Exploring exotic places doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you certainly don’t need to win the lottery to travel the world – not if you know how to watch your pennies. We’ve complied some tried and tested tips to help you plan a holiday on a budget.
1. Come up with a plan
Travelling spontaneously is great, if you have the luxury of time and money to spare. But if you’re travelling on a budget, the first thing to do is come up with a plan. You don’t have need a tight, hour-by-hour itinerary, but you should at least have an idea of how long you’ll be spending in each city or country, and know the route that your epic adventure will take. Leaving less to chance means less unexpected spends; last-minute flights and accommodation are often far more expensive.
2. Travel out of season
Avoid trips during the school holidays, this is when the travel industry hikes up prices to take advantage of families who can only travel during these weeks. Research the best time to visit your intended destination, and then travel just before or after these dates. This is called the ‘shoulder season’, where you’ll still have a great trip but maybe the sun won’t shine quite as brightly (and, on the plus side, it won’t be quite as hot.) Hotels and airlines lower their prices to attract customers during this time.
3. Be accommodation-savvy
Trade expensive hotel suites for dorm rooms in hostels. Sharing a room naturally divides the costs and communal bunk rooms offer the opportunity to meet people who might be keen to explore with you. Other great alternatives are websites like AirBnB and Couchsurfing, where you simply book a spare room in a local person’s house or apartment. It’ll halve the price and allow you an authentic snapshot of real life in the city. Consider your host your very own, personal tour guide, filled with insider-tips for the best eateries and tourist spots in that neighbourhood.
4. Pack properly
Make sure you bring everything you need so that you don’t have to shop while you’re away (apart from a few souvenirs). No matter where you’re heading, take at least one pair of long jeans, warm hoodie and waterproof jacket for unpredictable weather incidents. For some in-depth advice, check out our ‘Travel like a pro’ guide to packing for every kind of trip.
5. Book flights in advance…
Especially return flights; running out of money abroad without a guaranteed ticket home is never ideal. Airlines ‘release’ their flight seats up to a year in advance and the closer you get to your departure date, the more the prices increase, especially in the last month.
6. Book Economical Tickets
Opt to travel on a Tuesday. Midweek travel prices are lower as a premium is added to weekend flights and you’ll breeze through shorter queues at airport check-in desks and security. Fly economy too – there’s no need to upgrade, no matter how nice Business Class looks. The money you save on cheap seats can be spent on food or accommodation when you arrive. Low-cost, budget airlines are fine for short flights and regularly have cheap deals.
These are some smart budget travel tips that can help you travel on a budget.