Simple Hacks for Budget travel
I have always believed traveling doesn’t have to break the bank and your memories are more enjoyable when you are able to do it on a budget. Recently, travel hacks have become quite popular for backpacking enthusiasts as well as general travelers. Luckily, there are about a million ways these days to plan your travel on a budget. Whether you’re traveling on a budget with a family or you’re traveling solo here’s some great budget travel inspiration that will save you time & Money.
THERE’S A SUNRISE AND SUNSET EVERY SINGLE DAY, AND THEY’RE ABSOLUTELY FREE. DON’T MISS SO MANY OF THEM. – JO WATSON
Simple Hacks when you are on a Budget travel
The few first steps in planning a holiday is deciding a destination to travel, looking for airfare, choosing accommodation etc. Needless to mention, doing it all by making a comfortable pocket friendly budget! So let’s have a look at some basic tips and tricks to consider while planning a budget holiday.
Allocate a daily budget
Start by creating your travel budget. This can be a started by creating a rough idea of how much you think your vacation will cost. It could be based on duration of the trip, the number of people, and destinations in your mind. After this my basic planning starts with daily budget based on food, accommodation, and transport per person. One can also add up attraction tickets based on the itinerary. It’s good to know any websites to buy online discounted tickets in advance. Rail passes instead of individual tickets are always a good idea while planning a trip to Europe.
Wondering what to include in a travel budget? Depending on how you’re traveling, with whom and what you’ll want to plan for, below are some tips:
- Airfare costs
- Accommodation charges
- Car rental or public transportation
- Fuel in case driving a rental car
- Travel insurance
- Snacks, eating out or groceries
- Tourist activities and tickets
Budget travel is all about deciding what’s important to you. Some people are foodies and want to dine at the finest restaurants and sometimes dine at most of them. Others are all about the activities and do not care what their hotel room is like or if there is something to shop.They just want to visit all attractions in the place. Take some time to set your travel priorities and then work on cutting the costs on items that aren’t a priority to maintain your travel budget.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RICH TO TRAVEL WELL. – EUGENE FODOR
Choosing a pocket friendly Destination
There are so many incredible destinations around the world where you can travel on a budget. You really don’t have to break the bank to have an incredible time on your next vacation. And if you are traveling with friends or as a couple you can save so much more on accommodation by sharing the cost. These incredible countries offer not just great value for your money but also unforgettable sights and experiences. The trick is a well-planned holiday while spending your money wisely.
You can read more about the countries to travel on a Budget in my blog.
Save on Airfare
The first thing is booking your flight in advance so that you can well plan your holiday without any doubts. Below are some must do’s considerations while looking for flights.
Compare the rates:
It’s always a good option to visit websites. I like Sky scanner for the comparing airfares during my preferred dates of travel. Skyscanner.net is a great tool for cheap flights. The app complies flights from all airlines and presents you with the cheapest options first. There is also an option of changing rates to preferred currency and setting up alerts. You can get updates on the flights and get alerts if the price goes up/down. I have used Sky scanner many times and it was been worth it!
Single Vs. round trip
Sometimes booking open tickets (if you don’t wish to come back….Kidding) , or one way flights, can be more cost effective than booking a two way trip. Using a comparison website should be helpful in figuring out whether this budget travel method will work for you or not. Some websites to try are:
Book tickets directly from the Airline Website
Once you’ve found the flights you want and are sure of the destination book directly on the airline’s website The idea is that you’ll be more likely to get any additional deals through the airlines by booking directly with them or at least earn a loyal customer card if you are a frequent flyer.
Be flexible on travel dates
If you are flexible and already know where you want to go, you can check for monthly cheapest fares to your destination. Being flexible with dates or destinations is a travel hack through which you can definitely save good money. However, if you’re set with a specific weekend or place, then we’ll have to trim the travel budget with some other ideas.
Fly during off peak season
If you’re wondering how to travel on budget in Europe or in fact any country, try off peak times. Off peak times or shoulder periods can be a great time to travel for dirt cheap/ discounted tickets. Needless to mention avoid the holiday season, spring breaks or festival months to travel.Ticket prices are sky high at these times.
Use earned points to save money
Travel hacks are the best way to save money on airfare and even score free flights. How it works is you essentially earn points with your travel rewards card that you can exchange for air miles, hotel accommodations, cash and more. Emirates Skywards is great example of earning air miles from my travels. I love getting to use travel points! You can use travel points from a credit card to book flights, hotels, upgrade on flights and luggage. That means I can fly internationally and have points left over for a domestic flight if I want to use it for one. You also get some amazing benefits with most travel rewards cards like discounts on certain car rental companies, yearly complimentary credit to apply towards travel, lounge access and advance check-in etc, which are great when you want to travel on a budget.
Be flexible on choice of destination
The basics of budget travel goes like – I want to travel to Asia, Far east or Europe. Never be very specific on the place while you want to travel pocket friendly. I am not saying that people do not get lucky but still, Its easy to pick from a wide menu. Always choose your destination based on where you can get a cheap flight to. If you have no choice with traveling during a certain time, use Google to find cheap travel destinations that fit your travel duration.
Use flight prediction apps
Flight prediction app gives you a breakdown of the best times to fly, watches your preferred destinations to tell you if prices will go up/down, and tell you the best time to buy. These kind of apps helps one to save time and money watching the flights. Notifications make it handy to just go in and buy! One can try Hopper.com or lastmin-flights.com to see if it works for you.
Booking Budget Accommodation
No offense, but all the travel companies give us a wrong impression of a perfect holiday by linking it only to luxury. It is not necessary to book a luxury resort for your holiday when you are barely coming there to sleep. Every country has different types of accommodations available based on the geographical location. They do not necessary have to be luxurious. For example in Hong Kong rooms in 5 star properties are very small though you pay a good amount of money for them. So look for a comfortable accommodation but “not the best” as these are two different things. A good travel budget should give you comfortable travel as per your wish not as what the world defines it.
Be open to Room Sharing
Do your research well on accommodation and choose based on the travel budget you allocated for your stay. And really – you’re not likely to spend much time in your room. So what’s the big deal about sharing a room with some fellow travelers? If you’re comfortable enough, check out your options on sites like Tripadvisor. It is full of great reviews that are helpful. So you can get realistic feedback about everything from places to stay to activities in the area.
I love Airbnb! I have stayed in an Airbnb in plenty of places and it has never disappointed me. The good thing is it’s wide presence. One must do the research based on the reviews and the area and make an informed decision on their accommodation.
The good thing is this app will also send you notifications if that time/area is booking up fast for you travel dates. You pick a destination, price range, number of guests, etc. If you have are travelling with the group of people you can also split the payments. So it gets comfortable for everyone and one person isn’t stuck with the bill. That is probably one of the best features it has.
If you want something a little more social and possibly as cheaper as it can get , then consider staying in a hostel. I know I know, if you have never stayed in a hostel before you might be thinking Hostels are dirty and sketchy and at times unsafe. I completely get it as those hostels do exist! But you may get lucky with a decent one. If you’re brave enough to try it, hostels are a great cheap alternative to hotels. That’s why Hostel World. Is a good option. They give you ratings on Hostels, best prices, and info to make the right decision for your trip based on your travel budget.
Tip: Ask for recommendations on Cheap and best places to stay in your budget from travel groups, it always works for me!
Use Brochures and Tourist Booklets
When we enter a Hotel my kids have a hobby of gathering the brochures and flyers in the hotel lobby. Sometimes there are awesome discounts or early bird offers available when using these vouchers. They definitely bring a big smile on my face and twinkle in my kids eyes. They’re hard to miss, since you’re usually placed at the check in counters. You can also find them in local restaurants or you can ask for extra brochures at the hotel’s front desk. Next time see where you get lucky with those and share your experience. This budget travel hack always works for me 😉
Lifesaving calling apps (Google, Skype, What Sapp)
Skype, WhatsApp and Google maps are lifesaving apps while you are in an unknown place, that you should definitely have while traveling. One can refer to google for any answers or locations nearby. Skype provides video chat and voice calls between various devices even if you decide not to buy a local sim card. Whats App offers instant messaging and lets you make your calls for free.
Savings on Food
Take Advantage of Breakfast buffet
Some good Hotels provide excellent breakfast options with extended timings if you book bed & breakfast options. Though you pay in advance but psychologically free breakfast is free breakfast. Sometimes there are some great snack options like a fruit or cookies in the room that are great snacks. You could eat a late breakfast, a snack and an early dinner, and save by skipping lunch altogether.
Find pocket friendly Restaurants nearby
Restaurants or cafes near main tourist attractions are going to cost much more because they’re located right in the middle of the tourist area where people come to spend. Its always a good option to have a walk around to see if there is a better place to eat. A rule of thumb is to walk three to five blocks away from the main tourist areas to find cheaper restaurants. (Of course, it goes without saying to avoid risking your safety for some cheap treats)
Try local Street Food
We know street food is generally cheaper than eating at a restaurant. If you are not very touchy about food standards trying local street food at food carts and food trucks can be a great cheap option for a lighter lunch or dinner. The advantage is you’ll get authentic local food that you might not easily find elsewhere.
Opt for a Room with a Microwave
Being a family traveler it always works for me to carry some cup noodles or ready to prepare snacks at any odd time for my kids. If you’re staying for more than one night, booking a room with a fridge or microwave can be a perfect way to cut down on food costs. Whether you’re storing leftovers for later, need hot water for preparing meals, it’s a great help in trimming the food costs from your travel budget.
Travel with some munchies/ Snacks/drinks with you
I never miss packing some snacks and water even when I am out with my kids even for an hour. It is always cost effective idea to buy snacks from a local grocery store before travelling.Whether you’re hiking, road tripping, or cruising, do not forget to bring snacks and water with you.
Carrying a refillable water bottle will also help to avoid spending extra money on overpriced drinks. Often there are ample opportunities to fill it up. For example, bring your reusable water bottle empty to the airport, and then fill it once you’re past security. Keeping some sachets for ready-mix drinks and making your own drinks is a great way to avoid spending money in the overpriced cafes that can be found at the airport.
Find Discounts wherever you can
Below are some amazing websites that offer great discounts for budget travel:
- Klook.com: I love this app, for the promotions and discounts it offers on attraction tickets. I used it for my Hong kong and Thailand trip to book so many attractions and shows tickets at lucrative prices.
- Booking.com: It is another great website that offers comparison and discounted prices on the stay. I have used it many times and got hotel deals cheaper than the offers on Hotel website.
- Groupon.com: Group on has great discounted travel package deals all the time, especially for budget travel destinations and international locations.It also offers discounted excursions worth checking out!
- Social media & newsletters: Follow your favorite brands so you’ll know when they offer an epic discount on a trip you’ve had your eye on or any deals offered by the Hotel you wanted to stay.
Lastly there are some quick tips that we all know, just miss to use them
- Create a realistic travel Budget that you can practically execute
- Be Flexible in your dates and destination to travel, it helps you save some for the next holiday
- Research nearby eating joints which are comparably cheaper.
- Consider alternate transportation or self driving.
- Go camping instead of staying in the Hotel to save on accommodation
- Contact the hotel directly to book your stay and look for ongoing offers.
- Cash in those credit card points.
- Pick up brochures and coupons at hotel to find free events in the area.
- Use tourist booklets to navigate budget attractions.
- Talk to the your Hotel staff for any free tourist activities around.
- Ask local people to find great eats in your price range.
- Take advantage of happy hour at a local bar or restaurant.
IF YOU’RE TWENTY-PLUS, PHYSICALLY FIT, HUNGRY TO LEARN AND BE BETTER, I URGE YOU TO TRAVEL – AS FAR AND AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE. SLEEP ON FLOORS IF YOU HAVE TO. FIND OUT HOW OTHER PEOPLE LIVE AND EAT AND COOK. LEARN FROM THEM – WHEREVER YOU GO. – ANTHONY BOURDAIN
Remember…..It’s only you who can deprive from exploring unlimited possibilities and dream-like experiences keeping your finances sane. Just open your mind and start to plan your next trip from NOW.
Hope these tips & tricks on budget travel hacks will help you get the best for your buck! Let me know if you like my blog on budget travel so that I keep writing more.
Happy travelling guys, !!