“Travel is one of the most enjoyable and expanding activities of all but it can be expensive. There are, however, some practical ways to greatly reduce the costs of transportation, accommodations, food, and entertainment no matter where you go. This article shares seven budget travel tips anyone can lise to save money.
There are more ways to travel than ever before. At the same time, airfares, hotel rooms, dining out, entertainment, and other travel expenses are soaring in many places. Much of the travel information you find online, such as by doing a Google search for “”cheap flights”” or “”cheap hotels”” only bring up normal prices. If you want real bargains, you have to dig a little deeper. Here are 7 creative tips for people who want to save money when they travel.
1. Consider Alternatives to Hotels
While Airbnb as an alternative to hotels is quite well known, not everyone realizes just how much money you can Save this way. When you search on Airbnb, try adjusting the price filter. You may be surprised how many options are available for less than $40 per night. The catch is that you have to be willing to forego luxury and sometimes share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. However, there are also many private rooms, sometimes even with private bathrooms in this price range. In addition to being potentially cheaper, the Airbnb experience is often more enjoyable than staying at a hotel, allowing you to live more like a local than a tourist.
Another option is Couch surfing, where hosts let you stay in their homes for free. Home exchanges are a variation on this idea if you have a home you’re willing to let someone stay in while you travel. There are now quite a few hotel alternatives that can make your trip both cheaper and more interesting
2. Be Flexible About Air Travel
It’s common knowledge that airfares vary a great deal depending on your dates and destinations. However, most travelers don’t fully take advantage of the many options to save money. If you’re set on a specific destination or you have firm travel dates, this isn’t an option. However, if you’re a little flexible you can often save hundreds of dollars on airfare.
On Sky scanner, for example, you can start with your airport of origin and check prices to “”Everywhere.”” This lets you identify the very cheapest fares for your requested dates. If you’re planning a vacation, one strategy is to choose your destination based on airfares. It also helps if you can plan your trip off season. If you’re traveling in the middle of summer or near the winter holidays, it’s often hard to find cheap flights anywhere.
3. Stay Close to Home
Exciting trips don’t necessarily have to involve long-distance travel. When you’re looking for ways to drastically cut down on your expenses, one of the best strategies is to look closer to home. No matter where you live, there are probably some interesting destinations within a few hours drive. This option also lets you cut down on the amount of time you spend traveling and lets you spend more time actually enjoying your trip.
If you live in a city, look for the nearest lake, mountain cabin, or beach town. If you’re already in a quiet area, a weekend or longer in the nearest metropolis might be an ideal and affordable getaway. Don’t make the mistake of linder valuing what’s close at hand.
4. Become a Housesitter
House or pet sitting is one of the best-kept secrets for budget travel. This is a situation where you stay at someone’s home and care for pets or take on other household duties. In some cases, all you have to do is water a few plants and take the mail in. While you can sometimes find house sits in formally through people you know, the most reliable method is to use agencies such as Trusted House Sitters or House Sitters of America.
If you’re creative and persistent, you may be able to arrange weeks or even months of house sittin a certain area. You still have to pay to get there and for food and other daily expenses, but your accommodations are usually free. It helps to be flexible about your destinations. The more popular destinations, such as capital cities, are quite competitive. If you’re willing to try more remote areas, you have a better chance. As you gain experience, You can accumulate reviews for your services which makes it easier to obtain sits in the future.
5. Practice Cheap But Tasty Dining Tips
Food is one of the pleasures of travel, whether you’re visiting a nearby city or a distant country. It can also be a major expense if you’re constantly dining out. There are some ways to save money on food and actually enhance your culinary experiences.
Avoid overpriced restaurants. Specifically, don’t dine out in airports, touristy neighborhoods, hotels, or cafeterias in theme parks or museums. In almost all cases, you’ll get mediocre food at high prices.
Cook for yourself. You’ll probably want to dine out sometimes. However, you can save money by shopping at grocery stores and local markets for some of your meals. This is easier if you have a full kitchen where you’re staying. However, even without this advantage, you can buy items that don’t need cooking such as fruits, cheeses, cold cuts and fresh bread. Try to find accommodations that provide at least a mini fridge to store staples.
Try street food and other casual options. Street food is currently enjoying an enhanced reputation in many places, from Los Angeles to Bangkok. Indeed, you can often find tasty and nutritious meals from food trucks and casual stands for a fraction of the price of formal restaurants. If you eat more budget meals you can splurge on higher-end eateries that are really worth the price.
6. Consider Cruises and Packages
Budget travelers often have an independent mindset, one that makes them prefer to book everything separately. Travel packages that include airfare, hotel, and sometimes other amenities may seem too, well, packaged for your tastes. However, in many cases, you can save money by bundling different elements of your trip. Cruises are similar in this regard as they include many features for a single price. Before choosing a package or cruise it’s important to do your research and understand exactly what is and isn’t included. Don’t however, overlook this possibility.
7. Save on Entertainment
Just as you can significantly reduce your dining costs and still eat well, so you can have fun without paying full price for entertainment. Here are a few ways to do this:
Buy tickets online before you travel. You can often get discounted tickets for concerts, plays, and admission to attractions by buying in advance.
Visit museums on free days. Many museums have free admission during certain hours each week. Research this and plan your visit accordingly.
Seek free attractions. Many places offer free or very low-cost attractions. Many museums in London, for example, are free (all the time, not just once per week). Search for “”free attractions entertainment”” for your destination. Also, when you arrive, check out weekly newspapers with calendar listings. These are good for finding smaller events such as art openings, author readings, and street festivals.
Buy a pass. If you want to visit multiple attractions in a major city, you can often buy a day pass. Before you invest in this, make sure you really want to see these attractions.
Spend time outdoors. Healthy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and even just walking are usually inexpensive compared to most tourist attractions. You often get at least as much value from this as well. Even in a city, you can have lots of fun and see a great deal by walking around in parks or renting bikes.”