Travelling is an exciting experience that many aspire to have. With so many fun and unique destinations out there from bustling cities to beaches to mountains, how could you not want to hop on a plane and go explore?
Unfortunately, many people hesitate to take the plunge and travel to fascinating destinations because of the cost. Luckily, there are several ways in which you can prepare for a trip abroad on a budget.
Below, we’ll share some more tips on how you can have a thrilling vacation abroad while on a budget.
How to Prep for a Budget Trip
How much do you think it costs to travel abroad? A thousand dollars? Two thousand? Maybe more? Well, the cost ultimately comes down to how well you prepare. After all our travels, we have some tricks to help you lower that cost as much as you can.
Plan Your Trip to the Letter
Sometimes, spontaneity is a gem. You can leave your home country, arrive at your destination, and let your mood guide the path. But when you are on a budget, planning is crucial to the success of your trip.
Planning ahead as an experienced traveler comes down to the following:
- Figure out the destinations you want to visit abroad. Do you usually prefer the city or the country? What are the most affordable destination options for your preferences?
- Read reviews to determine spots that are safest for travelers or are used to more tourists, as they may have more activities to experience
- Research information about local hideouts, popular restaurants, and any special events happening during your trip. Make a spreadsheet with all these reputable activities you want to try as an itinerary so you can refer back to it!
- Consider the cost-effectiveness of some spots; Some tourist destinations only cost a lot because of their high traffic, while other places may charge less and are just as amazing. Keep an open mind.
A clear itinerary will help you assess how much you will need to spend each day. Because the numbers will be clear to you ahead of time, the risk of eating into your budget will be low.
Travel insurance might feel like an extra expense, but it is necessary. Many things can go wrong on a trip and cost you money. Examples include:
- You can fall sick or get injured
- You can lose your luggage
- Your flight can get canceled
- You embark on adventurous outdoor activities like climbing and diving
The costs in any of these instances will far surpass the travel insurance rate. Save yourself money in an emergency situation by getting affordable yet reliable travel coverage ahead of time.
Focus on the Low Seasons
High seasons attract tourists from all over the world. Not only is it hard to find good accommodation and affordable tickets, but the local prices also soar. You pay more for activities, not to mention the hassle of dealing with daily crowds.
Does that sound like fun? Hardly. That means the best way to travel on a budget is to do so in the low season.
Find out when your destination has few travelers and choose dates within this period. For example, some countries expect travelers during the summer time, when schools are dismissed and people take family vacations. Traveling during the low season would mean traveling during the winter, when fewer people are vacationing.
When traveling during a low season, you will easily tour the top spots, take good pictures without many people in the background, and spend much less money. It’s a win-win!
Book Flights in Advance
Suppose you plan on leaving for your trip in six months. Many people put off booking tickets until the last month.
Unfortunately, that is a costly mistake. But why?
Airlines use surge pricing to determine the cost of tickets. The closer the departure date, the higher the ticket demand versus the supply. So, you book tickets that cost hundreds of dollars more than they did a few months back.
You can avoid this cost by doing the following:
- Research reliable airlines that service your country of choice
- Narrow down the airlines by cost and choose the ones with the lowest ticket prices
- Use online flight scanners to check if you can get a better deal
You can save a lot of money with this one simple tip!
Besides booking flight tickets in advance, also consider your dates. Fewer people travel during the week, which results in lower ticket prices. By scheduling your flight on less common days, you will enjoy a lower price and may not even have someone next to you during the flight.
You should also consider flying overnight. You will not spend money on accommodation for one night and can start enjoying your stay as soon as you get to your location. It’s a two-for-one deal!
Tourist Visa Applications
Before you can hop on that plane, however, you must have all the paperwork and a non expiry passport. Most countries require you to have a passport with at least six months of validity and at least two blank pages, as well as a travel visa.
We recommend processing your passport and visa under one roof with Travel Visa Pro, which offers expedited passport and visa services. Using a one-stop shop for your passport and visa is the first step to saving money on your next adventure.
Book Accommodation in Advance
Surge pricing also affects accommodation. The closer you are to your dates, the higher the costs. So, the best option is to book your accommodation once you have confirmed your travel dates.
Most websites allow you to book a shared room or apartment without spending money. This way, you lock in the room at a lower price and fork out the cash once you arrive at the hotel.
Besides booking accommodation early, you can also think outside the box on where to stay. Many travelers consider hostels that charge less than hotels. Plus, they give you a chance to meet other travelers.
You can also meet locals or potentially find free accommodations by couch surfing or house-sitting, which gives you a safe place to stay in exchange for cultural exchange or caring for someone’s home and pets. The type of accommodation you seek will all depend on your budget and preferences.
Pack Only What You Need
There are two things to consider when packing:
First, you should avoid packing too much. Rather than packing an outfit for every day of your trip, consider bringing half that amount and finding a place to wash your clothes mid-week. This can save you the need to buy check in baggage or excessive top up at the airport for the added weight.
This also applies for extra items you may be tempted to bring with you, such as pillows from home or large books to read on a flight. Consider using an app on your mobile device to read or entertain yourself to reduce the items you’re bringing with you abroad.
Secondly, avoid leaving what you need, e.g., personal care items. Otherwise, you will spend money to purchase things you already own. It’s a balance, and getting it right saves you money in the long run.
Consider Solo Tours
Group and travel packages might seem like a convenient and easier option. However, whenever you can organize your own itinerary, you can potentially reduce the management and tour operator fees that comes with buying pre-planned tours.
Also, by traveling solo, you do not need to have to accommodate other fellow travelers as much and you can go real cheap and budget. For example, you can use cost-effective measures like commuting by public transport, making your own food and doing your own walking tours and sightseeing where possible. You could potentially save a lot of money at the end of each day.
PS: Only do this where the activities are safe for solo travelers and avoid high-risk tourist spots.
Get an International Bank Card
Transaction charges can pile up, resulting in extra unforeseen expenses. If you plan to travel soon, time to get a card with minimal to zero transaction fees. Even better still, exchange to the local currency ahead of time by monitoring the exchange rates with the Oanda app, in order to minimise being at the mercy of bad or volatile exchange rates that can happen during your travel.
You can use this card to pay for things without running the risk of having too much money on you. Ideally, have two cards just in case you lose one.
However, we strongly recommend carrying some cash on hand as well, as not all countries or food vendors accept cashless payment.
Find Free Things to Do
Also, consider free activities. Not everything costs money. Some things, like walking tours and touring beaches, are free. Meet the locals and also see where they hang out and the places they chill at, which can save you spending unnecessarily at touristy spots and crowds. This local flavor and immersion also add to the beauty of your budget trip.
Traveling abroad doesn’t have to break the bank. By following the above tips, you can soon find yourself on an affordable vacation where you’re sure to make some amazing memories.