Your Pinterest folder is filled with beautiful pictures from destinations as varied as Bali, Egypt, and Venice. You sigh wistfully as pictures of friends on vacation at Peru’s Machu Picchu come up on your social media feed. You want to know how you too can afford these trips and scour the Internet for information but you’re a little skeptical about people promising that you can indeed travel on a budget. After all, if it were so easy, more people would be doing it, right?
The fact is travel on a budget is entirely possible and more and more people are finding ways that are allowing them to do it. Want to enjoy the world on a budget, here is how you do it.
Travel in the “off-peak” season
Summer is the perfect time to travel. The problem with summer is that everyone else thinks this is the perfect time to travel too. That translates into crowded venues, activities and of course, higher prices, from airfare to room and board.
Avoid the rush and garner significant savings by traveling during the off-peak season. You won’t have to compete with the crowds to see well-known sites or do well-known activities. Locals are likely to be friendlier and have time to chat with you because they won’t be deluged in crowds. Goods and services are also likely to be cheaper.
Go to cheaper locations
Let’s face it. Some trips appeal to you on a visceral level. Standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower, big game hunting in Nairobi and touring the black sand beaches of Iceland come to mind.
Big dream destinations also come with big price tags. Don’t worry though, some use Travel Hacking Tips to avoid them and enjoy their trip fully. To scale down like them, you may want to look at other areas of the world that are cheaper to travel to and where your currency may stretch farther.
The Asian continent is filled with beautiful destinations that meet that criteria. South and Central as well. Instead of spending all that money for a tour of a part of a country in Europe, for roughly the same price, see multiple countries in less traditionally popular areas.
Don’t be a tourist
What do tourists do? They stay at hotels. They dine out. They pay for packaged tours. They attend expensive entertainment. This is fine if you have the money, if you don’t, get as local as possible.
Food is one of the things you’ll spend the most money on while traveling. There will be restaurants around the hotel catering to the tourist crowd. The food will be fare you’re accustomed to eating at home, for 2-3 times the price.
Why not try what’s available locally? Trying out street foods allows you to meet locals and learn about the culture.
There will be local activities you can access for minimal cost or even free. This will require some reading up about your planned destination, as well as talking to friends who have been there. You can beat the cost of pre-packaged tours and get to see places that “tourists” never see.
Ditch 5-star accommodations
This is part of not being a tourist. Hotels and more formal accommodation arrangements can be costly. Try going to a hostel. Hostel places are available for a few dollars a day or in many cases free if you’re willing to do some work in exchange.
There are many networks online that will allow you to connect with someone in the country you want to go to and arrange to board with them. Airbnb is also an option for people who want to live among locals and get a taste of everyday life.
If you are into hiking and the outdoors, you may choose to backpack as well. You’ll incur few rooms and board costs this way and learn more about the country than the average tourist would. Traveling and sleeping in a camper van offers the same benefits.
“Card” it up
Make use of card discounts where you can. If you are a student, you can take part in special student programs, which will issue you a discount card you can present to vendors. Many countries and cities also feature discount programs you can sign up for. You’ll be issued a pass that allows you free on trains and public transport and has reduced ticket prices for activities.
Become part of the “sharing” economy
Some research on the Internet will reveal that there is an entire network to facilitate people who want to travel on a budget. This “sharing” economy consists of people who will share food or exchange services with you for an agreed-upon favor or barter of items.
If you have little or no money, as you can see from the above, it isn’t a problem. Explore what’s out there to see how to travel on a budget too.