There are many misconceptions about the world. One of the most prominent is the idea that traveling has to be expensive. Of course, it CAN be expensive; if you want to travel first class and eat in the world’s best restaurants, then, yes, you’re going to see that your bank account is quickly going in a dangerous direction. But does it have to be this way? Absolutely not. Indeed, if planned properly, then traveling can – shock horror – turn out to be quite affordable. Below, we share fifteen tips that’ll have you traveling more often, and in a more affordable way.
Travel During Quiet Periods
It’s easy to take travel advice a little too seriously. If a guidebook recommends one time of the year is best to visit a destination, then you don’t need to take it as gospel. It’s just their opinion! If you’re forever following this advice, then you’ll be traveling when accommodation and flights are at their peak, as this is when all the other people are traveling, too. Instead, take a look at out of season travel periods. You’ll have places all to yourself, and the prices will be cheaper. Win-win! Even outdoor areas, like Yosemite National Park, are fascinating during the winter.
Beware the Cheap Plane Deals
There’s no shortage of cheap flights available, especially if you’re traveling in Europe. But before you get too excited about the affordability of getting from A to B, make sure you’re not being duped into paying more. For example, a flight could be listed as $20. But once you factor in luggage, seating, food on the flight, and so on, then that price might all of a sudden be much more than $20. Sometimes, it’s worth paying marginally more to fly with a better airline, as they’ll usually have all the trimmings included in the original booking cost.
Book at the Right Time
And talking of flights, make sure you’re booking yours at the right time. Flight prices can fluctuate quite dramatically; you could spend $50 on your journey, or $250; it all depends on when you make the booking. People have spent a long time trying to figure out when the cheapest time to book a flight is, and, alas, the answers aren’t quite as robust as we’d like. Generally, though, you should be looking around six weeks before your intended travel date. It’s also better to avoid traveling on Fridays and Sundays; tuesdays and late night flights are typically the cheapest.
Avoid the Expensive Destinations
You’d like to travel everywhere, but alas, this just won’t be possible if you’re on a budget. Seem places are simply not budget-friendly, and are best kept for when you have a little extra money in the bank. For example, while you could travel around Norway’s mountain regions relatively cheaply, you’d find it difficult to spend a week in one it’s major cities unless you have a limitless bank account. If you’re traveling on a budget, then stick to those wallet friendly countries; there’s enough of them out there, and they’re just as good as the more expensive options.
And Places With Poor Exchange Rates
There’s another thing you’ll have to factor in when it comes to choosing a country for your travels, too: the exchange rate. If one overseas currency is doing well against the dollar, then it would be a more sensible idea to wait until things are in your favor; everything swings back eventually. Take advantage of any place where the US dollar is doing unusually well; it could help you to save a third of the cost of your vacation, just by going at the right time.
Raising the Funds
If you’re hit with one big travel cost, then it’s going to feel pretty expensive. But if that cost is spread over, say, six months? Then it’ll look a lot more affordable. Avoid the last minute impulse vacations, and instead plan your travels in your advance. You’ll save money on accommodation and flights, for starters, while also having enough time to get the financial aspect in order. If you know you’re going to be traveling in the near future, take a look at pre approved rewards cards; many allow you earn travel rewards, which could mean a reduction in the cost of your flight or hotel. With enough notice, you can make sure that your travel costs are kept as low as possible.
Don’t Overdo Your Journeys
We all get pretty excited when it comes to planning our travels. We might have one primary destination in mind, but then we take a look at the map, and realize that we could visit a neighborhood city, too, and then there’s also a beach town that’s not a million miles away. While this would make for an exciting trip, it’s also going to be an expensive one! Keep your travels focused on one area. Everything will be much cheaper, and you’ll be able to get to know that destination in a much deeper way if you stay there rather than move around all of the time.
Think Carefully About Accommodation
The rules surrounding making your accommodation affordable aren’t clearcut. The cheapest option, for example, might end up costing more than the a more expensive accommodation type, for example. Why? Well, let’s think. If you have a small room, then you’ll have to spend all of your time outside of the room if you want to have a good time, and that means a lot of costly meals and entertainment. In a bigger place? You might have the ability to prepare your own meals, or a balcony that provides your evening entertainment free of charge. Think about what you’re planning to do while you’re there. If you’re not planning to spend any time in your accommodation anyway, then anywhere with a bed to lay your head will do.
If you live in an area that tourists like to visit, then why not consider swapping homes with someone in a place you want to visit? It’s simple enough. You get their keys, they get your keys, and that’s it. You’ll spend nothing on accommodation, will be able to live in a homey environment, and experience a destination like a local.
Discounted Entry and Travel
Some museums can be expensive, and, if you’re not careful, you might find that you’re spending the bulk of your money on museums and art galleries. Before visiting, check the website; many cultural sites offer discounted (or even free) entry on certain days and times during the week.
Eat Like the Locals
Pop yourself into the middle of a tourist-filled city, and what you’ll experience is something that’s not quite real. The food, which may be billed as “authentic,” is unlikely to be the best in the city. And the prices? There’ll be nothing that the locals would understand. To ensure a good deal on your food, find the tourist center of the town, and walk in any direction for five minutes. Once you’re outside of the tourist belt, you’ll find establishments where the locals eat – and pay the same price as they do, too.
Learn the Currency
It’s easy to get carried away if we’re traveling internationally. The money is different; it feels like monopoly money! But alas, unlike the board game, there are real-life consequences to using this money. It’s a good to have a currency exchange app on your phone, so you can quickly check the cost of an item before you buy it. It might just prevent you from seriously overpaying!
Check The Listings Page
If you’re visiting a city, then there’s going to be more than just tourists there – there’ll also be regular, normal people, who also like to do things. Every city and town has free events and activities on during the week; before you visit, take a look online to see what will be taking place when you’re there. The events will be cheap or free, and you’ll get an insight into how the locals like to spend their time. Nice!
There’s something else to keep in mind, too, and that is that traveling doesn’t have to mean boarding a flight and visiting some far-flung destination. Travel is whatever you make of it! If you’re itching to get away but don’t quite have the savings to go somewhere far away, then see what’s available locally. Most people get into the routine of visiting the same places/doing the same things when they’re at home, they don’t even realize that their local area is a hive of adventure! The next time you want to see a new area, see what’s available within an hour’s driving distance. You might be surprised what you have in your own backyard!
Traveling is a joy, in all forms. Don’t fall into the incorrect thinking that it’s an activity only for the rich. Anyone can move from A to B, and take in the sights. It doesn’t matter what’s in your wallet!