Traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive. If you miss going on adventures, don’t let being on a budget scare you away from hitting the road. After years of traveling as a student, I’ve become an expert in the art of traveling more for less. From saving on your flight ticket to booking accommodation, here are my 9 best tips to travel on a budget!
1. Travel Off-Season
I once booked a return flight from Brussels to Copenhagen for 10€. Ten Euros. That’s less than the train ticket to get to the airport, less than going to the movies, less than a dinner out! You get the jist. How did I do that? Well, it was in January, during the off-season for Denmark. The low season isn’t always a synonym for pouring rain and chaos. If anything, it means that there will be fewer travelers so take advantage of it to visit otherwise busy places (Read more: 15 of the Best Things to Do in Copenhagen)!
2. Be Flexible
With everything, but especially when it comes to picking your travel dates. Check the prices throughout the week and how they vary within the same week or month. You’d be surprised by how much money you can save flying out on Tuesday instead of Saturday and vice-versa. Flexibility is the key really.
3. … and Accommodation Savvy
Accommodation is one of the biggest budget busters when you travel but nowadays, there are so many ways to save on your stay that it would be foolish not to use them. Book a discounted last minute hotel room with Hotel Tonight, rent an apartment through Airbnb, stay at a hostel or connect with locals on Couchsurfing! Besides saving you money, some of these alternatives also bring you closer to local life.
4. Walk, Bike & Public Transport
Small disclaimer. I’m that friend who walks everywhere. My rule of thumb is that if it takes less than 45 minutes to get somewhere on foot, I’ll walk. Your wallet will thank you and you’ll become more familiar with the place you’re in. Alternatively, rent a bike or hop on a bus. Most cities have 24 or more-hour passes that allow you to take public transport as much as you want during that time. It’s always cheaper than taking a taxi.
5. Get Cooking
Aside from the flight and accommodation, the other big travel expense is food. Eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner quickly adds up. Do try a few restaurants and local specialties but also hit the supermarket and improvise home-cooked meals as much as you can. I personally love grocery shopping abroad and picking up fruits, sweets or anything we don’t have back home. Make it fun and part of the travel experience!
6. Do Your Research
Admission to a lot of museums is free on a certain day of the week. Same goes for churches and historical buildings. Some of the best panoramic viewpoints can be found on top of quirky buildings and free walking tours are organized in most big cities. Make the most of your stay by looking up information about the place you’re going to visit. It will save you a lot of time and money.
7. Explore on Your Own
Once you’ve researched your destination and know what to visit, how and when, plan your itinerary accordingly and get exploring! Discovering a place on your own is all about being prepared and go with the flow. I recommend downloading a map that works offline and save the places you want to visit to make getting around easier (Read more: 10 Travel Apps You Need to Download Right Now).
8. Work and Travel
The ultimate tip to travel longer for less is to work while you travel!
What if you could exchange work for accommodation? Volunteer while you’re away? Or participate in a Work & Travel program in Australia, New Zealand or Canada! Are you a freelancer? Work on the go! The options are endless to extend your stay abroad. Be creative.
9. Have a Little Fun
It’s all well and good sticking to a budget if it allows you to travel more, but don’t forget to make room in your budget for special activities you would love to do. No, paragliding isn’t budget friendly but hey… Sometimes it’s worth the splurge! You just have to decide on what.
What are your best tips to travel on a budget? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.