6 innovative ways to stick to your travel budget

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When it comes to travel it can be hard to stick to a budget, so we look for innovate ways to snag a trip without paying right away. From book now, pay later options to home exchanges and volunteering, here are six ways you can snag a trip without paying up right away.

Book now, pay later cruises

6 ways to snag a trip without paying up (at least, right away)
Make your dream cruise a reality by booking now and paying later (Image: Kabacchi)

If you dream of spending a week on the open sea, enjoying on-board entertainment, all-you-can-eat buffets and exotic onshore excursions, listen up: you don’t need to pay up right away if you want to set sail on your next getaway. Many cruise lines let you book your cruise in advance without paying in full (typically with a deposit). If you book a cruise that’s at least three months away (though you may want to look 6 months or a year away to give you more time to pay off the cruise), you can book right away to reserve your spot. Then, you simply need to pay off the balance for your cruise before your departure date. Some promotions even let you book without a deposit, like this JetBlue promotion that waives initial booking deposits for cruises at least 110 days in the future.


Book a FunJet vacation and you won’t have to worry about paying right away. Lock in your dream vacation with a small deposit ($50, $100 or in some cases, $0!) and make sure your travel dates are at least a few months out. From there, you can make payments on your vacation as long as you make sure it’s paid off at least 45 days before your departure date. With a la carte and all-inclusive vacation options all around the world, this book now, pay later option is flexible enough to ensure you can afford the vacation of your dreams on your terms.


This airfare lock-down website is a commitment-phobe’s dream: users can lock in a fare for up to 21 days before actually booking the flight. Simply find your flight on the website and pay a hold fee to lock in the price for as little as three days or up to three weeks. Then, you can take your time deciding whether or not you’d like to book — without the anxiety of wondering whether or not the price is going to increase in the meantime. If you change your mind about your trip entirely, you have no obligation to purchase the airfare, so think of Options Away as a sort of low airfare insurance policy.


6 ways to snag a trip without paying up (at least, right away)
Home swapping can be a very affordable way to stay in posh digs around the world (Image: Jeda Villa Bali)

Sites like HomeExchange let users snag trips without paying up by setting up “home swaps” with other travelers around the world. Rather than paying money to stay in someone’s home, you arrange to let each other stay in each other’s homes for free. On Home Exchange, users list their homes and are connected with other users to arrange for possible swaps. You might exchange homes with another user for the same weekend (they stay at your place while you stay at theirs), space out your trips or even do a hospitality exchange, where you’re hosted by the other party. This can be a particularly money-saving travel strategy if you’re planning to visit a destination with rather expensive hotel options.


6 ways to snag a trip without paying up (at least, right away)
WWOOF your way around the world and you’ll be able to spend your time with the locals — even the four-legged kind! (Image: jessicareeder)

Another option for free accommodations is WWOOFing. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF, connects members with host farms and growers around the world that are willing to host you in exchange for helping with tasks around the farm. Spend your days picking apples, tending to farm animals or making homemade cheeses or bread — and enjoy free accommodations and plenty of free time to explore the farm and beyond. Staying with a host through WWOOF is completely free — you’ll just have to pay a small fee (usually about $50) to maintain annual membership to WWOOF in your host country.

Frequent Flyer Miles

Don’t forget to put your frequent flyer miles to good use! If you regularly travel with a single airline (or within a network of airline partners), your accumulated miles might be enough to snag a free one-way or round-trip flight to your preferred destination. If you haven’t been gathering miles on a single airline, consider booking with one airline in the future to make the most out of every airfare you purchase.

(Main image: moolanomy used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

6 innovative ways to stick to your travel budget was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.