To travel far and long, without burning a hole in your wallet, is the ultimate dream for most of us. Who doesn’t like to save money while discovering the world? Traveling can be expensive, but with some practicality and a well-executed strategy, you can get by on the cheap. Try these tips and your next journey will be a lot easier on your wallet.
1. Look for free activities and fun things to do. Just a little research and you’ll find that there are lots of free activities in the area. Online groups have community calendars listing out what is going on in town while you are there. Do a free-guided walking tour to familiarize yourself with your destination. Museums often have a ‘FREE’ day once a week, and sometimes offer discounted admission after a certain time of day.
2. Book a room with a kitchenette. Nobody likes to cook on a vacation but heating that pizza after midnight is a lot cheaper than ordering room service. I love having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning before heading out to explore the city. A microwave and fridge will also be helpful for re-heating leftovers.
3. Shop at the local farmer’s market or the street grocer. Look for deep-discounted deals towards the end of the day. Also, shopping at local stores allows you to taste the local cuisine without having to pay the price of a restaurant. Buy some local seafood delicacy and cook it up in your apartment.
4. Choose your location carefully! Cost of cabs and local transportation can add up quickly, so you may want to stay in a central location. Ideally, stay at a place from where you can walk to all major attractions and where public transport is easily accessible.
5. Carry a bag when out exploring the sights. Having pre-purchased snacks and water during outings can save up to $ 20 a day. Don’t be a miser where it counts, splurge when it comes to treats that you can only find in that location.
6. Get a travel reward credit card and use points or miles. Flights, major chain hotels, even car hire and cab aggregators allow you to pay using reward points you may have accumulated over the year. Use these and always stay in properties which are on your reward network. Nothing is as sweet as a free flight or a complimentary room upgrade in a foreign city.
7. Always enquire about city tourism cards. They usually get you free entry to top visitor attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, skip-the-line options at busy attractions, free public transportation, and much more. Most of these come with a free guidebook.
8. Don’t splurge on accommodation. How much time are you really going to spend in there? Try remembering the last time you actually used amenities like as a pool or the fitness centre. Get the drift?
9. Time your vacation to go when the tourists have left. My favourite travel hack is to travel in the shoulder season when the weather is great, the crowds are thin and the prices are enticing!
10. Avoid tourist traps. Never eat in areas that are close to tourist destinations. In most destinations, walking just a few lanes can slash prices at shops and restaurants. Also, with captive customers abundantly walking in, such places have little incentive to offer quality products or warm service.
The best way to achieve all this is to have a budget for your journey and stick to it! Know when to save and when to splurge. Save money but also treat yourself during the trip. Having a budget is a wonderful way to keep yourself monetarily disciplined. Eat at a nice restaurant on your last night in town, take a cab once in a while when you are too tired to walk and basically enjoy your trip while keeping it light on the pocket.