How to Travel Cheap: 7 Tips for Budget-Friendly Travelers
You don’t always need a ton of money stashed away in order to have that long-awaited trip you’ve been dreaming of. Believe it or not, there are ways to travel cheap–some of which have the power to enrich the quality of your traveling experience, and it doesn’t have to be a huge secret amongst the few. With these seven tips, you’ll be able to prepare, plan, and enjoy your next big trip with ease of mind, and of course, with ease on your wallet.
Plan to Pay with Points
You know those credit card commercials that always brag about points for hotels and other expenses? This is one of the easiest ways to travel for free, and you won’t even think about it as you’re doing it. Certain credit cards allow you to rack up points depending on how much money you spend in places like restaurants and stores every time you swipe your card, which can be converted into free airline miles and cheaper hotel deals so that you can travel more for less.
Though it may take longer to rack up the necessary points for a big splurge of a trip, it’s definitely a surefire and reliable, low-maintenance way to save for your next excursion.
Fly a Budget Airline Without the Fees
When traveling, many people want the luxury of traveling in style, complete with window seats, their biggest suitcases, and whatever perks they can get their hands on. But the best way to travel cheap is to know about all the fees some airlines charge for such things, including many budget airlines.
Be sure to always pack light so you can stick with, so you don’t get charged any carry-on fees. You might also want to pick a less popular seat, such as in the middle of a row, to avoid extra pricing on aisle and window seats. Sometimes, you can try to bring your own snacks in your carry-on if you have one, but otherwise, you may get charged for a meal on certain airlines that might be complimentary on some others. And some budget airlines also have free in-flight entertainment you can watch and enjoy with some quality earbuds, but there can be some extra fees here, too. Just be sure to watch out for these types of fees, and you can cut down the cost of your trip considerably.
Don’t Forget About Timing
Timing is something most people tend to forget about, as everyone often wants to go to the Bahamas during vacation, see New York at Christmas time, or Paris in the summer. But it’s much easier to find flights that are affordable if your schedule is flexible.
Some of the best deals are in off-peak seasons or are in the middle of the week. If you can do something as simple as preparing for a change of weather and/or day, you’ll surely be able to save some money on your next flight. It also helps to book your trip well in advance to get cheaper flights.
Try for a Different Airport
Believe it or not, you can find some lower costs with airports that are a little less convenient than some others. Bigger, more popular airports are bound to attract way more people, and which can tend to be a touch more expensive than certain airports with much less traffic. All it will take is a little extra traveling from home, which may not prove to be too difficult to get to, depending on your area. Of course, you may have to double-check the cost of that transportation to really see if it is cheaper or not, but it may become your new secret weapon in cheap traveling!
Change Your Mode of Transportation
Depending on how far you go, and what’s around, you might not ever have to search up the couple hundred-dollar airline tickets when you can take buses, trains, and possibly even boats if you wanted to. But really, oftentimes, buses and trains are the cheapest forms of transportation to take and can be as cheap as forty dollars.
This will be especially important if you like the idea of hitting two birds with one stone by doing two trips in one. For example, in Europe, it’s very easy to visit multiple countries in the span of one trip by taking a train from London to Paris, which would only take upwards of two and a half hours.
Rethink Your Accommodations
Of course, hotels are a go-to when it comes to traveling, but they can often prove to be expensive, especially depending on the season. Nowadays, there are many other ways to account for your stay with services like Airbnb that will allow you to find a host with open space in their house or apartment for your lodging.
There are also other ways to provide for housing in exchange for things like working a job for the host, or even house sitting. And if those options don’t suit you, you can always try to stay with a friend or family member if you know someone who lives near your desired location. Rethinking your accommodations is an easy way to cut down on costs and will most likely provide you with a memorable stay than a regular hotel.
Don’t Forget to Eat Cheap
It’s no secret that we often forget when we’re in our chosen destination of choice, that we lose track of our budget by eating out at the best places, because who wants to stay in a hotel all day? But eating cheap doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to go out to see the locals and see the sights.
Street food can be an easy way to save a few dollars on your trip, while still allowing you to taste the food of the region. Food trucks will offer a similar experience, although they’ll be a bit more expensive than street food but will still save you lots of money from the tourist-crowded restaurants while still offering a unique experience you’ll never forget.