Somehow when we think about travelling we immediately think about the cost. But it is important to note that travelling does not have to break the bank. If you plan wisely you can see the world while staying within a budget. Too often money gets wasted during our travels and to avoid that, here are a few ways to be better prepared – and save.
The most affordable way to travel is by personal car. Yes, you will spend money on petrol (which isn’t cheap), but there are many other expenses that will be cut like luggage fees, visas and the need for a Passport if you’re staying with the borders of your country. Plan ahead by shopping around for quality car insurance that will save you money and leave you with some extra cash to use on your trip. Other ways include not speeding to avoid burning too much fuel and in turn be safer while avoiding those nasty speeding fines, as well as packing a flask of coffee and healthy padkos, or food and fruit for the trip, to avoid spending on unhealthy takeaways as you go.
If you plan on flying you should try to get the best-priced flights by looking for deals online and flying during off-peak times when flights are generally cheaper. Flying directly is more convenient but it can be costly. If you book a stopover flight it would not only save you money but could allow you to work another destination into your itinerary. Consider flying into lesser known airports instead of major airports as this will make for a cheaper flight too. Travel during the off-season when there is less demand and airfares are cheaper – and so is accommodation. You could spend less time waiting in queues at tourist attractions this way.
When people travel their natural instinct is to stay in a hotel. However, hotels are not the most economic form of accommodation. Hostels are the cheapest option, and although it might not be the most private option, it will save a lot of money. A bed and breakfast is a good middle ground – and includes breakfast, which means you head out on your exploration each day with a happy tummy. I always look to Airbnb as I love the freedom and independence that an apartment gives me. Another way to save money on accommodation is by veering off the beaten track. Accommodation in popular areas will cost you more, so look to a few blocks away from the town centre. If you’ll be staying in one place for a week or longer it’s always worth asking for a slight discount when booking.
When it comes to fighting hunger, tourists too often go for recognisable fast food chains or fancy looking restaurants listed in guidebooks. These fab options come at a price though, and even though you may want to book one or two treat meals, dining at local eateries and buying from street food vendors will give you an authentic food experience with the added benefit of saving you money. Try to cut down on snacking in between, those costs can add up. Try having one big meal then have smaller meals for the rest of the day to minimise spending. Buy essentials from supermarkets such as water, fruit, nuts – and refrain from using the hotel minibar. It’s a tempting trap that.
Guided tours have their advantages, but they can be expensive. For the most part, tourists can make their own way to tourist attractions instead of hiring a tour guide, however, I am a great advocate for local knowledge and would suggest that you look at Airbnb Experiences and Free Walking Tours in the places that you visit. If you do decide to use a tour guide, then make use of a local on the ground organisation instead of a Western company, as that may be more expensive. Look out for ‘city pass’ booklets that offer a discount to the main tours attractions. Otherwise, buy your tickets for tourist attractions well in advance as you’re likely to secure it for much cheaper than you would pay on the day and won’t have to stand in long lines, which is always a bonus.
In most countries when you want to buy souvenirs or trinkets, the best place to go is a market. There you will even be able to negotiate the price of things, meaning further savings. Also you don’t HAVE to shop. Travel is about seeing things, making memories, collecting experiences. Don’t fall into the trap of buying things that you simply don’t need.
Hope this helps with your planning, and most importantly, create a travel savings fund and every time you think of having that extra cappuccino or cocktail or buying another pair of shoes you don’t really need, rather add it to your travel kitty. As travel truly is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Happy travels.