Budget Travel Tips for Beginners
Nothing beats the freedom of stepping off the plane to a new destination. The possibilities, the experiences, the new friends. Life-long memories are waiting to be made. However, it often feels like there’s a significant financial barrier between us and these memorable experiences. The misconception is that seeing the world is difficult without coughing up an exorbitant fee. But is this really true?
This blog looks at the best tips for travelling on a budget. Those picture-perfect landscapes and crazy adventures are available for everyone with the right travel tips. Scroll down for our secret budget travel tips everyone should know when booking a dream holiday.
Keep Track of Expenses
When on holiday, the last thing travellers want to do is keep track of a spreadsheet or roleplay as an accountant. However, when travelling on a budget, it’s important to be mindful of expenses. Keeping track of expenses doesn’t just mean writing down everything spent. This budget travel tip works best with a pre-prepared holiday budget. Estimate daily food costs, and keep track of spending to ensure you stay within your budget. Travelers always appreciate arriving home with spare cash.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be a math exercise, though! Hundreds of budgeting apps are available online to make expense tracking accessible for all. These allow users to plan an overall budget, divide spending into clear sections, and save for the future. From Mint to Goodbudget, these apps are one of the best hacks for budget travel.
Zip from City to City
Travel on a budget shouldn’t mean only visiting one destination. Yup, travelling from city to city (or even country to country) is doable on a tight budget and only a few smartphone taps away.
Once downloaded, users are connected to affordable bus, ferry, and train tickets worldwide. From the likes of Rome2rio to Skyscanner, these apps have routes for all travel styles. Buying bus and train tickets can easily consume a chunk of a travel budget. But these apps make it easy to compare prices and find the best deals. Plus, all tickets are stored in one place with 24/7 customer support. No more bus station wobbles and more time to soak up the experience.
Embrace the Chef Life
Food is a significant part of travel plans, and many travel the world to experience new cuisines. Sadly, eating out two to three times a day is expensive while on the road. Many assume travel on a budget doesn’t allow for extravagant meals or fine dining. But that’s totally wrong. Yes, travellers have to cut back—but they don’t have to go without.
Instead, self-catering is a budget-friendly option. It’s surprising how different ingredients are worldwide, and this is a chance to play the role of the international chef. Rent an apartment or a private room with kitchen facilities, and you can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals while saving money. Plus, it’ll unlock more culinary knowledge, too. Eeek!
Forget the Traditional Hotel
To some, deviating from traditional hotels is abhorrent. But booking alternative accommodations is a rite of passage. Travelling on a budget is all about saving, and accommodation usually takes up a big chunk of the vacation costs. Now, we’re not suggesting everyone should book into a wild party hostel. Travellers can find relaxed hostels, eco hostels, dormitories for women, private rooms, and infamous party hostels. There are options for all walks of life. Platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb have a range of affordable accommodations, and they’re readily available worldwide. Guesthouses, Airbnbs, and staying with friends are also good options for travel on a budget. The key to nailing affordable accommodation is to always shop around. So, get looking now.
Travel Like a Local
When travellers arrive, zipping about and taking in the sights is the first motive. But this doesn’t have to be via an expensive taxi ride! Public transportation is not only budget-friendly, but it’s seriously worth it. Relying on taxis and rental cars can quickly empty a travel budget. Instead, take five minutes to make sense of the local metro map. It may seem daunting, but with a little practice, using local transportation becomes second nature.
Local transportation often includes buses, subways, trams, and trains. These options are a must for keen travellers. Avid shoppers might not enjoy this budget travel tip. However, capping the amount of cash spent on shopping is a vital tip. Yes, souvenirs are a timeless way to remember a vacation. But most travellers don’t need to return home with gifts for everyone they’ve ever met. Overbuying souvenirs also takes up valuable packing space alongside running down spending money. Lugging a weighty bag from hostel to hostel isn’t fun, trust us. When completing a travel budget, set a limit per destination or country to keep spending in check. There are plenty of affordable souvenirs—even in the “expensive” ones. Budget travel tips are all about shaving down expenses, so opt for freebies when possible. Examples of free activities include museums, parks, and popular walking tours. Yes, some tours are free! Tourists can typically find more information about free tours and activities with their hotel/hostel check-in or at a local information centre. When in doubt, Google and first-hand blog experiences are invaluable.
Dodge Tourist Traps
Look, those Instagrammable tourist activities may fit a social media feed perfectly, but they’re curated to fleece tourists. That might seem a little dramatic, yet it’s true (kinda). While some tourist attractions are worth tourists’ time, be sceptical before booking tickets. Often, it’s better to turn up, snap a few pictures and not pay the high entrance fees. Instead, when travelling on a budget, try some of the free activity ideas listed above and enjoy the destination’s ambience. Once tourists start avoiding over-hyped traps, they never look back…
Enjoy Shoulder Season
Planning a vacation in the middle of the school summer holidays? This is a big travel on a budget no-no. Though the weather is great in the peak season, costs are higher, cities are busier, and tourists have to spend more to have a good time. Thankfully, travellers don’t have to kiss sunny days goodbye to save some money. Introducing shoulder season. During this time, the prices drop, and the weather is still warm. A win-win for anyone with a flexible schedule. Here’s a quick overview of shoulder season for different destinations:
- Europe: Late September to early November or Mid-April to early June
- Asia: March to May or September to November
- America: September to November or March to May
Be Ready & Book in Advance
Finally, our last budget travel tip is one of the most obvious but forgotten hacks. Be prepared and book ahead! Remember that this isn’t always feasible. However, reserving early is a surefire way to save money. Costs go up the longer tourists wait to book. It’s a sad fact of life. But they can beat these time-dependent surcharges by planning a basic itinerary and filling the gaps with accommodation and activity reservations before arrival.
Travel is a life-changing goal, and one everyone should experience. Hopefully, these budget travel tips have inspired any keen travellers to book their next adventure. From riding the metro to booking out-of-season, these tips will shave off some big savings. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money should travellers have when travelling?
The amount of money needed to travel on a budget depends on where travellers are going. Typically, backpackers budget around £1000 – £1500 for each month of travel. An approximate budget sheet is the best way to work out monthly costs.
How to travel without hassle?
One way to travel without extra hassle is by booking ahead. Pre-booking gives travellers a clear plan to follow without stress. Some might prefer to go with the flow more, but booking early is a great travel tip for beginners.
What is the least expensive time to travel?
The least expensive time to travel is in the off-season. It varies from location to location, so travellers should check the specifics of where they’re going. The second most affordable time to book is the shoulder season.
What should I book first when travelling?
A general rule for travelling on a budget is to book flights before any accommodation or activities. This is because flight prices change more than others. Lock in this expense first to prevent paying large last-minute costs.
What are three important things to prepare for a trip?
The three most important things to have include passports, travel documents, and medications/prescriptions. These are the travel holy grail items. Don’t forget them (or any of the previous tips for travelling on a budget).