If you know how to manage your finances, then traveling the world to far-off destinations doesn’t have to break the bank or require you to win the jackpot. We’ve put together a list of tried-and-true advice to assist you with budget vacation planning.
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Traveling the World: Develop a strategy
If you have extra time and money to spend, traveling on the spur of the moment is fantastic. However, making a plan is the first step if you’re traveling on a tight budget. While you don’t need to have a detailed, hour-by-hour schedule, you should at least know where you’re going to be staying for how long and where your epic trip will take you. Less chance equals fewer unforeseen expenses; last-minute travel and lodging are sometimes significantly more costly.
Choose off-peak hours to travel
Steer clear of vacations during school breaks when travel costs soar to capitalize on families restricted to these weeks. Determine the ideal time to visit your chosen destination and plan your trip just before or after these peak dates, known as the ‘shoulder season.’ During this period, you can still enjoy a fantastic trip, albeit with slightly less sunshine (and the advantage of milder temperatures). Hotels and airlines typically reduce their prices to attract customers during this time.
Choose budget-friendly accommodations
Swap pricey hotel suites for hostel dorm rooms to share costs. Shared rooms not only divide expenses but also provide opportunities to meet fellow travelers. Consider alternatives like AirBnB and Couchsurfing, where you can book a spare room in a local resident’s home, cutting costs in half and offering an authentic glimpse into local life. Staying with friends, family, or reconnecting with acquaintances in different locations can also open up new travel possibilities.
Ensure you pack everything you need to avoid unnecessary expenses while away. Pack at least one pair of long jeans, a warm hoodie, and a waterproof jacket for unexpected weather changes. For more detailed advice, refer to our ‘Travel Like a Pro’ packing guide for various types of trips.
Plan and book flights ahead
Book flights well in advance, especially return tickets, to avoid being stranded abroad without a guaranteed trip home. Airlines release seats up to a year before departure, and prices tend to rise as the departure date approaches, particularly in the last month.
Opt for midweek travel, particularly on Tuesdays, when prices are lower compared to weekends. Flying economy is usually sufficient, and the money saved on cheaper seats can be redirected towards food or accommodation. Consider using low-cost, budget airlines for short flights, and try to travel with hand luggage only to save on baggage fees.
Accept public transportation.
Choose buses and trains over planes for more economical travel. Overnight train journeys can also reduce the number of hostel nights you need to pay for.
Be mindful of your food expenses
Save money on meals by purchasing affordable lunches from supermarkets or local fresh food markets instead of expensive cafes or restaurants. Explore your surroundings before deciding on a dinner spot to avoid overspending. Opt for water over beer with meals to save both your wallet and your waistline. If available, use hostel kitchens to prepare your meals and cut down on dining expenses.
Make money while you’re on the road.
Consider working holidays as a viable option to finance extended periods of travel. Opportunities abound, such as teaching skiing during the winter season, assisting holidaymakers in the Mediterranean during the summer, teaching a language in Thailand, or freelancing while on the move. The possibilities are virtually limitless.