I’ve decided to share with you some of my tips and tricks for traveling on a budget. You will see that taking a trip is not as impossible as it may seem. For starters good deals don’t just fall into your lap, well sometimes, but 90% of the time it requires hours of planning and research. I know it may seem like a lot of work, but when you stay in to save money for travel how else are you suppose to spend your Friday nights?!? Now I’m not by any means claiming to be an expert in trip planning, but I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned from my own experiences I can help you achieve your #travelgoals. So here’s what you need to do..
- Turn on your computer
- Open up your browser (or several, trust me you’ll need them)
- Pull out a good old fashion pen and notebook
- Be prepared to get to work.
I promise you it’s fun!!
If you’re looking for luxury travel (first class and five star hotels) then stop reading now because this is basically the opposite of that. Odd’s are if you can afford that you’re not reading this anyway and are currently on a private jet to Monaco…Unless you’re the saving money type.. If so, go you! If you want to make your dream trip a reality you’re going to have to make sacrifices. This includes, but not limited to selling your home, car, body parts, etc…. Don’t worry the trip is worth it! I’M TOTALLY KIDDING. When I say sacrifices I mean things like a flight that includes a stop over, that kind of sacrifice… Horrible, I know, who doesn’t love a direct flight? I’m guilty of it myself, but by taking a flight with a layover you can sometimes save yourself hundreds of dollars. Look I’m already saving you money (and that’s just the beginning). Not good enough? You’re absolutely right, sometimes a simple layover is not enough… Here’s where the research part comes in. Instead of letting the computer pick your layover it’s time for you to be the brains of this operation. What do I mean by that? Here let me explain…First you will need to find out which countries are cheapest to fly in and out of for your chosen dates. You might need to play around a little to find the best combination. Skyscanner is a good website to find out where the cheapest place to fly into will be. Tthen use Kayak’s multi-city option because it might be cheaper to let’s say fly into Copenhagen but out of London. Aside from using this strategy try checking some budget airlines, ex: Norwegian. Again if you choose a budget airline sacrifices will be made. The cheapest fare on Norwegian does not include a checked bag or meal/drinks onboard… But if you ask me the only thing worth paying extra for is a checked bag.So you have your cheap flight, now it’s time to figure out how to get to your final destination. Europe and many other places around the world are known for their budget airlines which offer EXTREMELY low airfare between countries. Again not including a checked bag, seat reservation (on some), snacks/drinks. Which all seems really unncessary when you’re only paying $35 for a flight from Dublin to Rome (true story). **Make sure to read all the fine print CAREFULLY with these budget airlines, otherwise you will find yourself paying fees for something as small as breathing the wrong way (kidding) or not prininting out your boarding pass before you get to the airport (not kidding, Ryanair).
If you get lucky and your flight lands you close to where you are trying to go, the train is an option for you. I can’t say for other places (yet), but I personally find the trains in Europe to be reliable and extremely nice. Some can be a little confusing, just make sure to give yourself enough time to find your train, validate tickets if needed, etc.. Of course taking the train is a bit longer than flying, but that might not be an issue for those who prefer the scenic route.
Off Peak: Traveling during the off season is one of the ways to save yourself a little cash, and more importantly avoid crowds. Prices for certain attractions may also vary during this time.
Accommodation: Here is one of the biggest ways to save while traveling abroad. I personally think the less you spend on a place to stay the better. Lets be honest here, how much time do you actually spend in your room? If you’re not there to sleep or freshen up you shouldn’t be there at all.. You’re in a new place, go explore! If traveling solo or with a group of friends hostels should be your go to. Some will cost you as little as $10 a night. Of course like anything else the nicer the hostel the higher the price, but even $50 a night isn’t so bad if you prefer a room with fewer beds and maybe an ensuite. If traveling as a family, a hostel may not be an option for you. In that case Airbnb would be your best bet. Costs are usually about the same as a hotel room, except you’re getting an entire apartment/home (if that is the option you choose, private rooms can be rented as well).
Food: Spending money on 3 meals a day can definitely break the bank. Of course you will want to try all the local favorites, but here are a few things to keep in mind while eating abroad. Try and choose an accommodation with free breakfast, and make sure you take advantage of that. I’m not telling you to stuff your face, I mean you can, but I’m just saying filling up on a free breakfast will hopefully keep you full into the afternoon. If you see something you can grab (fruit, granola bars, etc.) take one or two for a snack throughout the day. If not head to a local grocery and grab some. “Off the beaten path” is the best motto when choosing a place to eat. Not only will you be away from touristy places keeping costs low, this is also where you will find some of the best food. If you’re going to be abroad for a longer period of time almost all hostels have community kitchens, and if you’ve rented an Airbnb you will have your own. Try and cook a few nights to save yourself some cash!
Tours: It’s alright if you want to book some tours in advance, but keep in mind some hotels/hostels offer discounted tickets to popular attractions. Sometimes it’s even cheaper to just buy tickets right at the door. Of course this rule doesn’t apply to attractions that are really popular, some things have to be booked in advance to ensure entry.
Haggaling: A skeptic of this myself, I quickly realized that haggling is key when souvenir shopping. Go into it knowing how much you are willing to pay for an item, make the deal. 9 times out of 10 you will walk away with the item in hand and extra cash in your pocket.