Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tips for Traveling on a Budget


Seeing the world need not cost an arm and a leg, or all of next year’s salary. With a little savvy and plenty of patience, it is feasible to go from shore to shore on a shoestring. The key to making the best of your money is careful planning as well as a clear itinerary, which will allow you to carefully itemize your potential expenses as well as have a little set aside for emergencies. Read on for more tips and lifehacks for the cash-strapped jetsetter, or just anyone traveling on a budget. 


1. Schedule Your Trip for Off-Season

Although it may be tempting to fly out during local holidays and festivals, it is during these occasions that seat prices and accommodation rates tend to spike, just to take better advantage of the tourist influx. Traveling outside of the tourist peak seasons increases your chances of scoring a good deal on seat sales and other promotions. You can travel more leisurely and with less hassle during the off-season, as there will be fewer tourists competing with you for photo opportunities or queuing up to get into sites and attractions. 

2. Eat What the Locals Eat

For many travelers, must-dos on their agenda include dining at Michelin-star restaurants, or at that bistro recommended on a travel site. However, chances are that these prime food spots also put a premium on their prices. A great way to save on food expenses while having a little adventure is to ask for recommendations from local tour guides, concierges, or even friends and acquaintances residing at your destination. More likely their picks will be affordable and accessible and will give you a better glimpse of the cuisine of the area. After all what better way to know another culture than through its stomach? 

3. Take Public Transportation

Taking cabs or renting a car has its perks especially when travelling to far-flung locales outside of urban centers. For travelers in a metropolis or capital, it may be more efficient to utilize the area’s public transport system. Upon arrival, purchase a multiple-use ticket or card for trams, train lines, or bus routes. This will not only spare you the trouble of lining up to purchase single-use tickets at every stop, but also cut down on fares and transportation costs. 

4. Tame the Shopping

It is almost expected that any trip to an exotic locale will involve shopping for souvenirs and mementoes, as well as for gifts for family and friends waiting from home. However, this can result in a hole in the budget, not only from the actual costs of the items, but also for additional charges for overweight baggage or shipping fees. Have a set shopping list before heading out, to avoid impulsive purchases. It is also a good idea to limit gifts and souvenirs to light and easily portable items which will also withstand being jostled about in your luggage on a long trip. 

5. Consider Other Options for Accommodations

Swanky hotel rooms should not be de rigeur for travelers. Aside from being costly, the experience of staying in a chain hotel may be frenetic since you will be sharing a building or complex with dozens or even hundreds of fellow guests all jostling for the same buffet line or heading for the same swimming pool. Alternative lodging options also offer much in the way of comfort and privacy without burning up your budget. Consider staying in bed and breakfast inns, backpacker hostels, transient dormitories, or even Air BnB apartments. These may have additional features not present in large hotel rooms such as kitchenettes and other cooking facilities, in-house galleries and exhibitions, and common areas such as lounges and roof decks that are perfect for relaxing or light socializing. 

The basis of these tips is good research, which requires knowing more about your destination other than the recommendations from travel agents, or even family and friends. Blogs, travel fairs, expos and even cultural events are great sources of information to begin learning about a new place, even before setting foot there. After all, better information equals better preparation, which makes a trip so much easier and more enjoyable all around. 

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