8 Tips to Plan a Trip on a Budget

Planning a trip can be both overwhelming and exciting. It requires a thorough search, time and commitment. The hardest part when you plan a trip is where to start, how to find cheap airline ticket and the desire to see it ALL. Therefore, here are my tried and tested tips to plan a trip on a budget.

Tips to plan a trip on a budget

Usually, when I travel, I like to wander the streets, find hidden gems and experience the country like a local. I am not a big museum fan, so I eliminate museum hunt most of the time. However, there are some types I like to go, like Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, or Chernobyl Museum in Kiev.

And I plan all my trips, without the help of a travel agency or anyone, I have developed some hacks I want to share with you. So let’s get into this!

Find your destination

First and for most, decide where you want to go. Skyscanner has this great feature, where you put your location and chose “flexible” in the “To” section. It gives you all the possibilities where you can go from your area. After you decide your destination, this is where the fun part – planning – starts. Well, at least that’s quite fun for me 🙂

If you are reading this on mobile, download Skyscanner App to start your trip planning

Google your destination

Ask our very old, good friend Google to show you top things to do in your destination and look at the best season to go there. It will be cheaper if you plan a trip in low season when the price of accommodation drops.   

tips to plan a trip on a budget

For instance, I when I planned my trip to Croatia, I searched for top cities in the country. I wrote down every town I wanted to visit. My first destination had to be Dubrovnik, so I had to figure out the route accordingly.

Find out if you need a visa

We all have a privilege to travel to some countries visa-free, but there are others we do require to file documents with the nearest embassy. One of the tips to plan a trip on a budget is to look up the visa requirements of the country you plan to visit. I usually search on Wikipedia and then double check the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Counselor Department to get information where can I get that visa. 

Pin destinations on the map

tips to plan a trip on a budget

Once I wrote down all the cities I wanted to visit in Croatia, I looked them up on a Google Maps. I knew I wanted to island hop and go along the coast of the country. I knew I had to end my trip to Zagreb, so I created a perfect trip, that included most of the destinations I had listed before.

Buy tickets as early as possible

Airline tickets can be the most expansive aspect of your trip. Therefore, buy it at least four months ahead is a great idea. I bought my tickets almost seven months before, and I paid the lowest price I have ever spent for such a long trip.

Read posts of travel bloggers

This is one of my favorite tips to plan a trip on a budget – reading other posts on the destination and getting the idea what to expect. Pinterest is an excellent way to find interesting spots and places in your destination. Thanks to it, I found a small town Trogir in Croatia that I haven’t seen in other articles I searched on Google.

tips to plan a trip on a budget

Besides, you can find posts on pretty much anything, such as where to eat, how to get to a particular place, what are free things you can do, etc.

Search for public transportation

Looking up the internal transportation system is another essential part of your planning. As you identify which places you want to see, search how to get there. As neither I nor Oto drive, I looked for buses and ferries that would take us to the islands and cities. Moreover, this will help you identify the budget for transportation.

Find the accommodation

If you are traveling alone, the best and cheapest for you would be hostels. I love staying at hostels where I can meet like-minded people. Sometimes I even get tips from fellow travelers on particular spots I am planning to visit.

tips to plan a trip on a budget

When traveling with a group of friends, Airbnb is the best option. And if you don’t have an account yet, you can get $25 off your first stay from me.

I also tend to search my accommodation at Booking.com (click here to get 10% cash back) when I am short on money and can’t pay reservation or total fee right away. Many lodgings listed at Booking.com have free cancellation and pay at the property rule; this comes handy quite often.

Moreover, once you book five accommodation options, you become a Genius member and instantly get 10% discount along with other perks like late check-in or check-out, welcome drink, etc.

Start the preparation process

You identified pretty much everything. Now think of the items you will need on your trip and start purchasing them. For this trip, I needed a new backpack, travel insurance, a microfiber towel, and some GoPro accessories.

Don’t put everything to the last minute. Start buying those things as early as possible. This way you will be able to save some money for the trip as well.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments down below, or connect with me on my social media channels. I will be happy to assist you as much as possible.

Happy Travels! 

tips to plan a trip on a budget

Red Fedora Diary is bilingual quality travel resource that inspires people to get out there and see the world on a budget. The blog provides destination information, authentic travel stories and useful information to help everyone travel the world on a budget. Red Fedora Diary focuses on giving honest advice to its readers.


  • Eric Gamble

    Great info about planning a trip! I always research other blogs before travelling cause I am not trying to re-invent the wheel. Plus most bloggers can find great hidden gems that I would have never found from a regular travel guide book!

  • Amanda

    Great tips. I am a big fan of planning and buying tickets as soon as possible for saving money. Especially, since I travel with a big family. I need all the prep time I can get.

  • Wendy Maes

    Perfects tip for the perfect trip! I Always book tickets a year before (for long trips). We often choose a travel destination based on deals we find. We fly business class to Bangkok for 1200 euro in Feb.

  • FS Page

    This is exactly what I do while planning a trip. I also always ensure to download the Google map of the area I am visiting just in case if I lose connectivity and trust me it has helped me a lot. Reading posts of other bloggers is other thing I ensure doing. I get lots of insights about the place from there rather than from reading a Wiki page. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sophie

    I usually follow these steps too when I prepare my trips, but the problem is there is always sooo much information and I never know when to stop. My travel plannings end up being as thick as a novel 😛

  • Anna

    Some good tips there. I would also add following some blog posts who can recommend off the beaten path experiences.

  • Louree

    A little advance planning can also help travelers travel more sustainably. Especially with transportation, you can map out public transport and places that are within walking distance 🙂

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