Let’s face it. Most of us do not know the words “budget travel.” The usual scenario we face is that we either go splurging most of our money while traveling or we skip traveling altogether because of our seemingly ill-fitting budget. This does not have to be the case. You can go out, see the world with your own eyes, experience another culture, but actually spend far less money than you normally do. All it really takes are a bit of forethought and a very tight hold on the purse strings. If you want to know more about money-saving devices for your own budget travel scheme, here are some tips for you.
1. Go off season. This is a fact: most merchants offering hotel accommodations, entertainment and food usually jack up their prices during the tourist season. What you do not know is that a lot of these merchants are actually offering great discounts and added free services to people who come in during the off tourist seasons. They usually do this to entice more business to come in, and some offer really attractive but inexpensive packages. In many cases, you can actually get the pricey suites in a number of hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns and resorts for half their usual rates during this time.
Another great benefit to going off season is that you do not have to contend with the hordes of other tourists flocking to the same locations. This way, you can take as much leisurely time possible walking or renting bikes to explore historical sites and other interesting attractions. This is less expensive than signing up on a sponsored tour, or even taking the taxi everywhere. However, it is important to know for certain when the off season for each particular location is. National holidays, special events and even sports related events can cause merchants to raise their prices up in anticipation for the number of tourists and visitors flocking to the scene.
2. Plan your itinerary down to the last pit stop. Winging it would be great, if you have limitless financial resources at your disposal. However, for budget travel, you need to know exactly how much money you should spend in each and every location you go to. This would save you the heartache of finding out that you are running out of money… fast. Careful planning means you get to the areas you really want to see but actually keeping to your desired budget plan. You can ask your travel agent to help you scope out places that the shoestring budget traveler can subscribe to. Also ask for advice when it comes to booking in inexpensive lodging establishments.
3. Book your flight in advance. Airplane tickets would amount to the highest expenses on your ticket; but does not have to be the case always. Again, you can ask your travel agent to get you the lowest airline rates. You can also do this by constantly monitoring plane ticket sales online, and paying for your seat(s) via your credit card. This is different with simply reserving a seat on a plane. When you reserve a seat, you still have to pay the rates during the time you pay for the tickets. This means that you may have reserved a cheaper seat, but because you paid for it 2 weeks later, the higher and most current rate now applies. If you are planning your travel itinerary, try to plot out the rest of your travels between your airplane schedules.
Additionally, you can also choose other traveling options when applicable. Take the boat or the bus as alternatives to airplane rides. If you are moving from one state to another, renting out the car may lessen your traveling expenses considerably. A trailer is another great option especially since you do not have to pay for lodgings anymore.
4. Travel light always. Traveling light allows you to move around your destination spots using the public transportation systems. This will save you a lot of money, as opposed to constantly flagging down a cab. If you want to walk from one location to another, you can easily do so with a light traveling carrier. At the same time, you may actually find lodging establishments offering hitchhiker-friendly rates to tourists traveling with as little luggage as possible. Another advantage to traveling light is that you are not tempted to spend a lot of money on souvenirs because simply put, you have nowhere to store them without increasing the weight of your load.
5. Skip the tourist traps and go somewhere less prominent. Two things you have to remember about tourist traps. One: there is really nothing to see there, despite its popularity among the locals and other tourists. Two: everything there is overpriced – from the entrance tickets, to the food and even the connecting rides. By simply scouting your prospective destination online, you would know which spots are simply tourist traps, and you can avoid these altogether. Some areas in your itinerary may not be wildly popular among the touring crowd, but that does not mean you will not enjoy them. Depending on your personal taste, you can go to nature parks or museums instead. The best thing about these lesser known destinations is that most of them are free.
6. Try to be street-smart and brave when it comes to food. Familiar fast foods may be a cheaper option, but not all your possible destination areas have eating establishments that you might be conversant with. Another cheaper option would be to buy from vending machines, which is not particularly healthy. If you really want to skimp on money, try to avoid ordering food and beverage from the hotel or the lodging establishment you are staying in. There will always be convenience stores nearby where you can buy other healthier and cheaper food. Whenever possible, try to rent a room with a built-in kitchen so that you can fix your own meals. Or, if you have the stomach for it (literally,) why not try the local cuisine? Local food will always be a lot cheaper than the familiar fast foods.