Going on a spontaneous trip sounds great, but only if you have ample time and money to spare. If you want to explore exotic locations in an affordable way, budget traveling may be the best option for you. That does not mean having to settle for anything less than the best, though. Here’s a list of some of the tips and tricks you can follow to enjoy a luxury vacation without totally exhausting your bank account.
1. Book Your Tickets in Advance
Buying airline tickets at least two months in advance not only saves you last-minute cancellations and unavailability, but it is also cheaper. You can most probably find the best prices by booking early when airlines are still adjusting their fares. Make sure to follow all major airlines on social media. Keep a lookout for promotions and reward programs, and subscribe to their newsletters for first-hand inside information on the latest deals.
2. Know When to Travel
For budgeters, I often recommend traveling ‘off-season’. But consider this: what is ‘off-peak’ in one country might be peak season in another! Different tourist destinations have different off-seasons, so do your research to avoid unnecessary price hikes and crowds of over-excited vacationers. Another good tip for international flyers is to schedule their departures on Tuesday or Wednesday and return on Monday or Tuesday. It might seem unimportant, but this minor adjustment can save you hundreds of dollars.
3. Know Where to Stay
Always conduct comprehensive research on places for your stay. Ask yourself: how close are the major tourist destinations? Where can I get the best prices and room options? Who offers a free upgrade? Knowing answers to these will help you plan a more wallet-friendly and relaxing vacation. Also, if you’re traveling alone, consider staying in a hostel instead of hotels, rental homes, and resorts. Not only is it priced lower, but it will also provide a true backpacker experience with interesting memories.
4. Indulge in Free Food
Other than the complimentary breakfast package, many hostels around the world, and even certain resorts, offer free food. You can find anything from baked goods and pizza to BBQ, and a lot more. Plan an entire day of site-seeing and stock up on free eatables to keep you satiated on your adventure.
5. Use Public Transport
Learn the routes and pricing systems of the underground, light rail, and bus systems of the places you want to visit. This can save you a lot of time and money as compared to renting a car. There is no hassle of gassing up, finding a parking spot, and having to wait at roadway barriers to reach your desired location.
6. Turn Your Vacation into a ‘Work’-ation
Another cost-effective approach to traveling is to make it a work trip. A conference in a different city, a major client’s site needs visiting, and a global office you would like to collaborate with – find anything vacation-worthy and take the proposal to your boss. Companies usually have a separate budget for employee travel, so you might be able to avail the opportunity as well!
7. Use Alternate Airports
Alternate airports usually offer lower rates as compared to international airports, and sometimes even cater to local airlines that are more cost-effective than their larger equivalents. For instance, if you are flying into New York City, fly into a nearby smaller airport such as the Westchester County airport.
Do not let your budget dictate where you can go for a vacation. The next time you are in tourist-mode, use these simple yet effective tips to plan a cost-effective and exciting trip.