Have you set your sights on a dream vacation, but are hesitant because of all the costs involved?
Welcome to the club!
We’ve all been here before. Dreaming of going on an epic trip, only to bail on the last minute because funds were lacking. The truth is, travel costs money. If you tally up the cost of airfare, accommodation, food, bus tickets, etc. the price tag for seeing the world goes up exponentially.
There is such a thing as budget travel, where you have a rigid and limited budget that you simply cannot break. But this method only goes as far as sleeping in a hostel, getting a super cheap flight, and eating crackers three times a day.
Where’s the fun in that?
Vacationing like a hobo shouldn’t be your goal.
The endgame should be going on the trip of your dreams and being able to experience everything. What this means is trying the local cuisine, visiting the sights, immersing yourself in culture, and having fun. In all honesty, you can’t enjoy a trip when you’re constantly worrying about the costs.
With careful planning, ruthless budgeting and enough time, quality travel isn’t beyond reach. The trick here is to save money ON trip, not while traveling.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Date or Location?
Choose either the date you want to go traveling or the place you want to visit, but not both. Let’s say you want to go to the Bahamas during the summer. Summer is the high season in that region and the prices of everything skyrockets during this time.
If you have a date in mind, look for places you want to visit that aren’t in the peak season. There are 195 countries in the world, so your choices aren’t limited! If you’re hell-bent on visiting a particular place, your dates should be flexible so you can take advantage of price drops during the offseason.
2. Join Airline Mailing Lists
We know you’re not a fan of emails, but joining an airline mailing list can save you money when they offer deals. Another excellent source for airline deals is travel communities on social media. Make sure you join a few and enable notifications, so you receive updates asap.
3. Frugal Living Before Your Trip
The idea is to save enough money for your trip. This means living frugally from here on out. List down all your expenses on a spreadsheet and cut out the non-essentials. Cook your own meals, cut the booze, and don’t eat out as much. You may also want to brew your own coffee or sip tea instead.
4. Secret Savings
Put all the money you’re able to save by cutting out your phantom expenses into a secret savings account. By secret, we mean banking that you don’t have access to online. To get money, you have to haul your behind to the bank and do it over the counter.
5. Don’t Forget Your Essentials
Many people decide to buy what they need once they land, only to find out that everything is more expensive. Pack light, but take whatever essentials you can with you. This means bringing your own toiletries or even a portable coffee press for your caffeine fix.
6. Airbnb Baby
Hostels are cheap, but they’re far from exceptional. Hotels can be expensive. You can try Airbnb if you want affordable lodging near the city where you’ll have the bathroom all to yourself. Airbnb is also a good option if you’re traveling with children.
7. Consider Couchsurfing
If you’re traveling alone and want to save money on accommodations, you can try Couchsurfing. Before you jump in and send out requests, join a local community in your area, and make friends. Your new Couchsurfing buddies can vouch for you so you’ll have an easier time getting a free couch.
If you’re worried about safety, you can always check people online by using a people finder tool or social media. The Couchsurfing community is friendly and helpful should you run into any issues.
That’s All Folks
These tips are not the holy grail of budget travel, but they can help you save money so you can enjoy more of what matters. Remember, you shouldn’t feel like a starving nomad sleeping on a lumpy mattress. The whole point of a vacation is to relax, immerse yourself in their culture, and have a blast. Keep this goal in mind when saving for your next trip and you’ll save more money.