We all deserve a vacation once in a while, but not everyone has a huge amount of cash to splash out on a luxury getaway. Luckily, it is possible to travel while sticking to a budget- just keep these tips in mind and you’ll get the break you need without draining your banking account.
1. Go Off-Season: Every destination has particular times in the year when prices are higher and hotels are packed out. Pick your vacation timing wisely to get the best possible deals. The weather may not be perfect but you’ll have more money spare to enjoy yourself.
2. Opt For B&Bs: Large hotels can be extremely expensive, but smaller B&B’s can offer an equally comfortable and often more pleasant experience at a lower price. Shop around for small B&Bs and you should be able to find cozy accommodation for a discounted price.
3. Book Ahead: Book your flights ahead of time to avoid last minute price hikes, and keep an eye out for special deals and sales on your transport and hotel.
4. Choose Food Wisely: Touristy restaurants often offer mediocre food at extortionate prices. If you want to eat out, avoid menus in English with pictures of the food- these are always targeted at tourists. Pick smaller restaurants and ask for the daily specials for the best prices- you’ll probably come away with a more authentic culinary experience, too.
5. Downgrade Your Train: If you’re taking a train in Europe, you’ll often be asked to choose between First or Second Class tickets. First Class may be slightly more comfortable but it will also be significantly more expensive, and Second Class is usually perfectly adequate.
6. Take The Bus: Buses are usually the cheapest way to travel in many countries, particularly when compared with trains, taxis and car hire. Learn the basics of the local public transport system and hop on the bus to your next destination.
7. Watch Your Data: Even if you’re incredibly frugal while you’re traveling, you could end up spending a fortune on your phone bill if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Make sure you turn data roaming off before you get on the plane to avoid huge charges and only access the internet in free Wi-Fi areas. Internet cafes can also be handy for checking emails and letting everyone know how you’re doing.
8. Haggle: When shopping for souvenirs in flea markets and tourist stores, remember that the pricing is always negotiable. Have some fun with haggling to get a better price, and don’t be afraid to walk away from something if you really can’t afford it.
9. Know The Tipping Tradition: Americans are notorious for over-tipping, so don’t feel you have to pay everyone you meet 20% for their services. Research the tipping culture in your destination before you leave so you don’t spend more than you need to.
10. Skip Hotel Breakfasts: While grabbing a bite to eat in your hotel can be convenient, these breakfasts are often extremely overpriced. Head out to a local café for a cheaper meal- it may even taste better.
11. Think Outside The Box: Instead of booking a traditional hotel room, look around online for house swaps and apartment rentals in the city you’re hoping to travel to. This can end up saving you a ton of cash and will provide an interesting and unique travel experience that you won’t get from your usual Hilton.
12. Take A Hike: If you’re really trying to save money on transport, try walking as much as possible throughout your vacation. Not only will it keep you fit, you’ll also get a chance to take in the sights of the city without missing out on anything.