’s a significant financial barrier between us and these memorable experiences. The misconception is that seeing the world is difficult without coughing up an exorbitant fee. But is this really true?

This blog looks at the best tips for travelling on a budget. Those picture-perfect landscapes and crazy adventures are available for everyone with the right travel tips. Scroll down for our secret budget travel tips everyone should know when booking a dream holiday.

Keep Track of Expenses

When on holiday, the last thing travellers want to do is keep track of a spreadsheet or roleplay as an accountant. However, when travelling on a budget, it’s important to be mindful of expenses. Keeping track of expenses doesn’t just mean writing down everything spent. This budget travel tip works best with a pre-prepared holiday budget. Estimate daily food costs, and keep track of spending to ensure you stay within your budget. Travelers always appreciate arriving home with spare cash.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a math exercise, though! Hundreds of budgeting apps are available online to make expense tracking accessible for all. These allow users to plan an overall budget, divide spending into clear sections, and save for the future. From Mint to Goodbudget, these apps are one of the best hacks for budget travel.

Zip from City to City

Travel on a budget shouldn’t mean only visiting one destination. Yup, travelling from city to city (or even country to country) is doable on a tight budget and only a few smartphone taps away.

Once downloaded, users are connected to affordable bus, ferry, and train tickets worldwide. From the likes of Rome2rio to Skyscanner, these apps have routes for all travel styles. Buying bus and train tickets can easily consume a chunk of a travel budget. But these apps make it easy to compare prices and find the best deals. Plus, all tickets are stored in one place with 24/7 customer support. No more bus station wobbles and more time to soak up the experience.

Embrace the Chef Life

Food is a significant part of travel plans, and many travel the world to experience new cuisines. Sadly, eating out two to three times a day is expensive while on the road. Many assume travel on a budget doesn’t allow for extravagant meals or fine dining. But that’s totally wrong. Yes, travellers have to cut back—but they don’t have to go without.

Instead, self-catering is a budget-friendly option. It’s surprising how different ingredients are worldwide, and this is a chance to play the role of the international chef. Rent an apartment or a private room with kitchen facilities, and you can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals while saving money. Plus, it’ll unlock more culinary knowledge, too. Eeek!

Forget the Traditional Hotel

To some, deviating from traditional hotels is abhorrent. But booking alternative accommodations is a rite of passage. Travelling on a budget is all about saving, and accommodation usually takes up a big chunk of the vacation costs. Now, we’re not suggesting everyone should book into a wild party hostel. Travellers can find relaxed hostels, eco hostels, dormitories for women, private rooms, and infamous party hostels. There are options for all walks of life. Platforms like and Airbnb have a range of affordable accommodations, and they’re readily available worldwide. Guesthouses, Airbnbs, and staying with friends are also good options for travel on a budget. The key to nailing affordable accommodation is to always shop around. So, get looking now.

Travel Like a Local

When travellers arrive, zipping about and taking in the sights is the first motive. But this doesn’t have to be via an expensive taxi ride! Public transportation is not only budget-friendly, but it’s seriously worth it. Relying on taxis and rental cars can quickly empty a travel budget. Instead, take five minutes to make sense of the local metro map. It may seem daunting, but with a little practice, using local transportation becomes second nature.

Local transportation often includes buses, subways, trams, and trains. These options are a must for keen travellers. Avid shoppers might not enjoy this budget travel tip. However, capping the amount of cash spent on shopping is a vital tip. Yes, souvenirs are a timeless way to remember a vacation. But most travellers don’t need to return home with gifts for everyone they’ve ever met. Overbuying souvenirs also takes up valuable packing space alongside running down spending money. Lugging a weighty bag from hostel to hostel isn’t fun, trust us. When completing a travel budget, set a limit per destination or country to keep spending in check. There are plenty of affordable souvenirs—even in the “expensive” ones. Budget travel tips are all about shaving down expenses, so opt for freebies when possible. Examples of free activities include museums, parks, and popular walking tours. Yes, some tours are free! Tourists can typically find more information about free tours and activities with their hotel/hostel check-in or at a local information centre. When in doubt, Google and first-hand blog experiences are invaluable.

Dodge Tourist Traps

Look, those Instagrammable tourist activities may fit a social media feed perfectly, but they’re curated to fleece tourists. That might seem a little dramatic, yet it’s true (kinda). While some tourist attractions are worth tourists’ time, be sceptical before booking tickets. Often, it’s better to turn up, snap a few pictures and not pay the high entrance fees. Instead, when travelling on a budget, try some of the free activity ideas listed above and enjoy the destination’s ambience. Once tourists start avoiding over-hyped traps, they never look back…

Enjoy Shoulder Season

Planning a vacation in the middle of the school summer holidays? This is a big travel on a budget no-no. Though the weather is great in the peak season, costs are higher, cities are busier, and tourists have to spend more to have a good time. Thankfully, travellers don’t have to kiss sunny days goodbye to save some money. Introducing shoulder season. During this time, the prices drop, and the weather is still warm. A win-win for anyone with a flexible schedule. Here’s a quick overview of shoulder season for different destinations:

  • Europe: Late September to early November or Mid-April to early June
  • Asia: March to May or September to November
  • America: September to November or March to May

Be Ready & Book in Advance

Finally, our last budget travel tip is one of the most obvious but forgotten hacks. Be prepared and book ahead! Remember that this isn’t always feasible. However, reserving early is a surefire way to save money. Costs go up the longer tourists wait to book. It’s a sad fact of life. But they can beat these time-dependent surcharges by planning a basic itinerary and filling the gaps with accommodation and activity reservations before arrival.

Travel is a life-changing goal, and one everyone should experience. Hopefully, these budget travel tips have inspired any keen travellers to book their next adventure. From riding the metro to booking out-of-season, these tips will shave off some big savings. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money should travellers have when travelling?

The amount of money needed to travel on a budget depends on where travellers are going. Typically, backpackers budget around £1000 – £1500 for each month of travel. An approximate budget sheet is the best way to work out monthly costs.

How to travel without hassle?

One way to travel without extra hassle is by booking ahead. Pre-booking gives travellers a clear plan to follow without stress. Some might prefer to go with the flow more, but booking early is a great travel tip for beginners.

What is the least expensive time to travel?

The least expensive time to travel is in the off-season. It varies from location to location, so travellers should check the specifics of where they’re going. The second most affordable time to book is the shoulder season.

What should I book first when travelling?

A general rule for travelling on a budget is to book flights before any accommodation or activities. This is because flight prices change more than others. Lock in this expense first to prevent paying large last-minute costs.

What are three important things to prepare for a trip?

The three most important things to have include passports, travel documents, and medications/prescriptions. These are the travel holy grail items. Don’t forget them (or any of the previous tips for travelling on a budget).

Best Time to Travel to Italy: A Guide for Budget Travelers

Budget Travel: Best Time to Travel to Italy

When you’re planning your trip to Italy, it’s easy to forget one of the most important factors: the best time to travel to Italy! None of Italy’s top destinations are the same year-round — and there are benefits to coming at certain times of year over others. There’s no single “best time” to travel, it will depend on what you want to see and what you want to do in Italy. If you have a little flexibility in your trip planning, here are the upsides and downsides of the different times of year to visit Italy.

High Season: June to August

The height of high season. This is when to expect three-hour lines at the Vatican and a Pompeii filled with so many tourists, the ancient site looks like it’s come back to life. This is also when the weather gets hot. Be prepared for highs in the 80s and 90s across Italy, particularly from Rome and farther south, often with a fair amount of humidity to boot. Since so much of sightseeing in Italy involves walking — and since so few restaurants, and even museums, are air-conditioned — heat is worth taking into account. That said, there are a couple of benefits to coming in the summer. One is that, at least before summer kicks off in August (more on that next) and lots of Italy’s cities throw summer events. In Rome, for example, there’s opera at the Baths of Caracalla and 2km of shops, bars and restaurants opened on the walkway down at the Tiber River. Nightlife also tends to pick up.

August, though, is a completely different beast. This is when Italy shuts down for the holiday of Ferragosto. Italians flee the cities for the shore. Dating back to ancient Roman times, Ferragosto technically begins on August 15 and ends at the start of September… but in reality, it stretches on much longer. What does Ferragosto have to do with travel to Italy? Well, with the majority of Italians leaving the cities, the majority of good (read: authentic and non-touristy) restaurants are closed, as are many wine bars, cafes, pharmacies, family-owned shops, and doctors’ offices. Rome, for example, can feel like a ghost town, one in which Romans have been replaced by big tour groups. So if you like people-watching — and having your subject be the local people — August is the time to come. If you must come to Italy in July or August, though, perhaps consider some more off-the-beaten-path sites. Rent a villa in Umbria or Le Marche, in Tuscany, find a relatively-quiet spot of shore in Puglia, or be counterintuitive and head to the typically skiing-focused towns of the Italian Alps. There are plenty of corners of Italy that remain quiet in the summer; you just have to find (and choose!) them. For an in-depth look at this crazy time of the year in Italy, read our blog on Italian holidays.

Shoulder Season: March to May and September to November

March and April are the “shoulder season,” that sweet spot when the weather’s good and the crowds haven’t yet come in droves. That said, it depends on exactly when you’re coming. It also depends on when Easter falls, as the holiday usually marks the beginning of high season. (If Easter’s especially late, though, the crowds start coming before). And anytime schools are off, you can expect more families to be traveling. Easter week itself, meanwhile, is extremely busy. Also make sure to double-check opening times of sites around Easter, and know that many shops and restaurants tend to be closed on Easter Monday, as well as on April 25 (Liberation Day). Outside of Easter, though, most destinations, especially in March, are much less crowded than they’ll be in June through September. And weather-wise, while it can still be a little rainy, there are also plenty of beautiful days — and the temperature’s very mild. In Rome and Florence, temperatures tend to be in the 50s and 60s. For all of these reasons, for most travelers, we recommend March and April, outside of Easter week, as two of the best months to visit Italy.

September’s still, undoubtedly, high season. Not only that, but in the cities, the first two weeks often still suffer from a lingering summer with many shops and restaurants remaining closed. And don’t be fooled: It’s still summer, so for many parts of Italy, September isn’t exactly crisp. (Of course, it’s not as grueling as July and August, either: With temperatures in the 70s and 80s from Naples up to Venice, temperatures are pretty much on-par with those in June). Meanwhile, although early October can still be crowded (yes, even in the Cinque Terre and Amalfi coast), it’s one of our favorite months to be in Italy. The weather is often spectacular, cooling down enough that it’s generally in the 50s and 60s. There are more rainy days than in June or July, but the sun still shines. And, by the end of October, it’s significantly quieter in Italy’s major tourist destinations. It’s fair to say that late September, through early November, is another one of those “shoulder seasons” that we love. For more information, check out our travel guides.

Low Season: December to February

Although major cities will be busy right around New Year’s, by the second week of January, few tourists remain. (It gets a bit busier right around Valentine’s Day). Flights are cheap, hotels slash their rates, and even popular tourist sites are quiet. If you’ve ever dreamed about actually having space to move around the Sistine Chapel, or being able to hear yourself think in Florence’s Duomo, now’s the time to come. It’s also the time of year for the holiday that marks the coming of Lent and falls in February or early March. Towns and cities across Italy celebrate with festivals, parades, and theater. Although it’s a festive, fun time to be here, in most cities in Italy, including Florence and Rome, you won’t find a big influx of tourists or a rise in prices in response. But if you’re going to a place where Carnival is truly famous — like Venice or Viareggio — you definitely will find crowds and higher prices. You also might need to make hotel reservations up to a year in advance, so plan ahead! Also remember that some places might be closed on January 1, or on January 6, the Epiphany (a holiday marking the official end of the Christmas season), so check museum opening times if you’re on a tight schedule. Weather-wise, it can be a crapshoot. January is often the coldest month of the year, so pack your warm clothes, particularly if you’re heading north: Venice’s average temperature in January is (brr) just 30°-42°F. Rain is also common, but there can be sparklingly clear, crisp days, too. Not to mention that there’s nothing quite as atmospheric as seeing the Venetian canals filled with fog, something you wouldn’t see if you came in the summer months! On the other hand, Venice’s canals sometimes flood in the winter; check out our Venice flooding guide for more info.

If cold isn’t your thing, the farther south you go, the milder it gets. It might be a good time to head south: Sicily’s weather remains in the 50s even in January, and in Naples, it tends to be in the 40s. At the other extreme, if you’re coming to Italy to ski, January and February are the best times to head to the Alps — but it can also be the most expensive. And if you’re heading to summer resort-style places, like Amalfi or the Cinque Terre, be aware that many tourist-centered restaurants and shops might be closed at this time of year. As far as the Cinque Terre goes, it’s also common for the famous hiking trails to close over the winter because of inclement weather. However, you can also get great deals and have these two famously crowded areas to yourself. We talk more about the pros and cons in our Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast guides.


In conclusion, the best time to travel to Italy depends on your preferences and travel plans. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and save money, consider traveling during the low season from December to February. If you want pleasant weather and fewer tourists, the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to November are ideal. And if you don’t mind the heat and want to experience bustling summer events, high season from June to August might be the best fit for you. So, plan your trip accordingly and enjoy all that Italy has to offer!

*Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.