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Jet-Set for Less: How to Use Zip for All Your Travel Expenses

By Nicole Bustamante

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…well yes, it’s a plane with you inside of it! It may be hard to imagine a care-free getaway right now, but before long travelling safely will be a possibility for many. 


With so much anticipation after spending the last year mainly indoors, there’s no better way to prep than by learning how to travel on a budget. Whether you’ve been saving every dime for your next vacay or not, these tips are sure to help you keep costs down so you can truly relax and enjoy your next vacation.


Plan Ahead


As fun as it can be, booking a spontaneous getaway comes with very little financial benefit. It can be exciting to book a ticket out of town for tomorrow, but you’ll get more for your money if you plan ahead. Doing your research will prove to pay off in the end—so our first tip to you is plan, plan, plan. 


  • Decide where you’re going…
Take some time to figure out where you want to go and do your research on the location. You’ll want to consider any travel restrictions and safety protocols currently in place that may impact your trip.


  • …and how you’re going to get there…
Once you have the spot picked out, the next big step is to start looking at your transportation options. If you’re flying, you’ll want to book your flight as far ahead of time as possible to get the best deal. If you’ll be driving, then any time is a great time to look into rental car companies! Pro tip: make sure to research flights and hotels on an incognito window to avoid inflated pricing based on past search activity.


  • …and when you’re arriving.
Traveling in the off-season is one of the best ways to save some money. This isn’t always a feasible option if you have to consider multiple schedules, but if you can avoid traveling to your destination during peak season you are likely to see better pricing. During school holidays, resorts and airlines exponentially raise their prices, so travel right before or after these dates (during what’s known as the “shoulder season”) to get a better deal while taking advantage of similar weather and activities.


Stay for Cheap


Planning where you want to go and how you’re going to get there well in advance will help you take advantage of early-bird pricing. These days, there are a thousand and one accommodation options that you can take advantage of. If you’re looking for a traditional hotel with concierge services like airport pickup and other traditional amenities, you can scour websites like, Hotel Tonight,, Expedia, Travelocity, and more. 


There are also less expensive options if you choose to try out a short-term home rental service like Airbnb or VRBO where hosts are vetted and reviewed. A third affordable accommodation option would be to check out hostels in the area. Hostels are a great way to meet new people while travelling on the cheap.


Overall, it pays to be flexible! There are major financial perks to creating a little wiggle room in your plans. Whether this means taking a red-eye flight on a Tuesday night or opting out of that five-star resort, being open to alternatives is a strength when it comes to traveling on a budget. 


Book Your Trip with Zip


Booking your vacation with Zip is a surefire way to plan your dream getaway while sticking to a budget you’re comfortable with.  By spreading out your payments for larger travel expenses like airfare or a hotel, you’ll be able to allocate more of your budget towards the fun stuff, like outings and meals.


If you prefer to book flights and hotels on desktop, you can download our Chrome browser extension, Zip for Chrome, for easy browsing. Or, if you’re more comfortable using the app, that works too! Here’s a step-by-step refresher to booking your travel with Zip.

1. Open the Zip app on your phone and search for the airline or service you’d like to  book.

2. Search for your flight, accommodations, or car rental as you normally would, then proceed to the checkout page.


3. Tap “Pay With Zip” at the bottom of your screen and enter the estimated amount you plan on spending, including taxes and service fees, then tap “Continue.”


4. Review your installment plan, then click continue to create a Zip virtual card. Enter the virtual card information as a new payment method and check out.


5. Start imagining just how good that piña colada is going to taste. 


Another pro tip: make sure to buy travel insurance if it’s available when you’re checking out (especially these days, plans can change!). Getting a refund is just as easy with Zip as with any other payment method. If your plans change, reach out to the travel service provider to initiate your refund. 


As soon as they notify Zip of the cancellation your refund will be processed and your installment plan will be adjusted accordingly. Refunds are typically made within 13 days. If that’s not the case, contact us here.


Lean Into the Local Life


Finally, one of the best budgeting tips is to act like a local. Take public transportation, walk wherever you go, ask around for the best places to eat. You will feel more immersed in the culture while also saving some money by avoiding overpriced tourist traps.


Regardless of where your next adventure may take you, it’s important to follow the safety and health guidelines specific to that location. Wear your mask to protect yourself and others around you, and pay attention to any regulations in place. While you’re at it, make sure to take a selfie or two so we can live vicariously through you!

Get started with Zip today

Zip’s editorial content is not written by a financial advisor. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

About the author
Nicole Bustamante

Nicole Bustamante is a writer and journalist passionate about storytelling and the art of fashion. She has written for The Zoe Report, Angeleno Magazine, Modern Luxury Interiors California, and more in addition to writing for her personal blog.