5 Ways to Travel on a Budget – the Basics
Traveling, as you may already know, is one of my favorite things to do. There is even some kind of thrill that I get from simply booking a vacation. While many others may relate to my love for traveling, they may be wondering how they can do it while saving as much as possible. That’s why I am going to share with you all some ways to travel on a budget.
In order to have a great time traveling, see new things, taste amazing food, and sleep in comfortable (and clean) places, you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money. Of course we all dream of staying in 5-star hotels and flying first class – but, for most people, this isn’t reality (yet). You can do it for relatively cheap and end up saving more than you would expect. Here are some helpful tips as to how you can do it for your next trip!
1. Avoid “Peak” Seasons
First things first, let me start off by saying that each city/country/continent can have a different peak season. By “peak”, I mean the busy, crowded, booked, and overpriced season. For many places, this will be summertime. I know what you are thinking – who wouldn’t prefer to go on vacation in summer versus the winter? Well, it’s not always that bad.
Avoiding peak seasons will help you get away from having to pay overpriced costs for just about everything. From your flights to your stay and even museum fares in the city you are visiting. Personally, I love traveling from September-May (mainly in Europe). For some countries, it is still warm and for others, the winter time is absolutely stunning – I think some snow can make a city look 10x better.
Now if you are traveling for the beach and some fun in the sun, there are still some warmer days before and after the peak summer season which tends to be from June to August. This is something that you can explore further based on the destination you are looking to travel to and their climate.
2. Use Local Transportation or Walk
When looking for a way to travel on a budget, one thing that is commonly overlooked is the options you have for transportation around the city you are in. It is where you can end up spending more than you need to during a trip – without even realizing. Utilizing your local transportation options will save you a lot and it’s usually not that bad. If you can speak English or simply know your way around, you can get by.
Local transportation options usually include buses and the metro. Many cities offer daily, weekly, or monthly passes for affordable prices because this is what the locals use!
Walking is also a great way to see more of the city that you are in. It’s also great exercise and a HUGE money saver. My recent trip to Barcelona was 3 days of non-stop walking. I averaged about 19-24 kilometers (12-15 miles) between 9am-6pm! Even though it was a lot, it didn’t seem like it. Plus, fresh air and exercise are always good for you.
3. Low-Cost Airlines
There are many airlines that you can fly with for a low cost, mainly in Europe and Asia. Low-cost airlines are some of the most popular ways to get around fast (usually) and for the most bang for your buck. They can sometimes even end up being cheaper than the bus!
When I studied abroad, I bought a roundtrip ticket from Venice, Italy to Barcelona, Spain for 7 Euros (roughly $8) – and this was only a few days before leaving! I recently bought a ticket from Varna, Bulgaria to Vienna, Austria for 40 Leva ($23).
I use websites (and apps) like Skyscanner to check out my flight options and book my trips. What’s great about this website is that you can pick your departure city and it gives you the option to search manually or search “Everywhere”! When you pick the dates, you can either put in specifics or choose by month, even the cheapest month!
Here is what a sample search looks like! I chose Rome as the departure city and selected “Everywhere” as the destination then chose the cheapest month.
4. Avoid Staying in City Centers
Another one of the ways to travel on a budget includes avoiding booking your stay in city centers. Yes, the center of the city is usually the most important part to see, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay there. Think about it, since it is a desired place to go, it will be overpriced. Especially in the peak season. There are many hotels, hostels, and Airbnb’s that you can stay in just outside of the center for a much cheaper price.
These locations will most-likely have easy transportation options to get you to the center and usually, they don’t take long to do so. Plus, you’ll get a better glimpse of the local life and see parts of the city that you didn’t think you would.
5. Know Where to Exchange Currency
One of the biggest mistakes you could make as a traveler is to get currency at the airport. Usually, these exchange bureaus can say that they offer 0% commission and no fees, but it is usually not true as they do need to make money somehow. Chances are that they are not giving you the actual exchange rate.
Your alternatives in this kind of situation are to wait until you get to the city – but still do your research about the current exchange rate and be mindful of the fact that you may not get a good deal at every change bureau. Also, you can go to your bank before leaving for your trip!
These are just 5 ways to travel on a budget, but there are many more. It is important to do your research, plan ahead, and utilize all of your resources. You can still have an awesome experience and vacation without breaking the bank!
Have you tried any of these in the past? Will you use them in the future? Let me know in the comments about your budget-friendly travel experiences!