It seems crazy that I used to avoid travel so often because it was so expensive. True, depending on where you go and what you do, travel expenses can definitely add up. But the thing is, if you are savvy with your budget and know the right ways to make your money work for you, travel can be crazy affordable! On our recent couple’s getaway to Nashville, we managed to actually slash our expenses in half. Here’s how we stuck to a budget, saved money and still had a flippin’ blast in Nash.
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Planning your travel budget
First of all, before completely diving into how you can cut your travel expenses in half, I gotta talk about the importance of building a travel budget in the first place. In 2015 we were flat broke. Broker than broke, actually. We wanted to see more of the world (and take our kids along with us…sometimes).
The problem was, we were stuck in a big house we couldn’t afford. So, long story short, we sold it. We got intentional with our money, paid off our debt and started putting our money toward things we really wanted…like a Nashville vacation!
If you crave travel like we once did, check out The Bucket List Budget! It is the course I created that is jam-packed with all of the money management knowledge I have gained over a 5-year span. The Bucket List Budget is loaded down with everything you need to win with money and start saving for travel starting right now!
OK, I’m glad I got that off my chest…let’s talk Nash…
Our 3 day Nashville budget break down for 2
Here is a quick run-through of what our actual budget looked like for visiting Nashville.
- Flight: $73 for two round trip tickets from Minneapolis (After a $200 rebate from DeltaSkyMiles credit card)
- Airbnb: $450 for 4 nights plus gym and pool access
- Uber: $176 for 3 days of Nashville travel and 2 trips to and from the airport
- Food: $300 for 3 days See our $100 a day plan
Take advantage of credit card hacking
For this trip, I was able to cut our airfare from $273 to $73 by signing up for a DeltaSkyMiles travel perks credit card. There are insane benefits to using credit card to travel hack! (This is something I don’t recommend doing if you are currently in debt, or struggle to stick to a budget.)
If you are good at managing money and wanting to travel more on a budget, I highly recommend looking into travel credit card hacking.
Last year I took 2 free flights and enjoyed a free hotel stay by taking advantage of travel credit cards! Get the FREE Beginner’s Guide to Credit Card Hacking.
Consider week-day visits
Like any vacation spot, being intentional with the days you visit can do a lot for your budget. We flew into Nashville late Saturday night and flew home early Wednesday morning. This meant we had 3 full days in Nashville that were less crowded and way more affordable.
More affordable airfare
I always check Google Flights because I love the flexibility of choosing dates based on price. By opting for the off-days we were able to reduce the cost of our flight by over $100!
- Thursday – Monday = $289
- Saturday – Wednesday = $173
More affordable lodging
Another way that weekday visits will often save you a ton of money is on the cost of your hotel or vacation rental. Just by playing around with days, (even in the same week), some of the most desirable hotels in Nashville become up to $50 cheaper per night!
We personally opted for Airbnb.
Choose vacation rentals over hotels
I’m going to be honest, we chose to stay in an Airbnb over an in-town Nashville hotel because we were hoping to be able to eat some meals from our own personal kitchen.
We didn’t eat any meals in our Airbnb!
Even though our food costs were not lowered with our Airbnb stay, we still saved around $400 by staying in our own vacation rental — and that includes our Uber rides into town!
- Average hotel for 4 weekday nights: $1,000
- Airbnb for 4 weekday nights: $450
- Uber rides for 4 days (including to and from Airport): $167
Weekday stays vs. weekend
Now, just for fun, let’s look at the potential cost of a hotel and Airbnb if we had stayed during the peak days. (Thursday – Monday).
- Average hotel for peak days: $1,400
- Average Airbnb for peak days: $1,062 + Uber = $1,229
Still the more affordable option!
One of the best tips to save money on any vacation is to go during the “off-season.” For Nashville, this is November – April. However, after checking the prices, May looks like it may very well be the absolute best time to plan an affordable trip to Nashville.
Prices are still off-season low but the weather is more likely to be nice enough so you can enjoy the open patios and strolling the shops.
- Average cost for off-season weekday round-trip flights: $150
- Average cost for off-season weekend round-trip flights: $250
Enjoy all the free stuff!
The best thing about Nashville is that there is a ton of awesome stuff to do and see that’s totally free!
In fact, you could easily spend 2 full days just enjoying all of the cute shops that Nashville has to offer. Of course, those shops aren’t so free if you buy stuff — and there will be a lot of temptation! Trust me.
While you’re exploring, you just might spend another 2 days just tracking down all of the artsy, Nashville murals. A lot of these are great social media shares like the #whatliftsyou mural and #ibelieveinnashville.
Take advantage of discounts
Another awesome way to keep your trip budget-friendly is be taking advantage of as many discounts as possible.
Airbnb – If you have already used Airbnb, you will have access to a share code that allows you to give your friends a discount and save you money on your next Airbnb stay! Want to use my discount? Click here to save $55 on Airbnb!
Rakuten – On the Rakuten site there is a section devoted specifically to Travel. A lot of times Rakuten works with hotels to offer you a discounted price and you will get a rebate on top of that! Start with $10 FREE when you sign up.
Credit Cards – Sometimes, when you are purchasing your tickets, a particular airline may give you the option of signing up for their credit card and saving. I have done this twice saving myself $200 on round-trip airfare. For Nashville, I used the DeltaSkyMiles card!
UberPool – When you have reached Nashville and are trying to explore as much as possible, another good money-saving option that might pop-up as an UberPool. What this it does is allow you to share your fare with a potential Uber rider in your area. Learn more about UberPool.