3 ways to have an awesome budget travel experience

January 21, 2016

With these tips, you can save money on traveling expenses, so you'll have more for your actual trip and have memories to last you for a lifetime. Here’s how.

3 ways to have an awesome budget travel experience

1. On the bus

Taking the bus is one of the cheapest ways to travel long distances both in Canada and farther afield, and there's many ways to save on tickets.

  • Buy your ticket seven to 14 days in advance with certain bus companies and you'll get discounted fares.
  • Bring along a friend or relative when you travel and you'll get a 75 per cent discount with certain companies. Keep in mind, however, that you must book at least three days in advance.
  • Most people know about discounts for students, but those over 62 years of age can automatically command a 10 per cent discount.

2. Don’t go off the rails

Relaxed train travel offers a lot of pluses for those who are not in a rush: there's plenty of leg room, space for extra-heavy luggage, and freedom of movement for small children who have trouble sitting still.

  • It pays to book ahead — economy fares tend to fill up fast in high season.
  • Many companies run frequent specials, often geared to seniors or families.

3. Clever car rental

  • It's worth taking a chance by booking the cheapest car going. Because these cars are limited in number, the rental agency will sometimes offer you an upgrade. If they initiate the upgrade, make sure you don't pay more for it, especially if you booked ahead with a credit card.
  • About 20 per cent of all consumers always take rental car insurance, but there's a good chance they're already covered under their own auto insurance or credit cards, which means they're paying an unnecessary $7 to $30 a day extra.
  • To find out if you need coverage, call your auto insurance agent or credit card company.
  • Most rental car companies use a 24-hour-clock rate when charging you. If you rent your car on Tuesday and return it on Wednesday, you are charged for one day only if you return it within 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, most companies charge an hourly rate for the next three to four hours. Bring it back a few hours late, and you're usually charged for an extra day.
  • Rental car rates can vary 50 per cent or more across agencies at the same location. To get the best deal, reserve your car at least a week in advance — more, if it's high season.
  • The Internet is a great place to compare car rental charges.


Overland travel is one of the easiest ways to save money on any trip in Canada or the United States. With these simple tricks, that can get even cheaper, so you can spend money at the destination, and not just the journey.

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