“Another lifeless day it is,” you said to yourself. You are sliding through your Instagram feed as you devour your breakfast when a stream of incredible travel photos flooded your sight. You suddenly stopped chewing the bread you are eating because you realized one thing: You’ve had enough.
Every day you are telling yourself that you will travel the world, and today is the day you’ve had enough. “Nobody can’t stop you now!” you said. Yet you remembered that you were not born rich and you are not earning that much. Traveling is impossible.
DON’T LOSE HOPE! In this article, you will see the most the COMPREHENSIVE and REALISTIC pieces of advice that will help you travel without breaking the bank and burying yourself in debt.
NOTICE: This article will be lengthy. But it will surely teach you how to save a lot of money before, during, and even after the trip. Yes, you can still save money after your expedition! So grab the notepad and copy the tips below. They can slash your supposed expenses into half, or more than that!
Okay, let us start.
To travel on a budget, we will focus on seven activities we do when traveling. These activities are the basic ones, which if we try to tweak a bit, we could complete our travel with lesser expenses.
Travel on a Budget Tip #1: Get affordable flight tickets.
The first way you can travel on a budget is to know when is you can buy cheap flight tickets.
Many factors are affecting the prices of plane tickets. There are three:
- Who is using the flight? Business or leisure travelers.
- Is the plane already full? Do airline companies need to make a sale to encourage people to book.
- How many bookings and cancellations happen each day?
These factors are captured as data in a database. In a database, computer software analyses these data. Then it determines and sets the price of each flight.
Find the right time to buy tickets.
Using the data from airline companies, AirScanner.com found the best time of the day and the best day of the week when plane tickets’ prices dip. Knowing these will let you fly with that few bucks happily sleeping in your bank account.
What day of the week should I buy plane tickets?
Tuesday. It is the day when the airplane ticket prices drop by 15 to 25 percent as airline companies launch promotions and discounts during Monday night.
Never buy tickets during the weekends as it is the airline’s last chance in the week to sell high tickets. They are the days of the week that most people have extra time to do other things like planning a trip. You know, the higher the demand, the higher is the price.
Take note that airline companies start raising the charge of their plane tickets as early as Thursday.
What time of the day should I buy plane tickets?
According to Skyscanner.com’s study, it is during the morning.
How early should I buy plane tickets?
It is necessary to consider how many days before you buy one. According to the data that Skyscanner analyzed, if you are going to travel internationally, it is best to book as early as possible. For local flights, consider a day in between 3 to 6 weeks ahead of your flight. You could save up to $200 to $250 if you do these tips.
When is the cheapest day of the week to fly?
Since most people are only available during weekends to do leisure and travel, airline companies take that opportunity to earn. They raise the prices of the flights that take off and land on Friday and Mondays.
So, your best pick would be Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
When is the best time to fly?
It is the most budget-friendly to buy tickets for a flight that takes off in the early morning or late at night (when most people don’t want to fly). It might be a bit uncomfortable for you, but hey, if it’s going to save you money, why not?
Other tips that will save you money for your flight
- Bring your own food. The food inside the airplanes (or even inside the airports) are way too golden to eat. Besides, we are going to travel on a budget, and not eat overpriced tasteless meals.
- Condense your baggage. Don’t bring that extra stuff that will make your bags bulge and weigh more. Most things that you will bring is available to the country or destination that you will visit.
- Let the airline pick a seat for you. It shall save you a couple of dollars though. Some flights, especially during wee hours, aren’t fully occupied. If you are lucky, you can choose whatever seat you like.
- Skip in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi. Really? You have enough of them at home. Spend your time on your watching the horizon and the clouds instead. They could be mesmerizing and entertaining too. Then, if you are not at the window seat, try to sleep or watch a saved video in your Youtube app or Netflix. Rest.
Use services to find cheap flights.
As mentioned above, computer algorithms and programs automatically compute and decide the price ticket of an airline.
At the same time, another program collects all the ticket prices that airline companies show from their page. It sorts them up to help us find the best deals we can have to fly cheaply and save more money. Services like Skyscanner use this method to program, and we are free to use it.
There are more services like Skyscanner, like Google Flights, Kayak, Expedia – utilize any of these to find the best flight ticket price out there.
Consider having a travel credit card.
If you plan to travel now and then, you should get a travel credit card. It allows you to earn points and miles you can redeem for travel activities, perks, and some one-time bonuses. You can also use it to save time and money. It is for your security as well, especially when bad things happen along the way.
Are you wondering what “miles” is? It is a reward that you get whenever you purchase things through an airline. You also earn travel incentives whenever you bought stuff using a miles credit card.
But be careful to pick a credit card. Make sure that it fits your needs. Note, some of them charge high annual fees – that might cause you an unwanted financial dilemma. Just a reminder, we do not want to bury ourselves in debt here. So, be careful!
Get notifications from airline companies.
We know that airlines, once in a while, offer discounts to promote their business. One way they inform you about their promotion is through email notifications. Some airlines blast you with emails every other time with super low airfares below (some are below $100) – that’s when your opportunity comes! Flying and traveling cheap and on budget. Oh, yes! Here you go!
Don’t forget to follow their social media accounts too. Airlines know that social media brings a large amount of “traffic” to their space. So, they engage to earn more money. They also post and share promotions there too. Therefore, if possible, enable notifications for each airline page you follow.
Lastly, if you have your favorite airline app with you, don’t turn off the alerts. You’ll get promos from there as well. Get all the options to travel on a budget! Never miss a thing.
Cheap Travels Tip #2: Find free or cheap accomodation.
In the previous section, you learned how to travel on a budget by finding the cheapest flight to your desired destination. In this part, you will discover the cheap and free accommodation that’s gonna make the biggest savings. (especially if you plan to travel for a longer time)
Geez, imagine if you book in a hotel, a long list of accommodation fees will surely hurt your eyes and your bank accounts after you travel. More likely when you trotted the world for months!
It is a service and a community that allows travelers to stay in the homes of hospitable locals. They envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Members of the Couchsurfing community share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.
Pros of Couchsurfing
- You will be immersed in the daily life of a local and Learn small yet fascinating details about their life and their city.
- The host could be your free tour guide.
- You’re going to make new friends around the world.
Cons of Couchsurfing
- It could be awkward.
- It could sometimes not be the best option for shy people.
- Depending on the location of the home of the host, transportation could cost more.
How much is Couchsurfing?
Couchsurfing is free in a sense. But you have to contribute around $2.39 per month or $14.29 per year to help the community thrive. A couple of dollars for a month is nothing compared to few tens to hundreds of dollars you’ll burn in a hotel for a 1-night accommodation, right?
If sleeping in a stranger’s house makes you feel uncomfortable, then you should check hostels. In hostels, you will sleep in a room together with other travelers for a very affordable price. Some hostels provide private rooms too in exchange for a few additional dollars.
Pros of staying in a hostel
- Very cheap
- Most hostels have an included breakfast together with that ultra-low price! Two birds hit with a stone, baby!
- Some hostels offer fun activities – a way to meet new friends.
Cons of staying in a hostel
- Lack of privacy. Well, it’s a thing that is commonly compromised when traveling on a budget. Get used to it.
- Risk of theft. Have your bags locked and secured.
- Furniture could be old and squeaky. That’s why hostels remain very affordable.
How much is a night in a hostel?
If you are traveling to Europe, North America, and other developed cities, The cheapest hostels would only ask for around $10 a night (shared rooms) and $30 ( private ones)
In other parts of the world like Vietnam, The Philippines, and other developing countries, hostel accommodation prices could go as cheap as $2 for a night in a shared room and $3 for a private room.
Indeed, the prices depend on the location. Additional services, amenities, the overall quality of the hostel, and seasonal demands shall affect the price of hostel accommodation too.
Where can I book hostels?
You can use services like Agoda.com, Booking.com, and hostelz.com for booking hostels. They have thousands of hostels listed on their sites. Just tick the prices tab from low to high, and there you go, cheap accommodation, alright!
Tip in booking a hostel
If you want to save more money, consider booking months ahead of your arrival. Some hostels offer free cancellation. You don’t have to worry if you will find better and cheaper accommodations in the future. Time is gold, you’ll realize.
Like Couchsurfing, you will sleep in a stranger’s house too in Airbnb. However, the property would only be for you to use. Of course, you have to pay higher, but don’t worry! The price is going to be relatively lower than a hotel. So you shall be able to save money still.
Well, you have a wide range of selections in Airbnb. You can rent a single-room property, a suite of rooms, entire houses, apartments, moored yachts, houseboats, and even a castle!
Pros of using Airbnb
- Hosts can be incredibly hospitable.
- Your host can also be your free tour guide. You can ask him or her for tips for your trips nearby.
- It’s easy to communicate with the host – it shall give you more flexibility in using the property.
Cons of using Airbnb
- There could be a lack of privacy in some properties.
- The price is not that pricy. Yet, you can save a lot more money with hostels and Couchsurfing.
Price for a night in an Airbnb property
Like hostels, many factors affect the price of each property that you can rent. The most affordable price for one night in an Airbnb property ranges from around $10 to hundreds of dollars in developing countries. Then, it is approximately $20 to thousands of dollars in developed nations.
According to AlltheRoom analytics, the average Airbnb prices for North America is $199/night; Europe has $110/night; the Asia-Pacific has $91; Africa has $70; Latin America has $69.
Cheap Travel Tip#3: Have a Thrifty Transportation
Alright, we have a cheap flight, and affordable accommodation explained to travel on a budget from previous sections. Now we will tackle how you can economically move around when visiting attractions and getting new experiences.
Earn money by walking while on your travels.
Walking? It is not a form of transportation! But
If the place that you will next visit is not that far from where you are now,
If the weather is good, and
If the time permits.
Walking would be your number 1 choice. Why? Because it will save you a lot of money from fares. Besides, if you have a camera, you can take photos of everything that you will find interesting along the way. Later at the end of the day, you can upload them online to sell.
There are a lot of places on the internet you can sell or license your photos. Example, Shutterstock, 500px, Foap, etc. You can earn from a dollar to hundreds depending on the photo that you uploaded.
Save money by and when using public transportation.
Only use a taxi, Uber, and other private car services when in absolute need. They can suck money out of your bank accounts in just minutes! Sometimes, the price of renting a private car would be as pricy as an airline ticket.
Like planes, corporations manage some public transportation like buses and trains (sometimes the government does). Their promotions from their websites would save you a dollar too. You can apply for membership, discounts, or rewards if applicable.
You must also consider traveling from one city to another by night bus or trains. Trains and buses in some cities have lower fares during the night.
Traveling on a Budget Tip #4:Cheap and safe communication and navigation
When you are in a foreign country, you must have a stable internet connection whenever you go. It is a must because it makes everything easy, starting from communication to navigation. I bet you can’t imagine traveling too without google translate or maps, any booking app, social media, and messaging applications.
Here are the ways you can travel on a budget without losing internet connection:
Get an international Simcard
When you are traveling from one country to another, it is not only the language spoken that changes. The cellular network also changes. If you rely on your home network to provide you network connection while traveling abroad, your monthly fees will skyrocket from using their roaming services.
That is why it is necessary to have an international sim card. It will not only provide a network connection, but it will help you avoid the hassle of buying new sim cards every time you cross a border. It shall save you money too!
But if you plan to stay in one country for a long time, you should rather buy a local sim card and just add credits whenever you consumed all of its load.
Wi-Fi rather Mobile Data? Consider using a VPN.
If you’re really saving money, and you think you could rely on free Wi-Fi for internet access, it would be best if you buy a VPN. For only about $2 to $3 a month, you can protect yourself from hackers who want your data (for example, bank accounts). It is an extra layer of security when accessing the internet using a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Travel Cheap Tip #5: Save money on food without starving!
Written in this section are tips that shall help you keep your tummy happy when traveling thriftily. If you’re like me who’s always hungry, these are the best tips for you to travel on a budget:
- Do not forget the free breakfast from your hostel. Yes, like what was previously stated, some hostels offer breakfasts for free. Don’t miss it!
- Go to the local public market and cook your food in an Airbnb/Couchsurfing or in your hostel. If your accommodation lets you access the kitchen, it is your opportunity to save more money. Do it by cooking the raw ingredients that you should buy from the local market. Ingredients from the local public typically cost less than anywhere in the city. Preparing your meal for the whole day could help you avoid eating in restaurants. Therefore, giving tips is avoided too.
- Ask where are the most affordable and delicious food stores. Your host knows where the tasty meals more than on the internet. Give it a try.
- Avoid convenience stores. When you buy food in a convenience store, you’re paying 20% convenience and 80% food, Just kidding! LOL. But seriously, the meals from a convenience store are more expensive compared to the ones from a public market.
- Try the food sold on the streets. People selling food on the streets usually pay no rent or permits – it allows them to sell their food much cheaper. However, be careful of what you will eat from the streets. Always have your meds ready.
- Bring snacks in your bag. Making your tummy filled partly with cheap snacks like biscuits can prevent you from craving. Thus, you can hold yourself from drooling over lucrative meals and spending money on them.
- Bring your own water. Common, be practical. Bottled water in some places costs gold. Probably, there are water fountains in your accommodation which you can refill your bottle with water. Stay hydrated.
- Watch out for credit fees. When you really cannot resist the food from any restaurant, be mindful of what you use to pay for your meals. Some credit cards charge conversion fees and international purchases. If you are not sure if your credit card does, it would be safe to use money instead.
Budget Travel Tip #6: Explore the destination without spending too much
Right now, you already learned from the sections above the ways you could travel on a budget and save money on all the basic travel essentials. In this part, you will discover how you can explore your destination pulling little to no amount of money out of your pockets.
Visit the local government tourism office
Screw private tours. Local governments often create campaigns to promote tourism businesses in their cities. These campaigns offer free tours, free taste, or free immersion with the locals. Be sure that you check the bulletin and take note of the events listed in there.
Maximize the knowledge of your host and other travelers
As mentioned a while ago, your host could be your free guide. He or she can help you find the best places in their city. Hosts and some informed travelers can also provide information about the recent happenings and the perfect time to do an activity.
Join fellow travelers to explore
If you are traveling alone, try making friends with other travelers. Getting new travel experiences could be cheap. It is – if you are in a group where you can split the expenses for a package.
Traveling on a Budget Tip #7: Finding the best souvenirs
After our trip, we all want something that will remind us about all the beautiful experiences we had. So, we buy little things like ref magnets, keychains, t-shirts. However, as much as possible, you buy stuff like those from a public market. If you want to save money, purchase no souvenirs from hotels and airports.
Anyway, there is one secret souvenir that is absolutely free and would remind you of your wildest, funniest, strangest and most fruitful experiences. Those are your photos and videos. So you don’t ever forget to bring a decent camera on your trips! LOL. The memories are the best things we ever had.
Budget Travel Tip #8: Find Refunds
In your travels, you might have purchased something that you really wanted that cost a bit. It is important to know when traveling on a budget that most of the countries implement tax-free shopping for tourists. So don’t forget to refund the value-added tax (VAT), sometimes called Good and Services Tax (GST), before you leave the airport or the border where you bought the product.
Traveling thriftily and on a budget is possible. Many have done it before and you can do it too. There are so many ways you can save money starting from going to your destination and going back home.
Saving money while traveling will surely compromise the convenience and the quality of some experience. It takes a lot of effort and discipline too.
Lastly, before you head on traveling on a budget, have your mindset precisely set to thrift. Kill your impulsiveness to buy things that are not important. Be honest to yourself. Plan your financials, your desired destinations, and your time well. Stick to it, follow the tips above and you’ll be successful in making this travel with lesser expenses happen. Good luck!
Is there anything missed in this article? Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to comment down below. Let us help each traveler to travel without too many expenses!
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