10 Tips for Budget Traveling
10 May 2016 | Mri Grout
Traveling doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg; it doesn't have to be only for the rich and famous. It can be for the everyday skint person like you and me. I left home after saving up about a grand more than the cost of a plane ticket, but yet I still managed to budget my small pile of money to last for more than eight months in Australia - AKA: the expensive land of Down Under.However, I wouldn't entirely recommend you go about it like I did because that was a bit extreme. Instead I would suggest you follow these 10 tips for budget traveling to make sure your money stretches the furtherst abroad.
1. Travel Young and/or During/After University
For those under 26, you have a lot more discounts available at your fingertips than your older friends do. For instance, if you're under 18 then the Louvre is free to enter and if you're under 26 and a citizen of the EU then the Louvre is also free. If you have an STA International Youth Travel Card or International Student Travel Card, then you will have access to thousands of discounts all around the world, with the most important being cheaper flights.Students and recent graduates (ie: under a year ago) have even more countries open to them as they can apply to 1. foreign exchange programs and 2. working holiday visas in more countries.*STA Travel also has a discount saving card for teachers with the same perks.
2. Travel Somewhere That Offers a Working Holiday Visa
3. Have a Plan Beforehand
Not only will this give you a better idea of how much money you need to save (add 20% just to be on the safe side!), but it'll also stop you from wasting fuel/money driving back and forth to see all the things you missed the first time around. You'll also have more time to look for and cash in on great deals like 20% off snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef or 2 for 1 Crocodile River Tour.
4. Try Your Hand at Hitchhiking
5. Be Flexible
For some reason flights are cheaper on some days than others. There are loads of theories and sworn statements regarding why this is, but some are contradicting and others are full of crap. Luckily, the why doesn't really matter. All that matters is that if you're up for flying on a Thursday instead of Saturday or in the off season instead of the high season, then you could save hundreds of dollars.But it's not just the flights that reward flexible travelers. Many museums and historical attractions are free on the first Sunday of the month or another day of the month/year. Festivals, holidays, markets, and other free events that could help spice up your travels are also (obviously) only on on select days of the year.But the best part about staying flexible is attending a foreign rock show with your ride or spending more time in a breathtaking place because you don't have a hostel you have to be at that night. So stay flexible and let life and the discounts just flow on through.
6. Connect with Locals (and Free Couches) on Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to get in touch with locals and learn about all the secret gems of their home town. Who knew that there are some free cave houses to explore just outside of Alicante, Spain? Or that there's a fantastic fruit and vegetable stand less than a kilometre from that much-used swimming hole? Then throw in the amazing people you meet, the wonderful nights you spend with them looking up William Wallace's kilt, and a free place to sleep that's not under a bridge (with some even have gorgeous balcony views too!), and you have the fine makings of new friendships in a foreign land. And really, what's more golden than that? For those wondering how to increase their acceptance levels, then check out our post: How to Write a Kick-ass Couchsurfing Request: According to a Host
7. Buy a Camping Stove Instead of Eating Out
The cost of a one burner camping stove, a 250g bottle of gas, a pot/pan, and fresh food all up will undoubtedly be cheaper than eating out every meal for a week. Especially if there's more than one of you in your travel group. And if it's cheaper buying all that for a week, how much do you think you'll save in a month, six months, a year? If you answered, “a lot” then you're probably right.
8. Visit Free Attractions
9. Make and Keep Connections
Not only will these keep you grounded and less lonely on long travels, but world-wide friends also open the doors to new amazing adventures. Just like in the 'real world' (ie: where you work for monetary success and then die) every person you meet is a possible opportunity to benefit. However, instead of having business connections, you have friends with travel connections.Maybe someone booked a hostel that he/she can no longer stay at. Maybe you have a skill set that your friend the boat captain wants on board. Maybe you have a long drive ahead of you and need someone to help you pass the boredom (and cover the fuel ;). All of these maybes can be answered by keeping in touch – and trust me, when the days turn into months and those into years, you're going to be really grateful for having good friends to lean on.
10. Treat Yourself Every Once in a While
For some more great tips by Lifelong Vagabonds to help you prep for your travels, then check out our following articles:
Travel Tip #4
Do you have any other budgeting tips for when on the road? If so, we'd love to hear all about them in the comments below!