At a time where air travel costs 50% less than it did in 1982, it is no wonder that more people want to travel than ever. However, stretching each and every dollar to maximise travel experiences is imperative. below we take a look at some of the best ways to travel on a budget.
Be flexible, both with time and destination
There are great tools now that allows you to not only search for ‘any destination’ on flight comparison sites, but that also facilitates flight searches over a wide time period spanning a month. If you want to take that long-haul trip and are indifferent between which amazing places you want to see, be it South America or South-East Asia perhaps, then this is perfect for you. You can find the cheapest discounted fares.
If you can adapt and spend longer in some places than others, traveling at super-off peak times then you will save even more money. Try whatever you can to not travel on a Friday or Sunday! Also, always try and keep an eye out for early fare sales from airlines. They won’t always be as great as they seem, and seats at the very lowest of prices may be rare, but they do exist, and you can sometimes get a great deal!
Once you have booked your greatest one-off cost, which will likely be a return (or one-way flight if you’re lucky enough) try to continue as much of your onwards journey overland as possible. Those early morning trips by taxi to the airport and extra little costs add up quickly, whereas most long-distance bus stations are pretty close to the centre of most cities, not to mention costing a fraction of a flight.
Not only this, but you will tend to see a lot more of a country as you peer out of the window. Bus transportation in South America particularly is incredibly efficient, in a continent where international airfares are relatively expensive. You can also select different classes of comfort where more often than not, a reclining bed with a 3-course meal on a long-distance bus will still cost less than a flight, and what an experience that is!
Do your research!
This is such a common piece of advice, not just for traveling, but it holds true and can be fun as well when you start to get to know a destination before you arrive. A little bit of research can mean you know how much a taxi should cost to your hostel, or whether booking a place to stay in the old city for a little bit more is going to save you a load on transport costs, as that’s the heart of the action.
Research as much as you can. For example, there are many galleries and museums that will have free entry on particular days of the week. Feeling hungry and thirsty? Then know where the best happy hours are. You’re traveling after all. Who cares if you eat at 5pm instead of 7pm if it costs half the price? Find everything you want to do, and the chances are, if you can be flexible, you can always get a better deal.
Eat local and street food. You will likely try new things and for a fraction of the cost of eating in restaurants. Particularly in Asia the street food is incredible and rivals the best restaurants. It’s much cheaper too! Also, if you have cooking facilities, then why not try cooking with a group of you from the local market or supermarket. It’s social and you will save big time on costs here.
Most cities organise free walking tours where only a small tip for the guide is required, this is how they make their income so don’t skip on this as nothing ever truly comes for free! In the majority of cities a lot of the attractions are quite bunched together, so even if you can’t find free walking tours then plan it out yourself. It’s a fantastic way to find new places, and stumble across hidden gems, so put together a bit of research and see a destination at your own pace and your own way. With all the eating and drinking whilst traveling the exercise is always good too!
Earn, or at least save while you travel
It’s always worth asking if you plan on staying somewhere for a couple of weeks whether you can help out, and you may get your accommodation, food, some drink and even a little bit of pocket money thrown in, all for having a good time and making new friends.