Travel costs can really add up, to the point when even the smallest getaway can feel like a luxury. And it’s even more expensive if you head overseas. Between rising airfare costs and unpredictable currency exchange rates, it can be hard to relax on your hard-earned holiday when you’re worried about costs. Luckily, there are some travel tips and tricks that savvy travellers can use to keep costs down, no matter where you go.
Avoid Unexpected Costs
Beyond the basics (airfare, meals, a place to stay), trips can get expensive when unexpected costs start to add up. These can range from ATM fees to overblown “tourist” prices to roaming charges. You can avoid the latter by investigating prepaid plans before your trip.
Check with your provider about which plans will allow you to use your phone to stay in touch and find your way around without hefty extra charges, and make sure you understand the details and limits of your plan.
Don’t limit your investigations to those necessities, either. Look for ways to save on your activities at your destination as well. For instance, you can also avoid overpriced activities like guided tours by doing some research in advance and planning your own walking tour.
Get Creative with Food and Lodging
Some travelers like to play it safe and stick with well-known hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can add some unnecessary costs to your trip. In most places you visit, hotels and restaurants in the center of town will be relatively expensive. Venturing to a different neighborhood can save you money, as can choosing an alternative type of lodging like a vacation rental or hostel. Be aware that some hostels are pretty bare-bones, while others offer more amenities.
At mealtimes, steer clear of touristy restaurants–they’re likely to be overpriced and underwhelming. Instead, ask locals for recommendations or harness the power of apps to find those out-of-the-way eateries that will cost less and probably serve better food.
You can even visit a local grocery store to stock up on picnic supplies for a day trip out of town. Putting together your own sandwich or cheese plate will give you a taste of local cuisine without the extra costs that can come with a restaurant meal. Toss in a bottle of local wine, and you’re set for a meal to remember.
Be Flexible and Plan Ahead
If you’re really trying to save money on travel, keep your dates and even your destination flexible. Travel + Leisure suggests you start looking for airfare and hotel deals well in advance of your trip, and consider visiting popular destinations at off-peak times when prices might be lower. If you want to roam around a region on your trip, look at train and bus options instead of flying. You might be able to save a significant amount of money, and you’ll see more sights on your way.
By planning ahead, you can take advantage of good deals, research the best options for lodging, and scout out the most budget-friendly activities at your destination.
Become a Digital Nomad
It isn’t for everyone, but some travellers find ways to earn money no matter where they are, allowing them to see the world while still bringing in some income. The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t exactly like a typical vacation, but it can potentially give you the resources to explore far-off corners of the world that might otherwise be prohibitively expensive. You can find a wealth of advice and information online about becoming a digital nomad, and judge whether it might be something you’d like to try.
A tight budget doesn’t have to keep you from your travel dreams. Use some creativity and careful with your must-haves. By planning ahead and avoiding unnecessary costs like cell phone fees and tourist prices, you can see the world without going broke.