7 Best Travel Tips for a Winter Budget – Better Life

Winter weather is fun and fun with its delicate dancing snowflakes, sparkling icy branches and merry christmas lights. Fast forward to mid-winter, though – when gray mud carpets the roads, wearing your once-cute outerwear has become monotonous, and spring green seems like a world apart. When winter starts to get downright dreary, it makes sense to fancy a little getaway. The good news is that you can escape winter on a budget without wasting tons of cash.

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Imagine it now: you, on a boat, the warm wind in your hair and the drink of your choice in your hand. It may seem impossible, but if you’re a flexible traveler looking for a last-minute getaway, a cruising is a great way to save money.

“Cruise lines and tour groups usually come up with amazing last-minute deals because they don’t want to leave with half the capacity empty,” says Matthew Kepnes of Matt Nomad and an ambassador of Onomy. “Both industries have taken a hit in the last couple of years, [and] there are tons of great deals happening. It’s a great way to escape winter and get a tropical vacation package at a great price.”

It says the website CruiseSheet often publishes cruises that cost as little as $50 a day, and intrepid journey often offers 15-30% discounts on last minute tours.

Woman traveling alone

You can also save a lot of money by booking your winter trip on less busy travel days.

“If you have some flexibility, try to book any trip for weekdays or other off-peak times when ticket prices are cheaper,” says Bryn Culberttravel specialist at Wanderu. “For example, book a weekend getaway after Martin Luther King Day instead of trying to work out a deal to get out of town over the three-day weekend.”

She adds that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally less popular days to travel, so you can often find cheaper tickets departing on those days.

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Budapest, Hungary

Put on your adventure hat and consider traveling somewhere more off the beaten track.

“Forget Mexico and go to Guatemala instead. Avoid Paris and head to Budapest. Forget Brazil and face Bolivia,” says Kepnes. “There are so many cheap alternatives and budget destinations around the world if you explore the possibilities beyond the more popular destinations.”

Traveling on a low budget
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The urge to get away during the holiday season is tempting, especially if you have family to see. However, if you postpone your winter travel plans until January, February or March, you will find some serious savings.

Demand drops dramatically after the New Year, making flights, accommodation and excursions much cheaper than they were even a week before. In fact, you can expect to save over 50% on some of these costs.

“January and February are among the cheapest months of the year to travel,” Kepnes says. “So start browsing the flights and see what deals you can find. Also, you’ll enjoy the destinations more because there will be fewer crowds.” A simple search on Scott’s Cheap Flights, KayakWhere Google Flights will fill a ton of tempting offers.

Travel by coach

Many major US cities are actually within a few hours drive of hottest destinations. Remember to head south for tropical atmospheres or a little west for fun in the desert. While flights can often be expensive, taking a bus is significantly cheaper.

“If you’re in San Francisco, a bus to LA is around $50 in December, and you can regularly find affordable bus tickets from DC or New York to Florida for less than $100,” Culbert says. “Buy your tickets at least two weeks before your trip for maximum savings and add travel insurance to protect your trip in the event of a bus delay or cancellation.”

And if you book an overnight bus, you’ll have an extra day in your warm destination while saving on your hotel costs.

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Train sleeping car
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Sometimes we just want to get to where we’re going, but if you’re able to embrace the process of getting to your destination as an essential part of your getaway, it can make for an amazing journey.

“The train travel experience can in itself be the ultimate escape from the dreadful winter weather, especially for those who adopt a ‘slow travel’ mindset,” says Culburt. “Go for a train journey in a sleeper cabin instead of booking a hotel in one of the stopover towns. Amtrak sleeper tickets include meals in the ticket price, which also saves you on food costs.

Wanderu actually designed a unique route by train which goes around the entire American continent for less than $1,000. You can enjoy the seven-day trip from a warm and comfortable railcar, as you cruise past some of the country’s beautiful winter landscapes, from snowy New England scenes to Southwestern deserts and California coastlines.

Solo traveler

The best way to save money on winter travel? Explore your own backyard. Chances are you haven’t seen everything your city has to offer, so put on your tourist hat and make a whole weekend of it!

“Check out and see what unique activities you can do that you wouldn’t otherwise do,” Kepnes says. For instance, eat with can be found in cities around the world. It offers unique, locally created culinary experiences.” AirBnB Experiences are another great place to look for fun activities, and TripAdvisor is bound to spark a ton of ideas, too.

If you live in a big city, Kepnes recommends going through your local tourist office for a city sightseeing pass. “These cards let you see a wide range of local attractions for free or at a discount and can be your way to see your local sights on a budget,” he says. “They’re not just for strangers!”

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