Meanwhile, as a matter of fact, how to travel on a budget is a very popular topic together with “How to Travel the World Stress-Free“. Indeed, with a little research it is possible to organize a memorable experience, even if you are not willing to sacrifice comfort. There are hundreds of tips on how to travel on a budget, there are entire books on the subject, but we’ve summoned up the basic and most essential rules.
Avoid traveling to “hot” destinations at peak times
Off-season travel will save you a lot of money, while at the same time, locations will be less crowded. Dubai could very expensive for travelers from November till the end of March. For instance, don’t visit Europe in the summer; instead opt for South America or the Caribbean. There are many bargain destinations you can visit year round – Peru, Canada, Hungary, Bulgaria, and so on. The so-called “secondary” destinations are always cheaper than the most popular city or resort in a certain country, while usually they offer the same experience.
Research for the best and cheapest way to travel
Ship/ferry travel isn’t the fastest one, but cruises can be really cheap as accommodation and meals are included. If you choose train, there are discounts on group travel, while buses will be cheaper only in countries where gas is cheap. Air travel is the most expensive way to get to your destination, but it’s definitely the fastest and the most comfortable. There are numerous flight comparison websites you can use, as well as various discount coupons and codes. Larger carriers with global networks will usually fly you for more, but they have frequent flyer programs, where reward points can save you half the ticket price, or grant you a free stay at a hotel room.
There are tons of discount airlines in Europe such as EasyJet, Wizz Air, or Jet4You, but Qatar Airways can turn out much more affordable, if you check the fares regularly, compare them and take advantage of the discounts and promotions on their website (they have separate offers for different regions and countries). Another Middle Eastern carrier, with really luxurious service, yet cheaper than U.S. airlines is Emirates.
Research online for accommodation, attractions, and activities
Travel advice websites such as TripAdvisor will help you out with a lot of information and advice from travelers, travel professionals, and locals, so you can have an idea of the place you are about to visit. You can not only book a room, but even receive a welcome credit when you sign up. Popular luxury hotel chains such as Hilton offer everything a traveler can dream of, but they generally cater to business travelers (although they have great sales and deals, too, such as the current Winter Sale). But there are great alternatives – renting a house or a condo, or booking one night at a hotel and once you are there, looking for a cheaper place to stay such as family and independent hotels, which are common across Europe and Latin America. There are also home-exchange websites, as well as websites for free shared accommodation and ways to stay with locals for much less.
Fixed-cost trips such as group tours, all-inclusive resort packages and cruises are also much more affordable.
Online research is also useful to plan your activities and tours around the various sites. For instance, almost everywhere around the world, there is a “free museum day”, or one day of the week, when entry to all museums, galleries, and tourist sites is free. There are also combined passes, discounts, free maps and cost-free events at tourism bureaus and other kinds of tourist information points. Another great way to save is to use buses or other cheap public transport to get around, or simply walk – this is the best to fully explore new places.
Try to do what locals do
Join the local communities – they will know which pubs to go for happy hours, where is the best and cheapest food, which is the best local entertainment. If you have friends in town, ask them to help you around restaurants, bars, and so on. Or you can research in advance for advice, information and even meet new friends at the website for expats, which is the largest online network for expatriate communities around the world.
There are many free concerts or museums you can visit such as the Museum of Oddities in Berlin, all state-run museums in the UK, Contemporary Art Museum Espacio Conde Duque in Madrid, free festivals, open air film fests, and many, many others. And locals know them all.
Get a job that actually lets you travel for free
This is a great strategy, but generally for more adventurous types of people or for those who are willing to leave everything behind and start a new carrier. For instance, you can try teaching English for several months in Asia, the Middle East, or Africa. (No wonder why, parents complain from unqualified teachers in the very expensive Dubai’s private schools!) If you are confident you can do the job well, it is an amazing and rewarding experience that no pre-paid excursion can deliver. You can search for a job in a summer camp in a different country – you will work with kids for only a summer, while being able to explore the place and the local culture. There are many volunteer and student programs, which are not literally volunteer, as you get paid – the organization gives you free accommodation, transport, medical service, education opportunities, and sometimes even food. And carrier opportunities are endless – everything in education, youth and community development, business and information, health, environmental and agricultural areas, communications technology, and so on.
There are many other things you can try to save money while traveling such as hitchhiking, filling up your water bottle from actual springs in the cities (in Europe), drinking up your coffee at the bar in Italy, which is cheaper than sitting at a table, and many, many more.