Exploring the world and travelling to far-flung destinations can be expensive. Everyone should experience the liberating feeling that travel brings, but not everyone can afford it. Flights, fuel costs, accommodation, and various additional expenses can really rack up on your adventures.
But travel doesn’t have to be so costly. There are plenty of ways to save a bit of money on your summer vacation to allow you to enjoy your trip without worrying about your finances. Here are a few great tips for travelling on a budget.
Create a plan
Although the idea of hopping in your car and seeing where the road takes you is romantic and exciting, such spontaneity doesn’t come cheap. If you don’t make firm plans, you can end up being forced to spend the night at inexpensive hotels or buy overpriced last-minute train tickets. Before leaving on your trip, plan the itinerary in detail and create a budget to prevent you from overspending. Accommodation and transport providers often hike up their prices at the last minute, so book well ahead of time to make the most of low-cost flights and hotel stays.
Travel out of season
Everyone goes on vacation in the summer holidays, and that’s why it’s so expensive. Because hotels and airlines can ramp up their prices, knowing full well that people will fork out money to enjoy their annual family getaway. Try booking your trip for a less conventional time of year, such as in winter or away from school holidays. Not only will you be able to save a hefty sum of money, but you’ll also be avoiding the crowds.
Be smart with accommodation.
Staying in expensive hotel suites can be a luxury on holiday, but it comes with a substantial bill. When travelling, your accommodation is just somewhere to spend the night and store your belongings; it doesn’t have to be fancy. By being a bit smarter about your stay, you will spend a lot less and might have a more memorable experience too. A bed in a hostel dorm will be much cheaper than a private room, and you’ll get to meet a whole host of new faces along the way. Sites like Airbnb allow you to stay in people’s homes and rented-out spaces, which is often a much cheaper option than hotels. Campsites, cabins and eco-lodges are all distinctive, unusual and budget-friendly places to stay, which will provide you with a much more memorable travel experience to take home with you. And if you want a completely free stay, try CouchSurfing. Going down this route will allow you to spend the night in the home of a local person living in your destination country for no money at all.
The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination only to remember you forgot your phone charger and have to buy a new one. Be smart about your packing, and make a comprehensive checklist of everything you need before you go. Tick everything off as you pack, and this will prevent you from having to buy expensive items when you arrive. Most airlines charge more depending on how much luggage you have, so try to fit everything in as few bags as possible. If you’re only going on a short trip, you’ll save a lot of money if you can avoid checking in baggage and taking everything on the plane with you.
Exchange money in advance
If you need to exchange your money for local currency, don’t leave it until you arrive. Currency exchanges in airports and tourist hotspots rarely provide good deals, and you could end up being ripped off. Exchange your money well in advance of your trip and shop around for the best exchange rate you can find. If you need to withdraw money when you’re out there, make sure you have a card that offers free international withdrawals to avoid forking out for excessive bank fees.
Get your car serviced
If you are travelling by car, you don’t want to end up breaking down or getting a puncture in the middle of nowhere. Ensure you take your car for a service to avoid any costly repairs. If you’ve been putting off getting your oil changed, or your rims and tyres replaced, do so well before you leave to avoid unplanned disasters.
Use public transport
When you’re travelling abroad, try to avoid more expensive modes of transport where you can. Taking a train or a bus to your destination rather than flying will save you a lot of money, and is better for the environment too. Avoid taxis for short trips, and instead, do some research to find local bus timetables. It’ll be a much cheaper and a more authentic experience as well.