I just participated in a really fun Twitter Chat hosted by Passion Passport. The topic was near and dear to our hearts: budget travel. And I think you'll find both the questions and my answers helpful in planning your next escape, whether it's a close-to-home road trip or a trek around the globe. (And if you enjoy this kind of chat, be sure to follow @BudgetTravel on Twitter.)
Q1: Do you lay out a budget before setting off, or are you thrifty while traveling? (Or both?)
A1: Budget for the biggies like airfare and hotel, but give yourself discretionary $ for great meals and splurgey shopping
Q2: How do you start planning a budget for an upcoming trip?
A2: Find the sweet spot between the region’s hotel rates and your available funds so you know how many days to plan for
Q3: Is there a tool you find particularly helpful with budgeting your travels? Share it with us!
A3: Diversify search @Fareness @Hipmunk @HotelTonight @Hopper. But always call a hotel directly to book and ask for a better rate
Q4: What’s your biggest challenge in travel budgeting?
A4: Saving in advance! Get direct deposit into a savings account at a bank that’s not near your home (for real)
Q5: What strategies do you use to save money while traveling?
A5: Visit museums on free days; picnic with local breads, cheeses, olives for lunches; savor local parks
Q6: Share a photo from what you consider your best-budgeted trip. What did you do there that was different?
A6: Point Pleasant NJ in September: The boardwalk is still open, the weather is warm, but hotel rates are way down
Q7: What destination do you think is especially cost-effective?
A7: Right this minute: Greece is the word
Q8: How do you best save money in a typically expensive destination?
A8: Shoulder Season: beach towns and Europe in fall; the Caribbean between Thanksgiving and Christmas; Hawaii in spring
Q9: What is your favorite travel activity that’s free? Share a photo!
A9: Your most precious travel memories may be FREE: strolling through a big city park and picnicking on a bench
Q10: What kind of travel do you think is easiest to save money on? Road trips, backpacking, etc.?
A10: We are champions of the great American road trip for its affordability, fun, and of course food
A10: And we have upward of 100 beautiful American road trip itineraries on BudgetTravel.com
Q11: What’s your number one tip for saving while traveling?
A11: Rock-bottom airfares and hotel rates are bundled into package tours, great for overseas and far-flung destinations
Q12: What is your next budget travel destination?
Q12: I’m making an Escape From NYC to Montreal, always a bargain, friendly, and delicious