Best tips to travel on a budget!

The moment you get tired of pushing yourself is the very moment you should push yourself harder.

Like every millennial on this earth, I love to travel. But what I love even more is to travel on a budget.

Traveling opens your mind to new experiences and ideas. It exposes you to new cultures and ways of life, broadening your perspective and understanding of how the world works. It can get pretty expensive in this economy, but that shouldn’t stop you from leaving the monotony of your life from time to time. As a matter of fact, traveling doesn’t even have to cost a fortune. And I’m going to give you a few tips that will allow you to travel on a budget and still have the best time of your life.

Travel off-peak season

This is probably the most efficient way to travel on a budget. The travel industry takes advantage of high peak seasons to boost all their prices, and so by avoiding those times to travel, you would save hundreds of dollars.

When traveling during off-peak seasons, you get lower airfare, as airlines try to fill as many seats as possible while tourism is down. The accommodations are also cheaper and let’s not forget about car rentals. You get a few bonuses that are not necessarily monetary but are cool, such as reduced crowds and more availability for activities, and sometimes you get a better exchange rate during those periods. And to attract tourists in these low times, you might find better deals and more personalized service.

I would look up what happens during those off-seasons, to make sure I will still have a good time, but if I don’t find an issue, I would definitely go when the prices are cheaper.

For example, going to Phuket, Thailand, in high season can cost up to 2 200$ Cad from November to May. However, their monsoon season is between June to October. During that period, the price could drop to 1 500$ or even less. If the rain bothers you, maybe this deal is not for you, but if you don’t mind it that much, as it may not be constant, you can save more than 700$ only on your plane ticket.

Lastly, you should 100% consider traveling during the off-season for ethical reasons. There is beauty and solace in knowing that when you travel, you are making the world a better place. During peak seasons, the hosting country has to deal with a lot of tourists but eventually will have to lay off the majority of the staff until the next high-demand season, which puts a whole family in distress. It’s also better for the environment because the consumption is spread over the year and not focused on a few months.

Basically, traveling off-season, if possible, benefits everyone!

Use public transport

In a lot of countries, public transport is better than using a car. As someone who absolutely despises taking public transport, know that while I travel, I absolutely love it.

I’m able to save on renting a car, on fuel, on parking fees (and even saving time with this one), on tolls, and much more. And ultimately, I feel a lot more like a local when I use the bus and metro. You get to see a lot more of the city from the windows of a bus than the windows of your car. You get to relax and enjoy the ride instead of stressing about navigating unfamiliar roads or dealing with traffic.

Most countries have a very elaborate bus, metro, and train systems in place for the locals and tourists, plus they are very reliable.

As an example, renting a car in Lisbon, Portugal, costs about 750$ Cad per week. And you can add to that the gas and parking, so let’s say around 1 000$ a week. On the other hand, you can get the Lisboa Card, for 21$ a day which gives you access to all the public transport for free, and gives you discounts and free access to more than 78 attractions in the city! It’s also better for the environment as you reduce your carbon footprint.

Get your credit card to work for you

A lot of credit cards can give you perks to travel. Which will save you a lot of money in the end. Some cards waver atm fees or exchange rate fees. Some allow you to accumulate points, so you can exchange them for a plane ticket or accommodation.

You have to shop around to find the card that gives you access to the best deals.

Choose your accommodations carefully

In today’s society, we have a lot of options given to us for our accommodations. We have Airbnb, hotels, hostels, and other services such as Couchsurfing or trusted house sitters.

To save money on your visit, choose a budget-friendly accommodation or even a free one if possible. Also, choose an affordable area. Something that might help with securing a better rate would be booking in advance. A place with a kitchen can help you to save on the food you would eat out.

If you are traveling in a big group, you might go with an Airbnb; compared to traveling alone, you could prefer a hostel.

This is definitely a hard decision to make, but nothing a pro and con list won’t help with.

Be open to your destination

If you really care about your destination, you could stick to it but if you’re like me and just want to leave and discover the world, being open with your destination can save you a lot of money.

If you look on Skyscanner or google flights, you can find amazing to your destination.

On both sites, you can leave the destination open and see where it will be the least expensive to travel to during the days you choose. Also, you have to understand some countries are generally more expensive than others. So if you choose Denmark, you will have to pay more than if you go to Morocco, for example.

Don’t eat out your money

Food is another expense to consider while traveling. But thankfully, there are a few options where you can save a bit of money.

  1. Cook your own meals: This is where having accommodation with a kitchen comes in handy.
  2. Eat at local markets: You will find a variety of street food vendors that offer delicious and affordable meals.
  3. Eat at local restaurants: Never go to restaurants on main streets, they are tourist hotspots that cost a lot more than other places.
  4. Pack snacks and sandwiches: You don’t want to stay hungry to the point where you can’t choose where you will eat and stop in the first place without looking at the prices.
  5. Avoid alcohol: It’s expensive for no good reason.
  6. Be aware of the local customs: Some days or times of the day are cheaper than others.

Get a local SIM card

If having your phone and access to the internet is important for you, getting a SIM card at your destination is an excellent way to save money, especially as a Canadian. International data roaming costs are simply exorbitant, and getting it in local currency will save you. Plans in the world are usually less expensive than in Canada so take advantage of that while traveling.

But if you want to save more money, forget about your phone and the internet. Not to worry, you will have access to Wi-Fi, and most places offer it for free, so it’s not a big problem. It is 2023 after all!

Plan your trip around free attractions

You would be surprised how many free things you can get while you travel. For example, the Lisboa Card gives you access to attractions and museums for free. You can also get free walking tours and only give a tip at the end, which is one of the best ways to discover a city. Lastly, especially in Europe, you can get free access to museums after a certain time or on certain days. So you should always research everything before leaving, which brings me to my next point…

Plan everything ahead

Planning your next trip is important for many reasons. Not only does it help you budget and save money, but it also allows you to make the most out of your vacation time. When you plan ahead, you can find the best deals on flights, hotels, and activities. To travel on a budget is not made for everyone. It requires patience and planning. You can’t just pick up your stuff and leave and expect to save on your trip.

So plan everything ahead of time. Find the best deals and discounts. Talk to locals.

By the end of your planning, you will have an idea of your budget and how much your trip will cost.

Let me know in the comments what other ways you know to save on a trip!

Until next time,

Sofyah

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