I’m 25, a newlywed, and employed at Big Fuel doing what I love. I work hard and grateful to have job stability, but sometimes you just need a break. The issue: Taking a vacation when discretionary income is almost nonexistent. Social media to the rescue. Traveling on a budget changes how you travel, but there is a world of online tools that can help you find the perfect place to vacation without breaking the bank. So as a service to my fellow digital compadres who haven’t nailed the big stock options yet, I offer my budget travel tips:
1. Hit the blogs. Here are three travel blogs I frequent: New York Travel lovers, this is the site for you. Jauntsetter comes fully equipped with interviews, travel deals and trip recommendations based on first-hand experience. I Wanna Go There is a great travel social networking tool. Here you can create your own travel profile, view custom trip itineraries and get real tips and facts from people just like you. Trip Wolf is for the world traveler, with awesome blog entries that incorporate deals on flights, hotels and car rental. Visiting the site is like going on a mini-vacation.
2. Find alternative accommodations that don’t break the bank. Where to stay is always the biggest question when it comes to deciding where to go. Think a three-star hotel is budgetfriendly? These sites are some of the best places to find alternative accommodations when you are on a seriously tight budget. Airbnb has every accommodation you can think of and relies heavily on personal reviews that are surprisingly truthful. And Hostel World shows over 24,000 hostels in around 180 countries via its social network and travel community. If you really can’t spare any extra dough, Couchsurfing ( literally provides free accommodations and house swaps with people from all over the world. It takes a little extra planning on your part to find a travel time that matches your swap but it can be done.
3. Travel standards have changed with the times. When you’re looking for the best travel deals, airline websites and travel search sites are really started to bulk up their usability. Kayak, Orbitz, and Travelocity have all created a mobile app with their search functions so you can plan your travel from your phone.
4. Travel Books are out. Use these mobile apps and be paper free while your having fun! Find wifi wherever you are with the JiWire Wi-Fi Finder app. Use either the Lonely Planet app or the HearPlanet app and have a virtual tour guide in your pocket.
Remember, don’t stress out about planning. Figure out what would be relaxing and fun, and use these tools to find the simplest options. You don’t want to need a vacation from vacation traveling. Wherever you end up, enjoy your break and let yourself recharge. The grind will wait.