Almost everyone has dreams of seeing the world, or at least parts of the world. But travel is expensive and it’s often a hobby for those with extra cash, not folks living on a very strict budget.
As it turns out, there are certainly plenty of ways to see the world when you have thousands of dollars to spend on various trips around the globe. But there are also plenty of things to see and do when you are working with just a bit of cash every month.
You can travel without being wealthy. You can travel without having a huge budget. In fact, if you plan carefully and take advantage of some tips for traveling on a small budget, you can do more and see more for quite a bit less than you might imagine.
Travel Off Peak.
If you have less to spend on travel, don’t go when everyone else is going. The laws of economics are clear on this one – vendors like airlines, hotels and tour operators will be charging the most when demand is highest. So, don’t go then. Wait until the off season and then you can get great deals on travel because so few people are heading out in the winter months or during the rainy season.
Drive Instead of Fly.
If you’re heading to foreign countries, flying is your only option. But if you just want to have some adventures, you don’t need to fly if you have your own wheels. Grab a few buddies, split the cost of gas and the motel rooms along the way and you can have an adventure for considerably less than you would believe.
Find Cheap Accommodations.
The cheapest accommodations are going to be your car or a tent. If you want to see Europe look into backpacking across it. Or if roughing it isn’t your style, consider staying in hostels. A hostel bed might just be a few dollars per night, and you’ll have a roof over your head and plenty of fellow travelers to visit with.
Look for Free Food.
If you’re staying in a motel, stay in one with free breakfast. Before you book your hostel, look to see if they have a standing pizza night or BBQ. Arranging your accommodations in places that also offer food can save you quite a bit. Making your own food will come in a close second.
Skip the Tourist Traps.
If you think the only way you can see Rome is by paying a guide, you’re mistaken. Tourist traps entice those with big budgets and to spend easy money on an easy vacation. You can spend a bit more time and energy finding ways to explore these destinations without being suckered into the tourist trap options.
Collect Memories, Not Stuff.
If you think buying souvenirs is an essential part of travel, you are sorely mistaken. Souvenirs are just stuff. If you are traveling on a budget, your focus should be on collecting memories, not things. You have your phone with you, so take pictures. Take videos of the things you see and experience. Later you can arrange these pictures into photo books if you want, but the images are tied to the memories – not the expensive souvenirs.
Avoid Expensive Visas.
If you know it is going to cost you a lot to even enter a country, skip that country for now. There are hundreds of places to travel – you don’t need to go directly to the one that charges you hundreds for a basic travel visa.
Plan Well in Advance.
Prices go up the closer to the time of travel. Book well in advance and you might be able to score some low-price deals and specials. Look for special offers and sales, especially in the off season, to save even more. Planning well in advance often means having the most time to shop around and compare prices. Use that time well.
Clear Your Cookies.
Speaking of comparing rates, clear your website cookies or use a private browsing window when you are looking at prices. Websites track previous offers and rates, so to find the best deals, you need to delete the cookies that tell the websites what you were quoted last time.
Look for Sales Events.
Don’t buy stuff during big sales like Black Friday. Buy travel instead. Travel sites offer big discounts and deals during peak sales days. If you’ve been keeping an eye on prices and options, when websites offer tremendous savings for Boxing Day or Black Friday, you can scoop them right up.
Luggage has hidden costs. You might have to pay more on your flight to carry the luggage, especially if you are arranging discount flights. You also have to lug your luggage around and possible pay for storage or even tip someone to carry it if this is expected culturally. So, skip the luggage. Make everything fit in a backpack or carryon and free your hands and wallet up for other adventures.
Get Creative with Your Flights.
You don’t have to fly roundtrip from a central destination. Your best trips might start in one place and finish in another, especially if you have public transportation to help you get from one spot to another. Look for single legs of your flights and price them from different airports. Look for layovers that last for long stretches and you can see even more while saving money. Some airlines offer multiple legs on a single ticket, which might expand your options as well.
If you are traveling on a budget, you must stay flexible. Have a loose idea of your goals and times for travel but stay open to adding and dropping things as they come along based on price. You might be able to score almost free last-minute tickets to an event or concert while on your trip. If that happens, you must be comfortable shifting things around. Don’t get so tied to your plans that you don’t have any wiggle room if a better deal comes along.
Sometimes your dream of travelling doesn’t come soon enough, and saving can seem to take forever. If you’re good at managing your finances a installment loan can be an option to getting to your dream destinations sooner.