With the difficulties in world economies today, including the skyrocketing prices in countries that have mostly managed to avoid the credit crunch and are instead facing their own form of inflation, the travel industry is facing a lot of problems. Tourism is waning, and people just don’t have the cash to be going on holidays. That is, people who don’t know how to do it cheaply, maintaining a budget by using the economic strife to their advantage.
It is actually easier than ever to get up and go to places all over the world. There are even new tips that would not normally apply, which can save you more money than ever while giving you a dream vacation. You just have to become a budget traveler, and start looking at alternative ways to do what you love
Know Your Transportation Options
Flying is quicker, yes. But is it really cheaper? You have to take into account all of the added fees on a flight, such as luggage and even the cost of extra seats if you are a larger passenger. Sometimes, it is much less costly to drive or take a bus, especially if you aren’t going far. A few times I have flown in on a cheaper flight by going into the general region of where I wanted to be, then took a bus or rented a car for the rest of the way. This has saved me hundreds of dollars, usually by flying on special deals to large cities before going the rest of the way. Calculate the cost of flying, then look at bus fair. Or look at something like GasBuddy to calculate how much fuel will be needed (and the cost of it) if you were to drive.
Choose Less Expensive Countries
A couple of years ago I was wanting to take a trip somewhere I had never been before, but I was short on cash. Instead, I decided to choose a destination that would cost much less without making me sacrifice quality. I chose Warsaw, Poland as well as Kiev, Ukraine. The most expensive cost was airfare, but everything else was remarkably budget friendly. It is also a fascinating city with plenty to see and learn. It was one of my favorite travel destinations, and I was able to visit it without breaking the bank. Just think outside the box, and you can have some incredible holidays for less than you ever dreamed.
See Cities In a Day
For those major landmarks you want to visit, consider doing it all in a day instead of staying overnight. When my friend went to the UK, she was dead set on spending time in London. But she soon found out that it is one of the most expensive areas to go to, especially as a tourist. So she found a nice B&B out in the country, and instead she went into London a couple of times during her stay for day trips. The difference in price was shocking. You will find the same thing if you are checking out New York, Milan, Rome, Paris and many other key destinations that are better to spend a day than a night, thanks to the outrageous prices.
Book Last Minute
It used to be that no one would consider leaving anywhere without at least 90 days notice for a plane or hotel booking. Now, you can book at the very last minute and get huge discounts for doing so as the business attempts to avoid losing money with accommodation slots going empty. Try an app like Last Minute Travel or Hotel Tonight, and you can get a deal at the very last minute, even while you are traveling.
Keep Current Events In Mind
It isn’t rare nowadays to learn about a country that is experiencing some kind of trouble on the economic front. These are great for travelers, as a stock problem can cause a panic drop in prices, as can a struggling tourism industry. Countries like Greece and Ireland are good examples of this, as are areas facing a certain amount of unrest, like Egypt. Be careful to check with your country’s department for travel safety to make sure it isn’t dangerous to go, but if you don’t mind a bit of risk then you should go for it. Just avoid all-inclusive packages, which are usually not honored if a travel agency goes out of business.
Go On The Off Season
Checking into an area during their off season is a good idea, not only for saving money but for avoiding the flock of tourists. If possible, try to book your trip when the area is at its least busy. Ask about possible free upgrades during this time, as well.
Couchsurf or Rent
Backpackers have been doing it for years, and any traveler could take note. Couchsurfing.org will help you find someone willing to let you crash at their place, which saves you the cost of a hotel room. Not comfortable with that, or want a more comfortable stay? You can rent out whole apartments (or just a room) using AirBnB. An entire week in a rented apartment can cost less than half that in a hotel. Plus, you have a kitchen, which brings us to the next tip..
Avoid Eating Out
Going out to try the local cuisine is a part of traveling that most of us love. But doing it all the time gets expensive fast, and it is better to have access to a kitchen in order to prepare your own food most of the time. Traveling with a brood? Then stop by a second hand store and pick up a slow cooker for a couple of bucks. You can make big batches of food and leave it cooking while you go out during the day. Usually, these kinds of meals cost much, much less for a larger number of people. At the end of your trip, just drop the cooker back off at the charity shop. Or find something for free!
Have a good tip for traveling on a budget? Let us know in the comments!