travelLet’s keep it real, most of us are not bringing in the big bucks so as much as we love seeing the world, trying to plan that dream vacation can burn a hole in our pockets.

While some people are fortunate enough to fly first class and stay at pricey hotels and luxury resorts, many of us have to travel on a budget and get the biggest bang out of our little bucks.

Ballin’ on a budget isn’t impossible and doesn’t mean that you have to compromise comfort, safety or fun.

Check out these three ways you can take the trip of your dream and still stick to your budget.

Take Note of Peak vs. Off Peak Travel Times

Sure it sounds great to travel to Europe in July, but unless you’ve got about $1000 for the flight alone, budget travel in the summer is a going to be a tough one.

Try traveling during off-peak seasons like fall and winter. The weather might not be warm enough to get your tan on, but the weather may still be just as lovely … and so will the prices.

Just keep your eye on sites like Airfarewatchdog, Kayak Buzz and Skyscanner so you don’t miss deals when they pop up.

Packages Are Your Friend

Traveling solo and creating your own itinerary can be great, but it can also get a bit expensive. Using tour companies can deflect some of the travel costs since they are able to negotiate deals with hotels and airlines.

For example, try FriendlyPlanet.com where for as little as $1200 per person you can hit up places like Costa Rica, Barcelona and even Thailand and your airfare, hotels, tours and even a few meals are included!

I know it sounds too good to be true, but I’ve personally used them a few times for trips with friends and I haven’t had a bad experience yet.

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  • justanotheropinion

    Daughter & I are planning a graduation trip to Thailand in June (just the 2 of us). Probably landing in Bangkok, want to do Phuket and possibly do a side trip to Vietnam. Approx. 8-14 days (depends on cost). ANY suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated – looking to have a great adventure while not having to take out a 2nd mortgage. Thanks in advance.

    • Mia

      FriendlyPlanet.com has packages to Thailand (flight, tours accommodations included) with extension options. Check them out.

    • Pseudonym

      I second Friendly Planet! I did their Taste of Thailand 8-day and it was $1100 with flight, hotel, daily breakfast,etc. Once you’re there, don’t do tourist traps or only go to one fancy restaurant. You can eat really well for a couple dollars. Also, get ring-side seats to a muay thai fight, if you can. It’s a great experience and pretty cheap (I think it was $40USD when I went). Also, haggle with the cab drivers before you step into a cab…or tut tut (you definitely must take a tut tut). Make sure you have a price before you set off.

  • justanotheropinion

    Thank you Mia and Pseudonym – will start checking out Friendly Planet. Can’t thank you enough!

  • Has anyone tried bookit.com for vacation packages? Please let me know your experiences!