Raise your hand if you’re planning to travel more this 2020 but you’re too broke.

We get it – traveling isn’t cheap. The fun of discovering a new place on earth, seeing a breathtaking view, eating something new, and sharing it online all comes with a price. But just because it’s not cheap doesn’t mean you’ll keep putting your travel plans on hold ‘til you’re earning 6 digits.

Traveling without a huge budget is possible. You can take a few tips from frugal travelers who can get the most out of their travel experiences while saving money.

Below are 11 habits of smart and frugal travelers you might want to emulate.

  1. They research and plan their own trip
    While other people hire travel agencies to plan their trip and book everything for them, frugal travelers save money by putting together their own itinerary. They watch travel vlogs and read guidebooks to know more about their destination.
    Today, you can get as many resources available online to plan your own trips, research your destination, and book tours, hotel accommodation, and transportation, from the comfort of your home.
  2. They create a realistic travel budget
    Frugal travelers never leave the house without having a detailed travel budget, from large expenses like hotel bill to the smallest of details, like snacks on the road.The major expenses you need to consider include airfare, accommodation, ground transportation, food and drink, attractions or entertainment, and emergency funds. You may also consider your budget for souvenirs but try not to let these expenses make you spend more money than you should.
  3. They know when and when not to go
    Smart travelers know that they can save money simply by timing their travel right. Research the high seasons of your target destination. If you travel during the peak season, you’re likely to encounter big crowds and pay higher rates.
  4. They are tech-savvy
    If you want to cut down costs, you need to be knowledgeable about travel apps and websites. You can find apps for fare-watching, filtering airline and hotel deals, arranging hotel accommodation, and finding cheaper alternatives to expensive hotels and tours.For flight and hotel deals and sales, you can look through Google Flights, Expedia, Kayak, Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, and Agoda. These sites aggregate flight and hotel information so you can compare and find ones that match your budget and schedule.
  5. They’re always updated
    Ever wondered why your frugal, travel buff friend knows about the latest airfare promos? How she’s aware that you can save more when you book a hotel in Parramatta than a hotel near the Sydney Opera House?Chances are that they keep themselves posted on the latest deals. They join social media groups that alert them to sweet travel deals. They may have also subscribed to travel sites, airlines, and hotel chains to receive e-mail alerts about deals and discounts.
  6. They’re flexible
    In many cases, frugal travelers don’t travel when everyone does. They’re flexible with their travel dates and times.Some examples include traveling mid-week to prevent weekend price hikes, booking last-minute trip deals, having a long layover, and availing periodic flight sales to different groups of destinations.
  7. They look explore alternatives to standard hotels
    Traveling with a large group? You may want to rent an apartment, condo, or house in Airbnb than booking two hotel rooms. Traveling solo? If you only need a decent room with a bed, you may consider hostels.Modern frugal travelers don’t book a standard hotel right away – they look for other lodging options that will offer a better value for their money.
  8. They know what to look for in an ideal hotel
    Smart travelers can be overthinkers when it comes to booking hotels. They thoroughly research what each hotel brand offers and compare.Frugal folks won’t pay extra for a room with a view or a larger room, as well as amenities they won’t use anyway. However, they’re attracted by hotels with complimentary meals for kids, free breakfasts, free wi-fi and parking, and other deals that will help them save money.
  9. They don’t eat in areas near tourist destinations
    Seasoned frugal travelers know the drill: stay away from restaurants near big tourist attractions, which are designed to trap gullible, non-local visitors. They’re not just overpriced – they’re also not authentic.
  10. They’re always on the lookout for freebies
    Next to hotel freebies, frugal travelers love free walking tours, free museum access, free entry to top visitor attractions, and other fun, unforgettable experiences that won’t require them to spend a single penny.
  11. They don’t splurge on souvenirs
    Souvenirs should be the least of your priorities. The best souvenirs from your travels are often free: tickets, travel guide books, labeled table napkins, receipts, and photographs.Call me cheapskate but I’d rather spend my money on a unique, authentic local street food than on mass-produced knick-knacks on souvenir shops – unless they’re thoughtfully crafted by local artisans and patronizing them will help the local economy.

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the seasoned writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Hotel, a modern hotel located in the heart of Western Sydney, delivering top-class Parramatta accommodation. She has always been passionate about traveling, taking photos, and writing travel tips and tricks.