Fond of scrolling through Instagram, looking wistfully at beautiful photos of people travelling the world? You’re not alone. If you wish to travel around the globe but don’t have the funds you think you need, the first thing you must understand is that most people travelling the world are not really as rich as you think they are. In fact, they may be just as broke as you. While it’s a common belief that you need a lot of time and money to travel, only the former is true. More than money, you require the will and determination to travel, because budget travel requires careful and diligent planning, and it’s definitely not easy, but it’s entirely possible. With the following tips, you’ll soon be travelling cheap like a pro.
#1 – Do your research
Research is one of the most critical aspects of travelling on a budget. While spontaneous plans are certainly fun, they can be quite expensive, primarily due to their last-minute nature. Flights and hotels booked at the last minute are never cheap, and planning for any trip at least two months in advance is a must. Give yourself time to research the best time to visit the place, the most affordable places to stay in and the cheapest flight to take. Make sure to read reviews and talk to people before starting on your journey, because learning from other people’s experiences is one of the best ways to save money.
#2 – Join a travel rewards program
If you love travel, you should always try to join a travel rewards program. Most airlines have frequent flyer programs which are usually free to join. The more you travel, the more you tend to earn through these programs, and if you have amassed enough points/miles on a frequent flyer program, you can even travel for free once in a while! Since air tickets are usually the most expensive part of travel, if you get these for free, you end up saving a lot. Of course, it’s not just airlines who have such programs nowadays; hotels have them too, making it that much easier to earn points and eventually reduce your travel expenditure.
#3 – Find cheap accommodation options
It’s a great experience to stay in a five-star hotel like the Taj and be treated like royalty through your stay, but unfortunately, it’s not always an option because of our limited bank balance. Control your urge to avail luxury accommodation, and go for homestays or hostels instead. Dormitories and shared rooms cost much less than single rooms in luxurious hotels, and homestays give you a unique taste of the place’s culture and traditions. A homestay is usually the best option if it’s available, because what better way to get a feel of local culture than staying with the locals?
#4 – Travel slow
One thing you must remember is that slow travel is cheap travel. This is evident from the fact that flight tickets are often more expensive than train tickets, and travelling by an express train tends to cost more than a slower train. Slowing down is often more enjoyable because you get to truly savour the place and learn about its culture. Travelling by road or rail rather than air gives you the time to appreciate the beauty of the journey, making it doubly beneficial (in terms of cost as well as enjoyment).
#5 – Eat and shop where the locals do
Popular tourist destinations and spots often sell souvenirs and have great restaurants in their locality. But the best way to save money is to avoid these popular shopping places and restaurants completely as things tend to cost more in tourist-friendly places. Instead, try out the street food (it’s always the cheapest) and eat at restaurants the locals frequent. You’re also much more likely to find souvenirs and items unique to the place at affordable costs if you shop at local markets instead of targeting the tourist shops.
#6 – Keep an eye out for discounts
If you’ve started planning your trip well in advance, don’t make the mistake of booking all your tickets too soon. Instead, make sure to subscribe to loyalty programs and look out for any promotions offered. Discounts are not too hard to come by in this age of competition, and you should be ready to grab a discount in air fares or accommodation costs if you wish to travel cheap. The promotional emails most companies send are annoying, but some offers are very useful, so bear with the irritation to cut down on your travel costs.
#7 – Carry your food (or cook yourself!)
Believe it or not, food is a significant expense on any trip. If you cut down on this cost, it will probably bring down your expenses quite a bit. It may seem boring and not fun at all, but the best way to avoid spending on food is to carry your own from home. Another simple way to save on food is to cook for yourself wherever you go, if you have the means to do so. Eating street food and looking for cheap restaurants are, of course, valid options, but carrying your own food or cooking your meals is usually much cheaper than even those options.
#8 – Walk or rent a bicycle
Travelling inside the city you visit by taxi can be expensive, and adds up over time. Using public transport is a good way to curtail your expenses. If you wish to save more, however, you can always rent a bicycle. Most major cities, especially in Europe, offer this as an option, and the rent is much cheaper than what you would otherwise spend going from place to place. If cycling is not something you enjoy, you can always walk wherever you wish to go. It gives you a new appreciation for the beauties a place has to offer, and to top it off, it’s cheap, too! Walking is a great option especially if you’re not alone. If you are alone, it’s better to hire a cycle because it’s not always safe to walk everywhere alone.
#9 – Buy a local SIM card
This is vital if your travels take you out of your home country. International roaming costs are extremely high, and if you wish to communicate with people back home or even your local guide, it can get very expensive. So if you’re planning to stay at a place for a while before moving on or heading back home, buy a local SIM card to make communication easier and cheaper.
#10 – Travel off-season
There is always a “best time to visit” any place, and at such a time, it usually gets swarmed by tourists. Travel companies tend to take advantage of the great demand during such times and the prices skyrocket. Similarly, school vacations are the prime time for families to head out for a holiday, making it the peak season for travel. It is always wise to avoid travelling during such times. The best time to travel is usually the duration just before or after the “best time to visit”, meaning you won’t completely miss the wonders during the peak time, but you’ll successfully avoid the crowds and expensive tickets. These tips will serve as your handy guide to travelling on a budget, and they’ll help you save a lot of money. However, if you’re still low on cash for any reason, you don’t need to cancel or postpone your plans. You can always take an instant loan (or a travel loan) through online instant loans apps like EarlySalary, who will lend you the money almost instantly for a stress-free travel experience.