Panning your dream vacation
without spending a fortune might seem like a difficult task, but it is undeniably achievable, as proven by the top travel bloggers in the world – people who not only travel non-stop but also make a living from it from their travel websites. And with a few small, creative and fun steps, you too can explore the world, even with a tight vacation budget. Here are some of the best tips for saving money while travelling, from people who do it all the time.
Travel During the Offseason
Almost every destination in the world has an offseason, or a period of the year when there is much less tourism than usual, whether it’s due to general vacation dates or the weather conditions in a specific location. If possible, try booking your trip during the period when less people are going to travel to your chosen destination. Not only will you be able to avoid large crowds and enjoy your travel experience even more, but the accommodation, airplane tickets and attractions will all be much more affordable during the offseason.
As flights tend to be one of the most expensive parts of any vacation, especially when you are travelling overseas, it might be a good idea to be a bit more flexible with your travel arrangements. Unless you are confined by a tight schedule, try flying during workdays, instead of the weekend, opt for red-eye flights whenever possible, and choose longer layovers to save some money on airfare. If you have the opportunity, check the dates of your vacation, and see if the price would go down when you tweak your travel dates by a couple of days.
Make Use of Your Credit Cards
It’s a well-known fact that certain rewards cards and travel credit cards allow you to collect points and miles, ultimately providing you with an opportunity to get more affordable flight deals, or even fly for free. But many companies tend to go the extra mile, as you can easily find helpful benefits such as a great credit card promotion free luggage that will allow you to check your luggage at the airport for free, or even reward you with a handy travel bag. Just make sure you travel often enough to take full advantage of your credit card benefits and rewards.
Look for Affordable Accommodation
Another thing that can take up a sizable portion of your budget during travel is accommodation, which is why it’s recommended to avoid the most popular yet most expensive options, such as high-end hotels and luxury resorts. Instead, a better option would be to book a hostel that offers all the necessary amenities and the opportunity to interact with other travellers, as long as you don’t mind sharing a room with other guests. Renting rooms and apartments through websites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing are also great, more affordable options, which give you more comfort and privacy, for the fraction of the price of a hotel stay.
Make at Least One Meal a Day
One of the easiest ways to save money while on the road is to shop at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets, and then prepare at least one meal a day in the kitchen in your accommodation, if available. When you need to eat out, try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day, as restaurants tend to offer specials at a more affordable price during this time of day. For dinner, visit night markets, food stalls and other cheaper alternatives, in order to save some money while getting a taste of the local cuisine.
Look for Free Attractions
If you do a bit of research before you depart, you’ll see there are often lots of free attractions and opportunities available at your chosen destination. You can visit a beautiful park, hit the local beach or go on a wonderful hike through nature. In many cities, you can find free walking tours and pub crawls that will allow you to explore the area in a more unique way, and you might even stumble upon a few museums and national galleries that offer free or significantly discounted entrance on certain days of the week.
Try City Tourism Cards
If you’re traveling to Europe, it’s important to note that many large cities offer city cards that give you access to free public transportation, free entry to top tourist attractions, and even discounts on certain shops and restaurants. Depending on your schedule and the attractions you planned on visiting, city cards can be a great way of saving money, while still getting the full tourist experience. North America offers the popular CityPASS for top cities like New York, Boston or Toronto and well worth the investment.
If you want to see the world without spending a fortune, all you need to do is plan and prepare your trip in advance, and carefully explore all of your options, and these incredible money-saving tips will take you very far.
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger and regular contributor to followsummer who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and always carries one of her books in her travel bag. Her free time at home is spent walking her Labrador Retriever, Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences.