So many people, regardless of age, race, physical abilities or disabilities or whatever the label may be, dream of traveling abroad but seem to believe that it is limited to the financially privileged only. Not true at all. With a fair amount of planning, out-of-the-box thinking and lots of tips and tricks from those who have done it before, it is completely possible for anyone to embark on that long awaited holiday to their dream destination.
I have put together only a couple of tips to consider to get you closer to boarding a plane, a boat, car or train to the destination of your dreams.
Tips for Traveling on a Tight Budget
- Plan Ahead
Most people I talk to say that they don’t have the money to travel or to go on holiday. Years ago, I used to be one of them. Granted, there are many that genuinely don’t, but there are also many who want to travel, but think they don’t have enough money while spending their hard earned cash on things that could possibly be sacrificed at the expense of turning their dream trip into a reality.
If you genuinely want to arrive at that dream destination, you need to want it badly enough. make it a priority in your budget and save, save, save. Sounds too simple? Well, it is. Take a serious look at your current daily expenses and be a little hard on yourself to find a couple of things you may be able to sacrifice to allow you to save up for your dream trip, eg. cut down on the number of take out meals per month. It may take a while to board your flight, but you have got to start somewhere to make it happen.
- Be Flight Wise
Did you know that there are some credit cards that can earn you flight miles? There are a variety of options available to everyone and even with a less-than-average income, you will qualify for some of them. Check out a couple of the credit card options. Earning those valuable flight miles while managing your monthly expenses can benefit your travel savings plan immensely.
Sign up for as many airline mailing lists as you are prepared to deal with for various deals on special offers, eg. 2-for-1 deals or credit card deals, etc. You never know when a special comes up that includes the destination of your choice.
- Creative Accommodation Choices
Booking the first available hotel or bnb is the easiest way to go when planning a trip, but it definitely is not the most economical choice. Taking a little bit more time and being more creative with your choice of accommodation can save you a lot of money – while probably providing a richer traveling experience at the same time!
There are many alternative options available including sites like:
You can even save for your trip by listing your own accommodation if you have a spare room or granny flat to spare!
Other creative accommodation options include registering on some of the more recent house swop or home exchange sites, which gives you the opportunity to swop your house for a house in the destination of your choice. These sites have different options available such as a once-off, unlimited registration fee, or a monthly fee depending on your needs. There are various sites available including:
- Seeing the Sights
Most cities have a tourism card or something similar offering many reduced deals on a number of listed sights, activities, meals and much more, eg. The Paris Museum Pass gives you entry to over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris, including some of the city’s most iconic artistic landmarks such as the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay at a cost of €48 for two days, while the entry fees for only 10 of the popular sites could cost you more than €118. That’s a saving that can cover your food for a week!
Make a point to explore the options of the destination you want to visit and talk to people who have been there to find out what your options are.
- Local Transport
So many countries have incredible public transport systems that make local travel much easier and far more convenient to see a lot more in far less time. Popular tourist destinations offer their visitors quick and easy ways to travel locally in a variety of special packages to encourage tourists to use their public transport, eg. London offers a variety of stand alone Oyster Card packages or as part of their London Pass packages that include their bus, underground and tram systems.
Do your homework about the destination you want to visit to familiarize yourself with the travel options available in that city or country to ensure that you save as much money as possible while getting around much faster to fit in as many sights and experiences as you can.
- Food for thought
Take out food and especially touristey food is always pricey, even if you’re at home, so spending copious amounts of money on take out or restaurant meals while on your trip is not the best or most economical idea. If you choose your accommodation to allow you to prepare your own meals, buying groceries from the local supermarket you can save quite a bit. Even if you don’t have access to a kitchen you can be creative in preparing your own meals, like sandwiches, baguettes or the likes. Not only will it be a money saving measure, but you may just get to experience the city or country a little bit more authentically. I still think there is nothing better than true Italian salami and mozzarella cheese on a freshly baked, melt-in-your-mouth croissant in Rome instead of a regular hamburger from a popular burger place that costs double the price – that you can eat in your home town anyway!
Do Your Homework
There are so many money saving tips and other great ideas available on a countless number of sites and blogs on the web to make your travel experience more affordable. Spend time to research as many of them as you can to gain valuable information to assist you in planning your trip at the lowest cost possible. Also don’t forget to speak to others who have traveled extensively and who probably had to learn the hard and expensive way when they first started traveling – listen and learn from their mistakes.
Good luck and have fun with the planning! Set your sight on your dream trip and go for it.
For those who have traveled before: What advise can you add to first time travelers?