Cheap travel tips: stretching your budget
Scooping effective tips to travel on the cheap side is essential to stretch your budget and make every hard-earned dollar (euro or pound) count.
Here are my five favourite cheap travel tips:
1. Travel when nobody else does. If you can take time off outside of school or public holidays – do it. Hotels, restaurants and tour operators charge extra over periods like Christmas and Easter. Also, sass out public holidays in your destination country. For example, Australia Day is coming up and it’s more than enticing for locals to hit the road for a long weekend. So, avoid these times as much as you can. You’ll save money and will be able to explore with fewer crowds.
2. Compare prices. Flights are expensive and it’s worthwhile to compare different airlines. However, be aware of inconvenient flight times (you may lose valuable holiday time) long stop overs, luggage limitations and restrictions on ticket changes (in case you’re not too sure when you want to return). Another good tip is picking different airports. For example, last time we planned to visit a friend in the south of France the flights looked too expensive until we really studied a map to see that the airport in Bilbao (in northern Spain) wasn’t only closer to my friend’s place than any other French airport, it was also signficantly cheaper.
3. Choose your level of comfort. Accommodation and mobility take out another big chunk in travel budgets. Have a think about whether you’d be okay to sleep in a dorm room (the cheapest places in Backpacker Hostels in Australia), consider camping or even coach surfing. The same goes for public transport at your destination – will catching bus and train get you to most of the destinations? If not, think about transportation and research alternatives like car rentals.
4. Use your social network. Facebook can really work in your advantage. If you plan a trip overseas or even into a different town it’s absolutely worthwhile to do a public shout-out and ask people to help. The great aspect of visiting someone in town is that you might get a lift from the airport and a free tour-guide. Having said that, if you do score a free guest room and use someone else’s hospitality make sure you don’t overextend your stay, always offer to reciprocate the favour and factor in some ways of saying thank you (inviting for dinner works a treat usually).
5. Piggyback if possible. One of my favourite cheap travel tips is to combine work commitments and travel – you’re already saving on airfare and might as well use your chance to get to know the place you’re visiting. Usually workplaces respond fairly open to requests to fly out earlier or return later. Travel usually equates to doing a little bit of overtime anyway so there’s no harm in asking for some time off in lieu too!
Have I forgotten a cheap travel tip? What’s your favourite way of saving while exploring?