Traveling in style and comfort is a preference for most, including us. But no matter your budget, it’s great to save money on travel, while not sacrificing comfort! We first met in a hostel in Belgium traveling solo after college 21 years ago, so we also understand budget and backpacker travel. Here are a variety of travel resources and tips to suit all budgets!
Saving Big Money on Travel
Thanks to a wide variety of travel hacks we’ve covered, you can often receive complimentary flights and hotel stays! We save thousands each year on travel thanks to them. We also save because we typically prefer traveling outside peak times, and often search for hidden gem destinations. We’re happy to share all our money saving travel resources with you!
Just a note that some, but not all the links mentioned below are affiliate links. We earn a small commission when you make a purchase through these links at no extra cost to you. If it suits your needs to use them, we thank you in advance 🙂
Booking is one of our favorite travel resources for booking hotels as well short term apartments. They typically offer the lowest prices, free cancellation and less hidden fees compared to many other aggregate travel booking sites. They also often reward frequent customers with additional discounts and free room upgrades too.
Decide whether a hotel or apartment is better suited for your vacation needs. For couples going on a honeymoon, a wide variety of options like luxury resorts, boutique bed and breakfasts and stylish apartments are great options.
Families and groups of friends will typically find the best value booking apartments over hotel rooms. Book listings with consistently great reviews for the best experience. Try and book with free cancellation, when possible, to minimize your risk in the event your plans change. Booking.com also lists apartments in addition to great properties to suit all budgets.
Tour Radar is a solid website for booking tours all over the world. Search their site for a wide variety of options from European river cruises to African safaris. You can also day tours or partial day tours for things like Italian food or wildlife tours in Panama or Borneo.
There’s a wide variety of travel styles and trips. We enjoy independent travel sometimes, but often it’s good to have a mix of experiences. And a good guide can take you places and teach you things that can be difficult to navigate on your own. And sometimes, it’s easier to just relax and have an entire trip planned for you!
VRBO is a great site for booking short term apartments. A wide variety of options are available, including houses, cabins, bungalows and cottages. Properties offer the privacy of home, with many comfortable and picturesque locations. It’s an ideal site to check out for families and groups of friends vacationing together.
Tripadvisor is a good travel resource for planning and booking. The long established site features reviews for hotels, restaurants and tours, as well as options to book. Check hotel reviews carefully, and be wary of fake reviews. If you’re unsure due to very mixed reviews, double check reviews on Google to be on the safe side!
Omio is another good travel resource for booking flights, hotels and train tickets. They scan over 1,000 companies to produce great search results.
It’s always worth comparing prices across multiple sites, because sometimes special deals are listed exclusively with certain sites. For airline tickets, if the price is the same it can be advantageous to book directly with the airline.
Hostelworld is a great resource for budget travelers. Bell and I first met while staying in a hostel in Brugge, Belgium, backpacking solo after college, which you can read more about it our about page. So we’re firm believers in staying in hostels during budget travels!
You can also find hostel listings on booking.com, but Hostelworld focuses specifically on hostel listings. Hostels are not only great for budget travelers, they can also be good for solo travelers, as sociable hostels organize activities like tours, pub crawls and hostel events that bring travelers together.
Package Holidays from the United Kingdom
loveholidays is a good site to search for vacation packages. Select the length of your vacation, say 7 days, and choose anywhere. Then a variety of package deals, mostly in Europe, north Africa and the Middle East will pop up. There are some excellent value deals at beautiful resorts – some of which are all inclusive. Packages often include airfare too. As loveholidays is a UK based company, airfare is normally listed from London.
Favorite Airlines in the USA
Delta ranks as the top American airline for customer service. Jet Blue ranks as the second best USA based airline for customer service. Both airlines offers complimentary in-flight entertainment and premium snacks included, even on domestic flights. They are our carriers of choice in the USA.
Favorite International Airlines
Top international airlines include Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, ANA and Cathay Pacific. These airlines offer premium business and first class seats that are ideal for luxury and business travelers. They also tend to offer premium service in economy compared to other airlines.
European airlines like Air France, British Airways and KLM tend to offer quality food and drinks on board. We generally prefer to fly European carriers compared to some USA based airlines.
Train Travel in Europe
Search for European train tickets on Rail Europe. Rail Europe scans train schedules and prices for trains on major European companies like EuroStar, Thalys and DB. It’s one of the best travel resources for searching and booking western European trains.
Discount European Airlines
You can sometimes score extraordinarily cheap plane tickets in Europe. Just be sure to print your boarding passes ahead of time and know how much luggage you will be traveling with in advance! Here are a few favorite discount airlines for those on a budget!
Booking Plane Tickets
Search multiple sites if you’re looking for the best deal, because no website always offers the best price. We usually start our search via Google Flights and check other websites from there. Read our articles on How to Buy Cheap Plane Tickets. Need help with your travel plans? Email me at alex(at)wanderlustmarriage.com and I can assist with your travel questions!
Best Travel Resource for Searching for American Bus Tickets
Wanderu is an aggregate site for buses. Not every route is offered but it is a great starting point. Popular routes in the northeast that we have taken are Boston – New York City and Washington, DC – New York City. Direct trips like that are only around 4 hours and you do not have to travel between airports.
Utilize Ride Sharing Apps
Uber is the cheapest and safest way to get around many countries globally. There is a GPS record of who picked you up and where you’re going. Most Taxi companies don’t offer that (some taxis are affiliated with Uber, like they are in Greece now).
In the United States, it’s also worth having the Lyft app on your phone to quickly compare prices and book the more inexpensive ride. In Europe, Bolt is equally or more popular than Uber in some countries, so it’s worth downloading the Bolt app for European travel.
Consider Nomad Insurance for Extended Trips
We spend upwards of months at a time working remotely abroad, when we’re not working from our house in Florida. We most recently did this last year, working remotely from countries like Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. We’re basically part-time digital nomads.
SafetyWing offers a variety of packages for Nomad Insurance that can cover expenses like medical bills should an unforeseen event occur overseas. You can purchase a policy if you’re already abroad. Like anything, be sure to read terms and conditions of coverage. Check out their policies to see if a plan is right for your needs.
Read our article on How to Make Money Off a Travel Blog. This gives you an inside look on many of the ways this website makes money, and how you can make money off a website of your own! There are so many ways, both directly and indirectly, that are detailed in the article.
Starting a Website
If you’re thinking to start a website, Blue Host has excellent deals for beginners. This is one of the best companies to kick off your online business while keeping your overhead costs down. However, they are not the best for technical support.
We recently switched to Big Scoots and their team made the transition seamless. They also offer speedy and quality technical support with their online ticketing system. If you can afford the higher cost, we recommend Big Scoots over Blue Host. It’s worth the additional money!
Complimentary Flights and Hotels Through Travel Hacks
We save thousands of dollars on travel every year thanks to the bonuses on travel rewards cards. Read our tips to save big. And please use our links when possible as it helps support independent travel journalism!
You can also read this guide on JohnnyJet on the best travel rewards cards.
Feel free to email me at alex(at)wanderlustmarriage.com and I can tell you some of the best deals currently on the market!
- If you own a hotel and it’s not already listed on booking.com use this link to have your property featured on booking and the first 5 bookings will be commission free!
Some Great Travel Sites and Blogs
Other great sites for travel information, inspiration and expat advice.
Frugal Traveler (New York Times)
Man About World (LGBTQ Travel)
Vacation Counts – a free app to track past vacation memories, optimize your work-life-vacation balance and maximize your vacation days.
Disclosure: This page contains some affiliate links (not all links here are affiliates). We receive a small commission when you book or sign up through our affiliate links and it costs you nothing extra. Please consider using them, as it helps maintain this site!