14 Tips For Traveling On a Budget

by Sarah Rainer

Image via Tuula vintage

When people hear that you're traveling to several destinations per year, they usually can't imagine how you are able to afford all of it. Well, indeed most of us are not millionaires, but (as Michael Palin put it) “once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life” - meaning we simply just can't give up on an occasional getaway. However, a journey can actually be quite affordable when you keep a few tips in mind. Here's a compilation of 14 things you should know about traveling on a budget.

1. Turn on incognito mode when booking your flights

...In order to avoid cookies, which are one of the main reasons why ticket prices are at times skyrocketing on your computer.

2. Book your flights on Tuesdays, 7 weeks in advance

A recent survey (by Skyscanner) showed that flight tickets tend to be the cheapest on Tuesdays and when booked 7 weeks (for short haul flights) or 18 weeks (for long haul destinations) in advance.

3. Find out the best moment to change money

Depending on the country, the moment to change your money can vary - sometimes it's better to do it in advance, sometimes it can pay off doing so only at your destination. In any case, changing money at home can avoid paying extra fees for withdrawing money at ATM's abroad.

4. Stay at Airbnb apartments

While it's undoubtedly comfortable to stay at fancy hotels, it's also quite expensive. A cheaper alternative can be to opt for an Airbnb - either an entire flat (which usually pays off when you're traveling in a larger group) or a private room in a shared flat, which is mostly as cheap as a hostel but with a tad more privacy.

5. Off season instead of high season

... Because accommodation prices tend to be a lot cheaper - plus you get to explore all the places without the crowds.

6. Consider non-touristy destinations

It goes without saying that Paris, London or New York are great cities to visit, but they will also leave a hole in your wallet. Consider visiting smaller towns or less touristy areas instead, where prices usually are a lot lower.

7. Stay with friends

You've known those people from abroad for quite a while now, why not pay them a visit? This way you can refresh your friendship and discover a new destination without spending money on accommodation. Next time, you can host them in your home town.

8. Walk, walk, walk

It's convenient to go by taxi, but after the 10th ride you will probably have spent a big amount of money that you could have used for other things. The best way to explore cities is by foot anyway, so try to walk as much as you can or use (sometimes free) shuttle busses or public transportation.

9. Consider alternative transportation

Instead of renting a car, which only pays off when you're more than 2 or 3 people, consider using BlablaCar, a car sharing service, or taking the train or bus to go places.

10. Choose overnight travels

...In order to save on the accommodation. This can admittedly be quite exhausting, but really does save money. Instead of flying, you could go for the overnight bus, which takes more time, but is also much cheaper and offers a place to sleep during that night.

11. Cooking at home

Eating out is fun, but maybe try not to do so twice a day, but just every other night instead. A great idea is to book accommodations that are equipped with kitchen(ette)s, which makes it possible to prepare your meals at home.

12. Look up discounts and free entrance days at museums

Most museums have a special time of day or day in the week/month, where the entrance is free. Try to book your stay according to those dates, if you want to get in without paying for it. Also, if you're a student, most museum offer discounts for you.

13. Eat street food

You'll find markets and food stands in nearly every city, so this is a great way to try local food and save money at the same time.

14. Ask locals for recommendations

Dare to ask people at your hostels, in cafés or on the street for recommendations on where to eat and what to visit on a budget. From my experience, most people will be happy to help.

Read these posts for even more tips:

15 Budget Travel Tips You Want to Know by Your Little Black Book

How To Travel Savvy On A Budget by The Frugality

10 Budgeting Travel Rules I Live By by My Return Ticket

What's your ultimate hack when it comes to traveling on a budget?

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