Traveling can be a great experience, and there is no need for a return home after the adventure to coincide with a huge bill. Here are six simple tips that will ensure a great holiday and still not hit your pocket.
- Plan in Advance – The number one budget travel tip is one of the basics of travel – prepare! All prices, from accommodation to train fares to air tickets rise steeply the closer you get to the date. Many travel companies even offer early bird specials that allow you to save even more. Booking early even improves the chances of getting the room, seat and travel dates you want. The best thing is that you might even get to shift the dates slightly if you are forced to make a change later. If you are not planning early, you are spending too much.
- Skimp on Accommodation – Do you really need that huge bed, massive pool and restaurants? If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and will only return to base for a bit of shut eye, choose a less luxurious option. You will have more money to spend on really discovering your destination.
Modern alternatives like couch surfing can be a great money saver as well as the perfect way to have an authentic experience in a new place.
- Restaurants are Tourist Traps – Prices for the very same dish, sometimes even of lower quality, can cost several times more at hotels and near tourist hotspots. Plan your meal and sightseeing schedule so you can eat before you reach or after you leave touristy areas. If you are spending the whole day out, take a self-prepared quick meal with you – many tourist areas are ideal picnic spots.
- Off-Season Travel Saves – Businesses rely on the tourist season to make a large proportion of their annual incomes – if you visit in peak season, everything from accommodation, guides, transport, food and entrance fees will put a huge dent in your budget. Besides the great deals, the off-season period also offers shorter queues, less crowded attractions and a chance to really take in your destination as it is. Remember to check the weather, though – that is commonly the biggest factor in determining the peak season.
- Try Group Travel – Many hotels, attractions, cruises, restaurants and travel service providers offer attractive discounts on group packages. Besides, it is a great way to stay safe and have a few familiar faces around in a new place.
- Know Associated Costs – Things that are free at home like ATM use and within-country call can have many exorbitant fees attached once you leave home. Speak to your bank about these costs and consider whether traveler’s checks are a better option. Phone service providers in many countries have good tourist SIM packages available which make calling home (almost) as cheap. You can even research these before you leave and pick them up right at the airport.