So, you want to travel but you don’t think you can afford it, right?! Well, you’re in luck! Traveling doesn’t have to cost as much as you may think. With a little preparation, research, and self motivation, your next trip could be the one you’ve always wanted to take.
1. Flight - You have to get to your destination, right? Most will need to book a flight in order to do this. You can use rewards or frequent flyer programs, which I won’t get into on this post, but if you are enrolled in any of these than definitely make use of your points. There are also websites that make searching for flights much easier, such as Expedia, Kayak, and CheapFlights. For domestic flights, book 21 days in advance. For international flights, your sweet spot is 34 days prior to departure date. (Based on over 1 billion airfare searches, according to Kayak)
2. Eurail Pass - If you’re planning a trip to Europe and want to see multiple cities, I would highly recommend looking into getting a Eurail Pass. These passes are not sold in Europe so you will need to purchase them beforehand. They can save you quite a bit of money on train travel. They offer several options to accommodate any type of travel you are wanting to do.
3. Hostels - Such a great option when traveling! See my other post on hostels to get the lowdown! Hotels provide more than just a place to sleep. You can get tours, insider tips/maps, and meet other travelers! Definitely a huge money saver. I use HostelWorld to book most of my accommodations.
4. CouchSurfing - If you haven’t heard about couch surfing by now, you need to go here, sign up, and get your profile rockin! This option can be even cheaper than hostels, offer a more local feel, and meet some awesome people! After having someone stay with you or you staying with someone, your opportunities expand greatly! This is something you need to get started well in advance of traveling.
5. Markets - Most cities that you visit will have a market. Ask around and someone can give you information on it. Usually they are only open on certain days and at certain times. These places are great for picking up local, fresh food on the cheap. You can also find new and used clothing and all sorts of other items for a fraction of what they would normally cost at a nearby shop. Making good use of the local markets is not only a great way to save money, but it’s a great way to see how the locals shop and socialize!
6. Do Your Laundry - Bring a universal sink stopper and a braided clothesline. Laundry can get expensive in certain areas. One way to negate this cost is to do it yourself. You can usually pick up one time use packets of laundry detergent and do them in the comfort of your own room/dorm. You will likely do laundry once a week, so depending on the length of your trip, you can estimate how much you would save by doing it yourself.
7. Off Season - If you are able to do your traveling outside the ‘tourist season’, you can save money in several areas! And, save yourself from heat, massive amounts of people, long lines, and much more. Airfare will be less expensive. Lodging and even event costs will be reduced.
8. Travel with a Friend - If you are able to travel with a friend you can get discounts on Eurail Passes, share costs of food and cooking, and if you decide to eat at a restaurant, you can share one meal. Having a travel partner also gives you an extra set of eyes when looking for sites and shops. It gives you someone to have a conversation with on those long travel days, lean on when tired, and share your travel experiences. They can also take pictures of you without you worrying about someone making off with your camera!
9. Cut Down - This point is actually very simple. Cut back on purchases in general. Prior to your trip and when on your trip. If you really want to travel you will put off buying something that you want, and not need. If you buy a souvenir while at your destination, make sure it’s small and something that you really want. Not one of those compulsive buys. If you’re not completely sure you want to buy it, walk away and think about. You can always go back to the store if you decide it’s a must have. I have a camera with me all the time. It’s a small point & shoot that also does HD video. The pictures and videos are my souvenirs and I get to share them with my friends and family. I do also buy a few small things. Just remember, you have to carry those with you.
10. Fund Raise - Yep! You can hit up friends and family for your next trip. Why not? Instead of presents for your birthday or other holidays, just setup an account that people can donate money to or just have them send cash or a check. Every little bit counts. If you stay in a dorm at a hostel, some nights will cost you less than $10. If you have the time, you can even tell people that have donated money to your travel fund what they have paid for!
So, if you’re one of the many travelers of this world trying to figure out how you’re going to take your next trip, or even your first trip, go through the above Top 10 items and I know that you will be able to make it happen! Get out and see what is beyond your own familiar surroundings. You will be pleasantly surprised when you meet others that are just like you!