Almost everyone wants to spend loads of time travelling, but unfortunately, planning a trip can get quite expensive. Keeping this in mind, here are some of the best budget travel tips you can follow. Budget travel isn’t just saving money, but also about travelling in the smartest way possible.
Try to be flexible with your plans
There are certain periods where travel tickets are super expensive. If you want to travel smart, you should consider being flexible about flight timings and flying dates. For example, flying to your destination and back during the week, instead of the weekend, often costs less.
If possible go during “shoulder periods”
Every destination has ‘shoulder periods,’ or off-peak times when flights and hotels often offer discounts. Such periods include when kids go back to school after summer vacation, or after New Year’s in early January. These times are likely to be different at different destinations, so do your research beforehand.
Look for the best deals on flights
Buy your airline tickets well in advance before your trip, so that you’re likely to get the best price. Tickets bought last minute can be expensive. Additionally, sometimes booking two one-way flight may turn out to be cheaper than booking a round-trip flight, so be sure to check.
Pack lightly and be sure to pack it well
Packing a light suitcase lets you save lots of money on excess baggage fees. Also, ensure that you pack all the essentials so that you might need so that you don’t have to buy them on your trip. You can also pack early so that you don’t have a last-minute rush a d potentially forget things.
Rent an apartment instead of getting a hotel room
Home rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway often offer cheaper alternatives to a regular hotel room. There is also the added bonus that they come with a kitchen so that you can cook meals instead of eating out at expensive restaurants.
Ask (politely) for an upgrade
When you get to a hotel and feel that perhaps you might need a slightly larger room, ask (politely) for a free upgrade. The worst case is that the manager says no, so just go for it!
Don’t try to go to too many places in one trip
If you go to fewer places and stay longer at each one, you not only get a better experience of the place, but you’re also likely to get better deals and discounts hotels/hostels for staying longer.
Maybe look at staying outside the town
If you’re visiting an extremely popular tourist city or town, consider staying just outside the town or even in the neighbouring one. Accommodation is likely to cost less, and you can take public transit to see the sights.
Book a hotel where breakfast is included
If you can, ensure that the hotel (or hostel) you’re booking a room that includes complimentary breakfast. Have a large meal so that you’re set for a long day. (You can even save a few snacks for later)
Stop at the local grocery stores and markets
When you go to a new destination, stock up on snacks and basics like bread and fruit. This allows you to save on spending at restaurants, and if your hotel has a mini-fridge you can buy more perishable items. You can also buy meats, cheeses and other food and go for picnic lunches in local parks.
Don’t eat too close to major tourist sites
Most restaurants near popular tourist sites charge double the price for their food. The further you get from these places, the better the price (and often the food as well). You can also look for places to eat near colleges and universities, as they often have cheper dining options.
Eat at places the locals eat at
Forget the touristy international restaurants and look for places that the locals eat at. The food is likely to be tastier, more authentic, and a lot cheaper. An excellent option is street food.
Find free things to see and do at your destination
Take advantage of all the free attractions your destination has. Parks, historic walks, and many churches are usually free to explore. Additionally, many cities have fascinating free walking tours given by locals.
Plan to visit museums on free days
Many popular museums and other attractions have days (or evenings) when admission is free. So look out for these days beforehand. If you’re a student, be sure to avail of any extra student discounts and to carry along your student ID card.
If you’re visiting lots of attractions, get a museum or city pass
Lots of cities with m ay popular tourist attractions offer museum passes, where you pay for entrance to multiple museums at a discounted rate. Other cities offer a more comprehensive city pass which includes other attractions and even public transportation. But be sure that you’re actually getting a good deal. If you don’t plan to visit many attractions, such a pass may not be a good investment.
Use free podcasts or audio guide to get through museums
For well-known museums like the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum, you can often find free podcasts, audio guides, or even guide apps that will explain all the galleries and exhibits, which is much cheaper than paying for the museum’s audio or guided tour.
Walk as much as you can
Walking is often the best way to explore a new city, as it gives you the opportunity to see things you otherwise wouldn’t. As an added bonus, it’s absolutely free.
When you can’t walk, rely on public transportation
If you’re going to be travelling a long distance and can’t walk, use public transportation instead of cabs. They’re also an excellent way to find out more about the locals.
Also, consider buying a public transportation pass
Many cities also offer day, week, and even monthly passes for public transport. This is often a lot cheaper than buying individual tickets each time if you’re planning to use buses or the subway often.
Look into travelling with other travellers
Look for other groups of travellers going where you are so that you can split the bill on things like carpooling, tours.
Get a travel-friendly credit card (or see if your card has benefits)
There are lots of credit cards that have tie-ups with airlines and offer points through regular spending. They can then be turned into rewards for mileage, free upgrades, free baggage checks, and other perks when you travel.
Avoid credit cards with foreign transaction fees
Be sure that your card you’re planning to take with you doesn’t have any international transaction fees. Ask your bank ahead of time as the charge may not seem much (usually around 3%), but can really add up.
Try to withdraw money rather than exchanging
Your bank card is most likely to have the best deals when it comes to currency exchange. So instead of exchanging lots of cash beforehand, just get what you’ll need for the first few days and then withdraw the local currency from the ATM as needed. Also, try to go to an ATM that doesn’t charge a large withdrawal fee.
Buy a local SIM card to use your phone abroad
If you plan to use your phone a lot at your destination, especially it’s data connection, consider buying a local SIM card. This usually ends up being a lot cheaper than an international roaming plan. Ensure that your phone is unlocked and that you get a prepaid (or pay-as-you-go) SIM.
If you have any other budget travel tips that we’ve missed, be sure to share them in the comments below.