Dreams of visiting exotic destinations are not uncommon, but travelling anywhere requires money, which we usually may not have in abundance. It is not easy to tick things off your bucket list when your bank balance is low, but it’s not impossible, either. We often end up spending tons of money unnecessarily by making unwise spending decisions and indulging where there is no need, often ending up needing large travel loans. Budget travel is daunting and takes effort, but it’s possible. Here are five tips to help you out.
#1 – Make a proper travel plan
Spontaneous travel plans are fun and exciting, but can leave a gaping hole in your pocket even if you don’t travel in luxury or live at the best places. If you have a tight budget, you need a plan ready well in advance. An hour-by-hour itinerary is not essential, but you should make sure to map out your destinations, the time you’ll spend in each place and the path you’ll take during your travels. It’s always advisable to make bookings for both your travel tickets and your accommodation well before time – last-minute bookings prove to be very expensive.
#2 – Book the cheapest possible tickets
There are several hacks you can keep in mind to ensure you get the best deals in airfares:
- First, and most importantly, book your tickets well in advance, but not too early. There is a misconception that the earlier you book, the cheaper your tickets are, but this is not true. Booking flight tickets about two months in advance is enough. When your date is less than one month away, the ticket prices start skyrocketing. Also make sure to keep an eye out for sales and deals and subscribe to websites which offer such deals, so you’re ahead of the curve.
- Another useful hack is to book your tickets using a private or incognito browsing window, and to clear your browser cookies regularly. Travel portals have a way of tracking the prices you’ve recently seen and might sell you tickets at higher prices if you’re not careful. Travel at inconvenient times of the day, because tickets are cheapest at the times when people don’t prefer to travel. Also make sure to avoid travelling on weekends, because tickets are always in demand then.
#3 – Be flexible with your accommodation
You may wish to stay in luxury in the suite of a five-star hotel, but that’s not how travelling on a budget works. You stand to save significant sums of money if you choose to stay at a hostel or dorm instead. Alternatively, most tourist destinations also offer a homestay option, and services like Airbnb also assist you in locating inexpensive accommodation. Staying in a dorm or hostel will invariably expose you to local culture and make your experience richer – as it allows you to meet new people and create new memories with them. Homestays give you a taste of local life you’re otherwise unlikely to experience staying at a hotel, and your host could give you tips and guide you regarding the places to explore better than anyone else. You could also stay with family or friends if there are any at the place you’re visiting. It may give you an opportunity to connect with people you’ve lost touch with, enriching your travel experience even more.
#4 – Prefer off-season travel
Research the peak season for the places you’re going to, and time your travel just before or after the season. Peak season usually attracts many tourists, and the travel industry tends to hike up the prices when the demand is high. School vacations are peak travel times for families, and the prices are always high during this time. Prefer a time when you can enjoy your destination’s wonders without the crowd or expensive tickets. The best time to visit your destination is usually when flight tickets and accommodation are costly, but just before and after this time, businesses lower the prices to attract more tourists. It requires careful planning and research, but it saves a lot of money if you can pull it off.
#5 – Eat and shop where the locals do
There are restaurants famous for tourists, and souvenir shops at sightseeing spots, and then there are places locals visit. People take advantage of the fact that tourists are usually unaware of their country’s culture and the local economy, and prices are typically high at souvenir shops and popular restaurants. But locals should know where to get the best things for cheap, and food is one of them. To truly understand a place’s culture, you must eat at local restaurants, trying out the local cuisine. There is also, of course, the added advantage that food at such local restaurants is cheap. When you visit any place, you’re expected to take souvenirs back home for your relatives and friends, but vendors at tourist spots tend to take advantage of you. Instead, go to a local market, preferably with a local, and buy whatever you wish from there. Many cultures also have a tradition of bargaining, so vendors quote a higher price which you can easily bring down by haggling. So don’t be shy and haggle all you can for the best deals!With these tips, you can definitely travel at much lower amounts than you would otherwise have to spend! However, if you still find yourself low on cash, you can always apply for a travel loan (an unsecured personal loan especially for travel) through advance salary apps like EarlySalary, that lend you the money you need instantly for an easy and hassle-free experience.