Exploring the world on a tight budget can be a daunting task, especially with the increasing inflation rate, but with a little planning and some creativity, it’s possible to see a lot that the world has to offer with some savings without breaking the bank. Here are some budget travel tips for exploring the world.
Comprehensive Research and Pre-plan Your Trip
Putting aside a few weeks or even months prior to your trip to do research and hunt out good deals is an important start. It can help you find festive or special deals on flights, accommodation, and activities. New users on platforms often get presented with a coupon code to make a booking. By doing your research, you can compare prices and look for discounts or promotions to help you save a lot of money. Also, avoid travelling during school holiday periods, and festive seasons. Instead, opt to travel during off seasons or between seasons when prices are lower given there are fewer travellers keen to travel when the weather is more volatile.
Planning can also help you avoid unexpected expenses and budget your trip more accurately. By knowing what you’ll be doing, what prior bookings are needed, and how much everything will cost, you can better allocate your funds and avoid overspending.
What is more, planning your trip can help you make the most of your limited time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see sights or experiences. By researching and creating an itinerary, you can prioritize the things you want to do base on your preferences ( outdoors, culinary, festivals) and make sure you don’t waste time or money on unnecessary good-to-have places or activities.
Consider Camping as an Alternative to Hotels or Hostels
Camping may sometimes be cheaper than other forms of accommodation, especially if you are sharing the spot with 2 or more people. That is because they are usually located on the outskirts of the central area, and they might not be as accessible to amenities and malls. Quite a number of campsites charge a daily or weekly rate that is significantly lower than the cost of a hotel or even a hostel room. A dormitory hostel in Denver costs us US$80 a night recently, imagine that! Additionally, you can save even more money by bringing your own basic camping equipment like a tent, sleeping bag, and toiletries rather than buying or renting them at the campsite.
Camping also offers a unique and immersive travel experience that you don’t get with other forms of accommodation. It allows you to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors, and it can be a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Besides, camping can be a more social and communal experience, as you’ll be sharing the campsite with other travellers or locals. This can be a great opportunity to make new friends, learn about different cultures, and sometimes even order things or carpool to places together, which helps reduce costs.
Use Public Transportation or Ride-sharing Services to Get Around
Taxis are often known as costly forms of transport. Opting for public transport or certain ride-sharing apps, it can save you money on transportation costs. Renting a car can be a very expensive ordeal, especially in view of the rising fuel costs as well as if you’re travelling for an extended period or to multiple destinations. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, are often much cheaper options, especially if you purchase a multi-day/ monthly pass or use a transportation card that offers discounts. If you are a student or senior, make sure you show your international student/ senior card which can sometimes entitle you to discounts.
Ride-sharing services, such as Uber, Lyft, Grab, and more can also be a more budget-friendly option than renting a car, especially if you’re travelling with a group and can split the cost. These services also offer the convenience of booking a ride directly from your phone without having to worry about renting a car or navigating unfamiliar public transportation systems. However be very mindful that these apps usually operate based on demand and supply, so prices can be inflated during peak hours, public holidays or weekends.
In addition to being a cost-effective option, using public transportation or ride-sharing services can also be a great way to interact and engage with locals and get a feel for the culture of the place you’re visiting. It’s a chance to interact with the layman and average joe who live in the area, and it can be a unique and enriching aspect of your travel experience. Extra tip: Make sure you also carry at least US$8-10 of change before you try to take a mode of public transport. These are live savers.
Eat in Street or Night Markets
Eating at restaurants can be expensive, especially in tourist areas, where prices are often inflated. Instead, consider finding your meals at local markets ( be careful of touristy markets), and grocery stores and cooking your meals. Some of these large hypermarkets like Tesco, Carrefour or Walmart have hot dishes that make it easy to take and go. This will allow you to save money on dining in food and also allow you to try new and authentic ingredients and dishes.
Eating local can also be a more authentic and immersive travel experience. By trying the local cuisine, you’ll get a better sense of the flavors and tastes of that country (Eg. sour and spicy in Thailand, meaty and hearty in Brazil. You may also discover fresh and authentic dishes that you wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
Furthermore, eating and buying local produce is often more sustainable and supports the local economy compared to big supermarket chains or hotel restaurants. When you eat at locally-owned stalls or buy ingredients from local shops and carts, you support small businesses and contribute to the local community.
Useful Apps for Travel
Numerous apps and websites can help you find the best deals on flights, accommodation, navigation and even specific activities like hiking or solo activities. Using these resources allows you to research in advance and maximise your time on where would be good to stay or go before you even get there.
Your phone can also be a useful tool for finding free or low-cost activities and events in the place you’re visiting. Many cities and towns offer free or low-cost cultural events, such as concerts, festivals, and museum exhibits. You can often find information about these tourism board initiatives, arts and culture and local events through apps or websites.
Finally, your phone will be most useful as a navigation tool, helping you get around unfamiliar places and find your way to your destination. You can use maps and directions apps to find your way on foot or by public transportation, and you can also use ride-sharing apps to book a ride and track the route it brings you. Popular apps include Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze and more. Useful tip: Make sure you are mindful of digital safety while travelling. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting compromised.
Avoid Tourist Traps
There are multiple activities one can find in a touristy city or town that are what one would call tourist traps. They are often overpriced, occasionally border lining a rip-off given you are not familiar with the local price. Rather, visit the local tourist information office, and befriend some genuine and friendly locals who can advise you where to seek out local experiences and activities. These less touristy places or off-the-beaten-path destinations allow you to get a more authentic and budget-friendly travel experience.
Find free or low-cost activities. Many cities and towns offer free or low-cost activities like hiking trails, beach access, and cultural events or night markets. Do some prior research to find out what’s available in the places you’ll be visiting and also the safety level before you go.
Accumulate Travel Rewards through Credit Cards
Use travel rewards credit cards instead of the typical ones you are used to. If you’re planning on doing a lot of travelling, consider getting a local credit card that offers travel rewards like discounts on rooms, and flights and accumulating miles or points. These cards can help you save money on flights and accommodation, and they often offer other perks, such as free checked bags, airport lounge access or room upgrades.
Flexibility with your travel dates and destination can help you find the best deals. Consider travelling during the off-season, and be open to visiting new and unexpected places. Avoid the popular touristy and highly developed cities like New York, London, Tokyo and Paris if you want to manage the costs, there are incredible places that are more budget-friendly like Vietnam, Mexico, Croatia and even some parts of China.
By following these budget travel tips, you as a solo or group traveller can explore the world on a tight budget and have a unique and memorable trip. Remember to always do your in-depth research, plan, and stay open to new experiences, and you’ll be well on your way to a budget-friendly adventure.