When you are planning low budget travel, there are things you should consider. I believe the very first question you may have is how I cut the cost but still enjoy the journey. Let`s look at 20 tips for budget travel from my friend Jing :
1. Travel off-season
This is the best advice I can give. Let`s have a simple look : Marrakech Morocco airfare costs double in winter than in summer. A hotel in Venice offers much promotion in winter but turns to be very pricey in their peak time of summer vacation. Each destination has its tourism seasons and the prices vary to this fact.
If you are a type of low
2. Buy open-jaw tickets
Many travellers don´t know and don´t use open-jaw tickets, unfortunately. Open jaw ticket is basically round trip ticket where you don´t arrive to the same city of departure. This can also mean you don`t depart from the same city where you landed. Maybe it sounds complicated but it` s not. When you book your flight, choose a multi-city option and play with the cities. You won` believe how price can drop.
3. Buy return tickets
If your budget travel is set to only 1 destination then buying fixed return tickets is better. Don`t buy 1 week before you travel. You should start by searching for airfares at least 1 month before your travel date or much further. You should hunt the promotion and keep patience to follow the price scan. I bet you will get the price you want if you spend a few days doing that.
4. Travel in pairs
In some countries like Morocco, when travelling out of big cities, you can only rent a whole room, which is usually for two. If you travel alone, you have to pay for the whole room and if you travel in pairs you can save up to 50% on accommodation.
Read my other tips: Travel Safety
5. Low budget travel strategy: travel in groups
Similar as travel in pairs. But this applies more to rent-a-car and road trips when you can split fuel cost to 4 or 5 people. Travelling in groups comes in handy if you want to rent an apartment or when purchasing tickets to museums, tourist attractions ect. Sometimes there are even groups/family tickets available for public transport.
6. Book your accommodation last-minute
I do not advise you to apply this strategy many times, especially in a very touristic place. To do this well, you`d better to prepare the second solution in case it doesn`t work. Some hotels may open their last sale for the last minute due to the fact that they have some cancellations or they want to fill their hotel occupancy. It may not work for big or luxury hotels.
7. Travel overland / Finding alternative transport
Certainly, if you travel by overnight bus it is cheaper than taking a flight. It depends on the distance but when you have time, consider the train, bus or even sleeping ferry. Firstly, you will have time to know something different. Secondly, your budget travel will be as you expected.
In many countries like Vietnam, the overnight bus costs about $15 while taking the flight to the same destination may cost you up to $80.
8. Travel overnight
Travelling over the night will save you money on accommodation. Instead of travelling the whole day and then spending a night in a hostel, buy tickets for the evening buses/trains.
9. Travel before monsoon season
Before monsoon season flight prices drop dramatically. You will learn how to travel during the monsoon, don´t worry. Prices will drop not only for flights but also accommodation and some other tourist activities. This way you can save up to 50% even on luxury accommodation.
10. Surf some couches
If you haven´t try it yet, you are missing one of the best cultural experiences. Couchsurfing is not only about free accommodation but meeting friendly, open-minded locals and make a new friends. Just sign-up and build up your profile.
11. Travel light
When travelling with low-budget airlines, I travel just with carry on. You wouldn´t imagine how much can you put in that carry-on suitcase once you master the routine of travel packing.
12. Don´t eat at tourist attractions
If you want to save on food, just don´t eat outside main tourist attractions. Make a few steeps left or right, and maybe just one or two streets away you will find another great restaurant with friendly prices and great local food which is often more tasty than in main tourist venues.
13. Walk the city
I am a huge fan of walking. Whenever I can , I walk around, this is especially useful in smaller european cities. If you can, split your walking tours according to different areas and every day stroll trough one area. Try not to jump around big cities cause you will spend too much money and time. Plan a little bit.
14. Find free walking tours
There are also free walking tours available in many cities. I haven` t tried it yet, but google it, maybe you will find one for the city you are travelling next.
15. Stay in the city centre
Whenever I can, I stay in a city centre. Why? Therefore I save time and money on transportation to get to city centre where are usually main tourist attractions, events and nightlife.
16. Travel with low-cost airlines
There are a lot of people complaining about low-cost airlines such as Ryan-air. As far as I´m concern, I just want to travel from A to B as cheap as possible. I can even stand, europe flights are short anyway.
17. Book accommodation with breakfast
Check the prices and if you can, book your room with breakfast which can be open buffet. Eat a lot in the morning and you will be full for most of the day.
18. Don´t fly on weekends or holidays
I rarely fly on weekends. Weekend flights and flights before holidays are popular and prices are always higher. It is said the cheapest days to travel are Tuesday and Wednesday.
19. Travel by public transport
Try to minimize the travelling cost but taking the public transportation. Since you have time, taking the metro/ train from the airport to the city centre is also cheaper than a taxi ride. If the bus network is good for your visit, do not hesitate to do so.
Another example for this: Japan has a very wide range of speed train. You will save a lot if buying the train ticket instead of hiring a private car.
20. Eat at the streets
I love street food which is the cheapest and usually the freshest. To get fresh snacks choose a stall where locals eat and where there is always full of people waiting.