Everyone in this world loves to travel and explore new places, new people, new cultures, new lifestyle and a new you. You research and you make plans, but what stop you from going on your dream trip is either time or money.
Taking out time for travel is for you to figure out, but money is something which can be saved. Discover some cool tricks to travel on a tight budget and save money on food, stay and experiences, while having a fun vacation.
Travel during non-peak time to save money. During off peak season, hotel prices and flight prices are also low and crowd is also less.
However, you should note that the off peak season in one region might be a peak season in other region, so plan carefully.
European countries are amazing when explored during shoulder seasons. Destinations like Venice, Paris, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Rome, Switzerland get really crowded with long waiting lines for attractions during the peak-seasons.
Be cautious about some places especially party islands, mountain resorts and safari lodges, which get closed during off-peak seasons. But, if you want the whole beach to yourself and are happy to cook in your Airbnb then why not?
Exploring a place your own way is the most effective way to save money. A planned tour is while very convenient, it has two flip-sides.
Firstly you are paying at least 30-50% premium in terms of stay, food, , and
Secondly you have to follow a fixed tour itinerary, which takes away the free-spirited exploration.
Exploring a destination your own way gives you a chance to see something extra and travel at your own pace, while you save your precious dollars.
City passes are no doubt expensive, but almost always the price of a 2 day city pass is less than what you might pay altogether for 2-3 top attractions of the city.
If you are into museums, cathedrals, galleries and historical sites, then city pass will help you save a ton of money. These city passes also allow you to skip the lines at popular attractions and save time.
At times you city pass will also include the travel card - free commute on public transport.
Visits landmarks and museums which have free entry and skip the attractions which are very expensive.
Every city has amazing parks where you can have a great time having picnic. Many paid attractions are also free to explore on a particular day, during some festival or month.
Famous landmarks like St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca, Smithsonian in Washington DC, Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Parc Güell in Barcelona are free to visit.
If you need a guide to explore a city then you should go for a walking tour. Walking tours help you explore the cities in an easy, less costly and efficient way as compared to compared to a bus tour.
There are also some guides who are ready to help people explore their city for free. Many experienced locals can also help you in this. At times your hostel may provide an affordable walking tour.
Taxi and Uber are really expensive in developed countries, which on the other hand have really amazing public transport facilities.
Buses, trams and metros are very convenient and can take you to any corner of your travel destination.
Public transport ticket prices are a fraction of taxi fare, and you can save even more by buying tickets in bulk.
Travel cards for public transport are also really helpful and many a times provide free travel to nearby villages of the region.
Just do the maths to see if you will travel around enough to get back the returns on your travel card.
Trains are usually cheaper than flights and are really fun to travel.
You can also choose to sleep peacefully while traveling on an overnight train and save money on hotel stay.
When traveling around European countries, save money by booking train seats in second class coaches, because they are also pretty convenient.
If you are traveling in Asia, Africa or South America, book seats in the higher tier coaches, as they are safer and more convenient.
Travelers waste a lot of money in exchanging currency at the wrong places. Best tip is to convert currency at your home from your back or a reliable exchange service before you leave for your holiday.
You can also transact using Forex travel card or Credit card, although look at fine prints of transaction and conversion fee.
Avoid converting currency at shady places outside airports, train stations and tourist attractions, because there are a lot of scams running around. Always count your money before leaving exchange counters.
Usually the exchange kiosks just before departure and after arrival offer bad conversion rates. Check the currency conversion rates on Google and try not to pay more than 5% premium.
While travelling to a city, you may need to get on many buses, trams, metro, taxi or tuk-tuk for exploring the city.
If you the explorer type, then the fare of public transport piles up into a big expense by the end of your trip.
Instead, you can rent a bicycle, this way you will save money and stay fit.
Lot of cities like Copenhagen, Montreal, Amsterdam, Tokyo have an amazing bicycle culture and they have dedicated bicycle lanes to ride along freely.
You can earn while you travel by doing various activities like:-
You can save your money by not spending on expensive food and drinks in a café and restaurant.
While traveling, you can have food and drink at a supermarket or even at a local food store. Lot of supermarkets serve amazing sandwiches, baked goods and fresh juices.
Some hostels also have a common kitchen accessible for travellers to cook food.
If you choose to go to a restaurant, avoid the touristy ones near popular attractions, instead try a food joint where local eats. At local food joints and street food kiosks, the food is amazing and light on your wallet.
Pack food and snacks from home and bring it with you on your trip. You may feel most hungry when there are no available food options, apart from the expensive hotel room or bar service.
The food you carry along will be your saviour during the late night cravings. Firstly, it will save your money on purchase of expensive food items and,
Secondly, it may happen that you may not be comfortable with the local food of that place.
However, trying local food is an essential part of the travel experience, so don’t forget to try the street food and local cuisines.
Hostel stay is an amazing hack to save money on your holiday stay. Hostels have become really popular and are also very comfortable these days.
There are a lot of hostels that allows the visitors to stay for a really low price or even stay for free, if you can help in some daily activities.
The typical stay is in dorm rooms with 4 to 12 bunk-beds, private lockers and shared toilets. Hostels have a common area to hangout, play games and meet fellow travellers.
These hostels are built with the aim of bringing travellers closer; backpackers and party hostels are a great example of this.
Tourists spend a lot of money on the purchase of things that they forget to take from their home mostly because of the weather of a new place. So make sure that you pack everything you need to travel.
Don't forget to pack your shoes, jeans, sunglasses, shorts, camera, a warm jacket, and a raincoat so that you get ready for any uncertain weather of an unknown place.
Cities and towns which are famous as a tourist destination charge a premium on everything. That is why, if you want to save money, skip shopping in the tourist destination.
Just focus on collecting beautiful memories rather than collecting heavy shopping bags. You will travel happier, your bag will be lighter and your wallet will be heavier.
The local shops, stalls and flea markets charge a high price for their products to tourists.
So, if you want to shop at these markets, you should do bargaining to get the price reduced.
There are many cities in the world which are famous for its marketplace, where lot of bargaining happens like São Paulo, Buenos Aires, New York City, Delhi, Bangkok, Florence, Barcelona ,Shanghai, Shenzhen etc.
Whenever we visit a destination, we generally go to that famous palace ,market, restaurant, or museum, ignoring the fact that they charge visitors high prices.
Staying in the central area is also expensive, thanks to the premium charged by hotels.
If you want a tight budget travel, you should try to explore the side streets of a destination also. These smaller establishments will charge you less money for food, shopping and hotel as compared to the prices charged in the main streets.
When planning for the next trip, the destinations that comes in everyone’s mind is like Paris, London, Hong Kong, Venice and all such famous tourist spots. But these famous places are quite expensive in their lifestyle and many of the experiences are overhyped and commercialised.
Some of unexplored regions of the world gives the most unconventional experience at a low travel budget.
Countries Like Ecuador, Paraguay, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Latvia, Samoa, Georgia, Myanmar, India, Nepal and many more gives an offbeat experience while being friendly on your wallet.
Booking in advance is the most common trick for a tight budget travel. The flights tickets and train tickets will be cheaper if booked in advance, usually two to three months before your travel date.
Try to book your stay 4-5 months in advance, because the best hotels, hostels or Airbnb get booked really fast.
The advance booking should be done specially for your return flight as it may happen that you run out of money during your tour.
Flight tickets gets costlier during weekends. So, if you want to save money on your international flight ticket then travel around mid week days, especially Tuesday.
More money can be saved by booking an economy class ticket than a business class ticket.
The saved money can be used to explore the place more, do shopping and enjoy the local food .
Planning is the main trick for a tight budget travel.
A due research is quite necessary related to all these questions. Not planning in advance means more unexpected expenses during your trip and this increases your budget.
Learn the basics of the language spoken in your travel destination. This will help you in your tight budget travel in an indirect way.
In many cities there are local rates and higher tourist rates. If you know the native language of that city, the shopkeeper will connect with you and almost always charge you the local rate.
You will also stay safe from common touristy scams if you know the language.
When concerned about the budget to travel, you must go to a destination which is cheaper in terms of food, stay, tickets, and commute, but still offers a good travelling experience.
There are many great places in the world that offers an economic visit like Porto in Portugal, Santiago in Chile, Lviv in Ukraine, Krabi in Thailand, Batam in Indonesia.
Countries in South-East Asia, Latin America, some parts of Eastern Europe in general are relatively affordable and you can easily have a trip on a daily budget of around 30-50 dollars.
Try to know about the experiences of the other travelers. No doubt that experience is the best way to know how to save money.
Ask your friends or colleagues that if they have visited the destination you are planning to visit and get details about their memories.
You can read travel articles and blog of a traveler to know about different experiences of your dream destination, so that you can decide in advance about your budget and expenses.