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Are you a young, adventurous soul who dreams of traveling the world but worries about breaking the bank? Don’t sweat it, I got just the right recipe for your troubles! With these tips, you can travel more often on a budget without sacrificing the joy and excitement of exploring new places. Imagine going to the place of your dreams without worrying about blowing all your money away. Well, I sure did! I flew to the city of angels none other than Los Angeles. I figured that I would need a plan to get the most out of any trip and do it in style. Do you want to know how I did it? Here are some tips on how to make your dream trip on a tight budget without missing a thing.
Be flexible with your travel dates
Being open with your dates is not always easy, but if your current obligations allow it its much more easier to get more affordable tickets on weekdays and not-so-popular times, and the same goes for accommodation. You can scrap the internet in different search platforms for that. However, I have to say that I am biased and a bit lazy so I use the AI from Tryp.com to find the best deals without hours of research. Trying to look for different airlines and look at low prices to travel can be a bit frustrating and let’s not talk about time-consuming, especially if you don’t have defined dates of departure and you have a busy life. But don’t get discouraged, there are deals out there and if you are set on finding them, they will show up. Also, if you are quick you can get what the industry calls “wrong prices”. It’s when the airline makes a mistake in the pricing and it is released for public sale. Be careful with that as the airline has up to 30 days to decide if it honors the price or not. So checking traditional and budget airlines to compare them is not a bad idea. When we are talking about budget airlines, you have to be super aware of the baggage allowances and additional fees. Follow them to the letter cause they will be more than happy to charge you for anything they possibly can.
As a bonus tip, remember the airlines’ rules: Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to book and Tuesdays are the cheapest to fly. This is not always true, but it is a good rule of thumb when you are looking for tickets.
Use budget airlines or deals
In many cases, combining cities when you are traveling can be cheaper than going to only one destination. Although this option is not always possible when you are traveling for a short time like a weekend, it is a great option when you are traveling a bit longer, not only do you get to see more but you also have better prices. Multi-destination is quite popular these days and for good reason. Combining dates, affordable planes, and trains can save you quite a bit of money. The downside is that its time-consuming to get all those planes to work together nicely and the research can take a while. Having your transportation sorted and the dates in your hand, another little problem arrives, where do I stay? Sleeping on the beach is forbidden in many countries not to say unsafe, but I don’t want to pay the price of the Four Seasons for a “shitty” place so research again comes into play. Hostels are perfect if you are going with a bunch of friends, it’s like being in a dorm, but you don’t have to clean it at the end. You can cook your own food which reduces your expenses so you can focus on other stuff. Vacation rentals can be more flashy and even though they are fun with friends they might get expensive very quickly and harder to find. Although they can be nice if traveling alone or with a partner because you can always find this little jewel in the sea of properties out there. When I travel solo, I like small hotels. I have learned that many of them have seasonal discounts or deals and before Tryp search AI, I made it into a hobby to stay in the loop for the luxury ones. Now I just trust Tryp.com, but still a good tip so I’ll add it here.
Consider Multi-City travel
Depending on where you’re going, considering public transport can save you a great deal. For example, cities like Paris or Copenhagen are easily accessible by public transport and it will cut your transport cost to almost nothing compared to using taxis or renting a car. It also cuts your commute in half as you don’t have to deal with traffic jams or problems of that sort. Most cities will have prices and timetables available online, so you can plan your expenses accordingly. If you are a “want to see everything” kind of person also consider travel passes for a day or week. They tend to have discounts on major attractions included as well as free activities. In some locations, you can use bikes, which are normally available for rent both in Hotels or bike rentals and also with public sharing schemas like local city bikes. And finally, do not dismiss the power and free cost of walking, most European cities are walkable and it is a great way to feel like a local.
Consider alternative accommodations
We all want to eat at 5-star restaurants and Michelin-awarded places. But if you want to be a part of the culture with a nice budget wherever you travel it’s definitely nice to go where the locals go, so be on the lookout for those places. The residents already know the area and will only be found in masses where the food is good. If you spot street vendors, get a feel for it. Keep an eye out to see if people are around. If it gives you a sense of community and warmth it might be worth trying. Street food doesn’t take long to prepare, it’s budget-friendly and for sure finger-licking. If you still feel clueless about where to go you can always check cool spots on your mobile use apps as Google maps, Yelp or TripAdvisor. You can filter by reviews and my favorite… see images from the people that have eaten there. It’s always nice to look at certain options that can benefit you in your travels.
Use public transportation
For example, travel rewards credit cards help you earn points or miles on purchases that you can use towards flights, hotels, and other travel expenses. There are many web pages like NerdWallet or The Points Guy that can help you compare different options and choose the best one for your needs. Be aware that travel rewards have limitations. There may be specific dates when you won’t be able to book flights using your points and other nuances, but in general, it is nice to know that while you are shopping for your groceries you are saving a little bit toward your vacation.
Eat like a local
As you’ve heard, tourist traps can be often overpriced and overcrowded so it would be nice to explore off-the-beaten spots or keep a look out for hidden gems. The best way to do this is to look up some search platforms such as Atlas Obscura, Offbeat Guides, or Spotted by Locals. There are many more like this humble blog that can help you find a unique and authentic travel experience. Research before and after you arrive. It will change your travel for the better!
Use travel rewards credit cards
Traveling with friends is a warm and memorable experience. You can talk about that night you spent in Paris ten years from now and still enjoy the same feeling of freedom, adventure, and camaraderie you had back then. Going on a trip with friends is also a great way to save money: transportation, activities, a place to stay, etc.
Avoid tourist traps
Many locations in the world are filled with fun low-cost and free activities. From museums to parks, to everything in between. There are a few ways to save money on admission like buying a multi-day pass or maybe checking out if they have discounts for students. In some cities, they also have a weekday that is completely free to attend different attractions so be on the lookout for those. Many other outdoor activities like going to parks, churches and historical buildings are a great way to explore a place with little to no cost. Other options are street markets and fairs, always full of color and taste. Many cities have “free” walking tours where you can discover the culture, incredible sights, stories and legends with entertaining and passionate local guides about the city you are visiting. These tours are conducted on a tip-bases, which means that at the end you pay the local guide what you think is right. Normally all those activities are easy to find. You can use traditional guides like TimeOut, Free Tour, and Culture Trip. If you want to stick with the non-traditional way local Facebook events are also a phenomenal way to find not-so-known little events around the area.
With these tips and website recommendations, you can travel to more places on a budget and have amazing travel experiences without breaking the bank. Happy travels!