With inflation on the rise, saving money for travel is more daunting than just a few years ago. But that doesn’t mean traveling on a budget isn’t possible. A user on a popular travel forum asks travel buffs for tips on saving money while traveling, and people share their insights.
1. Use Public Transportation
When you reach your destination, it can be tempting to get around using a ride-share service or taxi to get from place to place. But you can save a ton of money if you travel like the locals, using the available trains, busses, and other public transit options. If you’re traveling from one city to another, ask the locals how they do it rather than shelling out more money for a touristy route.
2. Avoid Organized Tours
While joining a tour group is tempting because it can help you explore the local area and learn more about its culture, you can still make the most of a trip by seeing the sights solo. Chances are, if you go into a local bar or cafe, you can strike up a conversation with someone willing to teach you more about their country, and it will be both more authentic and affordable.
3. Plan Trips Based on Flight Prices
Accommodations and flights are the most expensive components of most trips, so you’re golden if you can save big in at least one of those categories. One way to do this is to plan your trips around cheap flights rather than choosing a destination and sticking to it. You can find cheap flights by signing up for sales emails and buying tickets far in advance.
4. Book Everything in Advance
Anything you can book in advance, do so. While a spontaneous trip is exciting, planning your trip gives you more leeway with your money. Purchase flights, hotels, and some activities in advance to save big rather than waiting until the last minute and being forced to splurge.
5. Research Free Things to Do
Do your research before you take off for your destination. Google “free things to do” in your destination, and many options will pop up. Often, you can find free museum tickets for specific days, which will help you save money on your travels and find exciting things to do at the same time.
6. Travel During the Off-Season
Flights are much cheaper when you travel during the off-season. If you can be flexible with your trip’s timing, research and visit your destination of choice when tourists aren’t pouring into the country. Not only will your wallet thank you, but the attractions you see will be less crowded, and you’ll have a better chance of having an authentic cultural experience.
7. Make Your Own Meals
A massive piece of the travel experience is enjoying local dishes in the country you visit, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat out for every meal. You can save a surprising amount of money by preparing your own meals or eating an ample complimentary breakfast if your accommodation provides it. Then, when you do go out to eat, avoid tourist traps and visit restaurants filled with locals.
8. Pack Light
If you can travel with nothing but a small suitcase or a backpack, you will experience less anxiety and save money and time. Budget flights often carry high baggage fees, so you’ll save big if you can opt-out altogether. Plus, you can easily access public transportation rather than paying for a taxi to transport your luggage. You’ll also be less tempted to spend all your money shopping because you don’t have the space.
“I have been traveling for five years now, and my best tip would be volunteering,” writes one user. Many websites and organizations set travelers up with places to volunteer abroad. You exchange your work for free accommodations and meals and still have time to explore the destination. On top of that, you’ll gain tons of unforgettable memories volunteering with animals, locals, or in your chosen field.
10. Stay in a Hostel
While you can’t beat the privacy of staying in a hotel, the hostel’s price may make you ditch the hotel once and for all. Plus, you get to meet other travelers, and some hostels are much nicer than you’d think. Some even offer complimentary breakfasts so you can save money on food.
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