How to Travel Comfortably on a Budget

budget travel

How to Travel Comfortably on a Budget


Hello fellow humans!

I’m writing this today from 35,000 feet up as I speed over your heads around 500 miles per hour. Fun! Or is it? In general I’m of the camp that flying sucks. It’s freaking expensive, and everyone is crammed into a confined space for 5+ hours with 2 toilets and 18 crying babies on board. Eww, right? But there are a few things you can do to make air travel a little more budget friendly and definitely up your comfort level.

Tickets and hotels are usually the most expensive part of the trip. To save some cash book tickets more than 10 days out to avoid excessive prices, with Monday nights and Tuesday mornings seeming to have the lowest fares I’ve seen. Google Flights is pretty decent for comparing most companies. Southwest doesn’t show up there so you should check their website individually. I’ve found they are usually $10 to $30 more than US or AA but after flying with them this time I’m gonna say it seems worth that extra little bit for the comfort and treatment you receive. And by the time you’re at the airport, a little extra comfort is about the best you can hope for. No class warfare and the boarding process seems way faster though if you catch a flight like I did that was packed with a large proportion of families with small children, that will take a minute.

So what can we do to make our trip more budget friendly and cozy? What an excellent question!

  • Let’s start with one of my favorite things: food. Airport food is no good for your budget, but you gotta eat! So let’s bring our own! Same principle as packing a lunch for work. Buying the same snacks you’d find in an airport beforehand at a grocery store can net you a 50% savings! I like to pack a picnic in the clouds with peanut butter crackers, grapes or other fruit, little baby cheeses or cheese sticks, Graham crackers (I like Annie’s cause they’re little bunnies!), and granola bars. I bought all of these at Target and saved so much money on just the grapes alone. Buy a water once you get through the gate and that’s all you need, you’ll eat a real meal when you get there. If you need more just pack it along!
  • Makeup and skin care: You gotta look good right? Bring your makeup from home with you on the plane and hit the restroom straight off the plane to freshen up. No need to purchase new makeup, just bring the basics, most of it comes in a small enough size for the airplane anyway.
  • Hydrate: My skin always gets super dehydrated on the airplane, so I always make sure to bring my miraculous coconut oil to rehydrate. Also, drink plenty of water.
  • You want to be in first class? This is as close as you can get. Grab a memory foam neck pillow and over the ear headphones. There’s nothing like closing your eyes and pretending you’re on a beach somewhere. Thank you sensory isolation! If you can swing it, noise cancelling headphones are superb! I got some as a gift a few years ago and they have been amazing!
  • Pack as light as possible: You want to get on/off quickly. Pack light, wear your biggest jacket and shoes with you on the plane. Pack what you need for the flight in your small under the seat bag. Everybody hates that person who digs through the overhead baggage during the flight. No one wants to see your stomach 3 inches from their face while you dig for gold. Just pack all your snacks in your small bag and all you need to do is slide it out from under the seat in front of you. Make it a small bag. Don’t be that person that brings two full suitcases on the plane. You won’t feel first class dragging both of those around.
  • Travel apps: Google Now is kind of amazing, and also a little scary. It knows when I’m driving, and where I parked my car. But it also knows if my flights are on time and what gate they will be at. No need to fumble around those screens looking for your plane, just take a quick look at your phone and you’re on your way you, first class superstar!

And those are my tips for looking and feeling first class while traveling on a coach budget. Add any other tips you have in the comments below! Stay classy out there!



  1. As a frequent traveler I will say bringing food to the airport can easily save $5 or more. I always pack my snacks, gum, and some granola bars to fill me. I try not to purchase meals in the airport as they are very expensive nor water. I would say book your tickets months in advance if you can! Also, red eye flights (they leave around midnight) are super cheap flights, if the airline offers it!

  2. This is a great post. I have traveled many times. I can say that what you laid out above really are the ways that you can do or things that you can bring to make traveling comfortably. I particularly the memory pillow. For me, it’s really a must. I don’t travel without it.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the positive feedback!

  3. Total agree on packing light! Although maybe not *too* light — it can be much more expensive to have to buy a last-minute toothpaste, than just bringing the tube you bought in bulk at home. 🙂 So, I would add — don’t forget anything important that you’ll have to buy on the other end!

    1. Totally agree! Something else to keep in mind is that if you’re visiting someone or staying in a hotel, they will have shampoo and soap and towels and whatnot there and you can save space by not bringing your own!

  4. I’m shocked to see that Southwest was higher than the other airlines. They are usually one of the cheapest flying out of Atlanta. I’ve also heard that Tuesday’s were a good day to book flights as well.

  5. I always eat before I leave for the airport. Saves a ton. Keeps me happy.

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