The Best Ways to See the World on a Budget
Travel is something you love, and seeing the world is your passion in life. Unfortunately, your bank account tends to disagree, especially when it comes to international trips. A lack of funds is the leading cause for many would-be travelers electing to stay at home instead. However, it’s not impossible to travel the world with a limited budget. You’ll simply need to keep a few tips in mind in order to make it work:
You might want to hit the beach in the summer, but consider that going during the off-season instead could cost 3 to 4 times less when you’re heading to a popular tourist destination. During the on-season travel months, airlines, shops, hotels and other travel-based businesses raise their rates to earn some extra cash, increasing the cost of your overall trip considerably. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your budget while planning a trip is to be flexible when it comes to the timing of your vacation. In most places, spring tends to be a very affordable time for travelers.
Location, Location, Location
If you’re really looking to save a dime, you may want to consider altering your destination as well. Big tourist destinations will always have higher costs than smaller, more remote locations. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll need to compromise your trip entirely. Consider taking a hotel in a neighboring town to your desired destination. You’ll still be able to drive in and see the sights, but will likely save a huge chunk of your budget on hotel fees.
Flights tend to make up the bulk of travel expenses in your budget, so finding a cheap one is the key to saving cash on your adventure. The first step to getting your best flight deal is choosing to “watch” flight costs. Many flight booking websites offer you the ability to receive notifications when prices on flights change. Do this, and keep an eye out for any drastic drops in prices. However, don’t wait too long – studies show that booking your flight 6 weeks in advance is likely to get you the best deal.
Furthermore, because prices can change between computers, check on your flight’s cost from a variety of devices whenever possible to ensure you’re getting the lowest price when you check out.
Save on Ground Travel
If you’re traveling somewhere that’s not overseas and can be reasonably reached by car, consider using a rideshare service. These are an excellent, safer alternative to hitchhiking and tend to be easy and fast to set up and plan, and can typically be taken anywhere within a single country.
If you’re unable to use a rideshare service, the bus is always an option. There are some bus services that offer extremely cheap trips during the off-season to offset their operating costs. As a savvy traveler, you can and should take full advantage of that fact if the bus in question happens to be headed toward your destination.
Trains are another excellent option if rideshare services and buses are out of the question. They’re not quite as budget friendly as the other potential travel methods, but are safe, reliable and still less costly than flying or renting a car of your own and paying for fuel along the way.
Finally, once you reach your destination, you can continue to save big on travel expenses by familiarizing yourself with the public transportation system. Making use of existing public transport gives you a glimpse into the local life – and saves big compared to cabs and other options.
Spend Less on Attractions
Of course you want to see the sights when you reach your destination, but you don’t need to blow your entire budget doing it. Fortunately, saving some cash is as simple as asking the locals for a bit of advice on which sights to see. Normally, they’ll direct you to the cheaper options, which also tend to represent the culture of an area more strongly so you’ll be getting the full effect. If approaching strangers isn’t quite your cup of tea, consider checking out the local tourism bureau (if there happens to be one) to find some great bundled deals and often free attractions.
If you’re a student, you may be in luck as well. Places such as museums and art galleries typically have student fares or even free student entry days. Take advantage of this and carry your school ID card with you whenever you happen to go traveling.
Great Grub for Less
Finally, you can cut yourself some serious slack in your budget by choosing to eat cheap. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some authentic local cuisine, though. The best way to save cash and get that splash of local color you want is to – again – follow the locals. Go to small restaurants that you see populated by the locals rather than expensive tourist restaurants. Or even consider cooking your own meal, making use of some local recipes and ingredients.
Travel can seem overwhelming, but by following a few tips and being selective with how you spend your limited funds, you can view the globe on even the tightest budget.