Last September, my husband and I went on a trip to Toronto.  This trip became a treat for our first wedding anniversary spent together in Canada.  The biggest hurdle for the trip was our very limited budget but we were able to push through using the following tricks.

1. Plan ahead of time

Plan aheadCredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/swiv/261619228/

When traveling it is good to go with the flow but it can be more enjoyable if you can research the area you’re going to for cheap rooms, restaurants, tourist spots, etc. and plan your itinerary in advance. The better you plan how to spend your money wisely, the more places and activities you can do and visit. 

It would have been more convenient and cheap if we took on a group tour packaged trip, but we decided otherwise for 2 reasons:

  1. For my husband, it has been a long time since he went on a trip and that’s saying something because he is a travel bug. He wanted for us to control our own time so we could take a lot of pictures and not have our actions limited by a group itinerary.
  2. I am not much a traveler, but this is the first time I traveled not included in a group tour. It was an experience I’m glad I took, hopping all over the place like an adventurer.

2. Look for discounted plane fare

Plane in flightCredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtlphotos/1401417043/

My husband was persistent to find a promo fare via web alerts. It helps to bookmark plane websites too so you can compare fares and schedules. 

3. Travel with less luggage

Travel lightCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwerner/2677245039/

Research how to maximize space in your luggage. Practice rolling your clothes, placing toiletries in small containers, use clothes compressors, etc. If you are able to achieve bringing only one carry-on bag for your trip, then you won’t need to pay extra dollars for baggage check-ins. 

4. Find a quality hotel, but not necessarily a luxurious one

Strathcona hotelCredit: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g155019-d186946-i84845794-The_Strathcona_Hotel-Toronto_Ontario.html#84845792

At first we were looking at luxurious looking but expensive hotels. Then we realized we weren't going to spend the whole day in them and we'll be coming back in very late at night. So we opted to stay at a good hotel that is right smack in the middle of downtown Toronto, which is the perfect location for our needs.  Our hotel has well-maintained stylish, functional rooms minus luxury we didn’t necessarily need. The staff was accommodating and the hotel has easy access to many tourist spots, restaurants, subways, etc. 

5. Get a CityPASS if it is available in your destination

Toronto CityPASSCredit: http://www.citypass.com/toronto

Upon researching for our trip, I stumbled upon Toronto CityPass[1]. Realizing that some of our destinations were included in the booklet, we purchased them for lower entrance cost for each tourist spot.

6. Go with the local cuisine

The Best Fruit & Vegetable Stores in TorontoCredit: http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_fruit_vegetable_stores_in_toronto/

Food discovery plays a huge part in any trip and what better way to learn more of a place but to indulge in cheap but quality local cuisines. When we ate in the middle of the day, we usually dined at the nearest affordable food establishment and at night we took home food from small restaurants or convenience stores selling local gourmet dishes. Yes, it would had been great to dine at a first-class restaurant but we love discovering hole-in-the-wall and I wanted to live by my nature of being an adventurous foodie. 

In conclusion:

Living on a tight budget doesn’t constrict you to enjoy a trip. It takes some careful planning and persistence to ward off temptation to buy something you don’t need. The best part of traveling isn’t the number of souvenirs you bring home or the multitudes of photos you took with your camera. It’s the experience of a new place and the time you spent alone or with people closest to your heart that matters most.