If you love traveling but don’t have the funds to do it at luxury prices, you are not alone. There are very few who can actually afford to spend thousands on vacation. That doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of a great experience. You can travel on a budget by utilizing a few smart tips. Here are 4 to get you started.
1. Plan Ahead
Taking the time to research your destination thoroughly is key to a successful trip within means. First, start by deciding exactly how much you have to spend, including transportation, accommodations, meals, and cultural excursions.
It is recommended that you prepare a spreadsheet, either by hand or on your computer, that details every category of expense and what you are willing to spend on each item. Do this and commit to sticking within that budget. One of the categories should be “contingency.” This is like an emergency fund for anything unexpected that you may or may not need to use.
2. Travel During Off-Peak Season
You would be amazed at all you can do and see during a destination’s off-season. The best part about this plan is that you will definitely get to know the local culture better and won’t have to stand in long lines to do things like visit a museum or heritage site, dine at a good restaurant, or hike a popular trail. For instance, Reykjavik in Iceland is awesome in late fall when the days are shorter, and the weather is cool and damp.
3. Fly or Travel by Rail Overnight
Redeye flights are those that you take late at night that arrive at your destination the next morning. You can sleep on the plane and save money on a hotel room the first night. These flights generally cost less and aren’t always full.
The same is true for rail travel. First, see if you can get a rail pass, such as a Eurail Pass that allows unlimited travel for a given period of time. Then, when going from one city to another, take the overnight train and save another night of hotel costs.
4. Share Accommodations
There are a variety of different options for sharing accommodations that will result in considerable savings over staying in a decent hotel. Hostels are dormitory-style “hotels” where you basically get a clean bed and a storage locker. These places are great for those who plan to be out exploring most of the day and night.
Small hotels with shared bathrooms are generally fine. You have a private room, but you share the toilet and showers.
Staying with a family is another great option. The pensions in Italy come to mind. These are large apartments or homes with single rooms that might or might not have ensuite bathrooms. You also have access to kitchen facilities where you can store and cook food from the local street markets (another savings tactic). There will be an area of the home where the family lives that is generally private and not accessible to the guests. The concept is similar to a Bed and Breakfast, where some places may offer you a continental style breakfast each morning included in the cost of the room.
With a bit of research and planning ahead, it is entirely possible to take an epic vacation without breaking the bank. Make good use of the internet to research the costs and reviews of everything you want to do. Put your budget in place and start making arrangements well ahead of time. You won’t regret the time you put into finding the most affordable options.