Traveling is a life-changing experience that introduces you to new cuisines, foreign cultures, and breathtaking scenery at every turn. By immersing yourself in a new environment, you get to de-stress, expand your horizons, and open up your mind, all of which are good for your mental health.
And better yet, you don't have to have tons of cash to have an authentic experience. Traveling on a budget can be filled with fun activities such as tasting French cuisine in Paris, partying in Lagos, sunbathing on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, or exploring the top attractions in Milan. To get the most value for your money, here are the best 11 budget travel tips for your next trip abroad!
12. Compare prices using Skyscanner
Flights usually put the biggest dent in your wallet. But the good news is, there are simple steps to finding less expensive flights. If you're able to be more flexible with dates and destinations, then comparing flights with websites like Skyscanner is a great travel tip.
Simply enter the required information and compare the available options. You can even select "everywhere" as your destination and go from there.
11. Get organized in advance
If you're trying to save money, purchasing flights, accommodation, and transportation at the last minute can seriously deplete your travel funds. Booking ahead of time and online is one of the best budget travel tips.
Most airlines offer flights at more affordable prices months before the departure date. Aim to organize and book your trip no less than three months ahead of schedule.
If you want to keep your travel expenses low, planning allows you to get all of the big costs out of the way and start saving for your next adventure. It also frees up more time to plan activities, routes, and a whole lot more!
10. Use public transportation
Lugging your baggage around in 90-degree heat isn't all that glamorous. But if it can save you some extra cash, then it's worth it. If you're looking for ways to travel on a budget, then ditching the taxis and opting for public transport is a stellar option.
Buses, trams, trains, and car-sharing are going to be your new best friend. Although it's not often the most luxurious way of getting around, it's cost-effective. And that's what budget travel is all about!
9. Steer clear of peak season
When planning a trip, the ordinary traveler might be tempted to visit a desired place in the "right" season. Most often, new travelers do this because they think they might miss out.
However, traveling during peak season means skyrocketing prices, limited accommodation, and massive crowds of people. The best way to save money while traveling is to book your trip in the off-season, otherwise known as the shoulder season.
You'll find that accommodation, flights, activities, and everything else in between are set at a way more affordable price. Visiting a new destination during the low season also means fewer hordes of tourists, more enjoyable temperatures, and a glimpse into a more authentic way of local living.
Not convinced yet? Let me give you prime examples of this: Iceland and Morocco.
When people think about Iceland trips, travelers tend to avoid the long winter days and go there during summer. Summer in Iceland means the sun remains perched in the sky for 20 hours, and the nights are laughably short.
But, Iceland can be a winter wonderland in the colder months. The long nights give an otherworldly veneer to the country. The Aurora Borealis show up the best during the dark winter nights, leaving you surrounded by a magical setting.
Morocco receives most of its visitors in the spring and autumn months, and travel usually dies down in winter and summer.
To avoid the hustle and bustle of the tourists, I encourage you to visit the North African gem in winter. When temperatures drop to a breezy 21°C, roaming the Marrakech souks or walking the deserted Casablanca beaches is a delightful experience.
8. Try the non-tourist spots
Having traveled to more than a dozen countries, let me tell you, going to tourist destinations can get old pretty quick. Tourist destinations all over the world pretty much have the same setup.
To experience a new place fully, you’ve got to immerse yourself like a local. When I visited Izmir, Turkey, a few years back, I did things differently for the first time. After the tour members retired for the night, I would wander the city alone.
I had my most cherished experiences during these adventures. The town welcomed me as one of its own and I didn't feel like an outsider. When I visited the non-touristy spots, I was often treated like a local and experienced the true flavour of the city.
But, always remember, safety first!
7. Avoid hotels and opt for hostels
If you're traveling on a budget, ditch the expensive hotels and search for a hostel instead. Although you'll have to share a room with other travelers, staying in a hostel means that you can save a lot of money.
Prepare ahead and pack a towel, toiletries, snacks, and other travel essentials to save on amenities that are generally not included in a hostel.
Not only is sleeping in a hostel a budget-conscious option, but it allows you to meet and socialize with other globetrotters. And by enjoying a communal experience and sparking up a conversation, you might even be able to split up the price of activities or transport with your newfound friends.
6. Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance is seriously underrated. Although the hefty fee can come as quite a shock, spending the additional cash could save you in case of an emergency. Because, let's face it, unexpected things can happen.
Whether it's stolen baggage, a canceled flight, or an adventure mishap, it's always better to be prepared. If you want to travel the world but you're stuck with a tight budget, make sure that there's room to squeeze in travel insurance.
5. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts and offers
Bargain-hunters, unite! Sign up for discount newsletters, check out different travel websites, and search the web before making any decisions. By staying informed and checking regularly, you can score some fantastic discounts and even package deals.
Airlines usually offer discounts, so subscribing to their newsletters means you'll be one of the first to know about big deals. And when buying things at your destination, don't be afraid to negotiate the price, especially if it's in a place like Bali or Thailand.
4. Ditch the luggage and travel light
If you're looking for different ways to travel on a budget, one great tip is to cut your luggage expenses by packing light. Buy a backpack, bring only the essentials, opt for layered clothing rather than chunky pieces, and get a move on!
Airlines don't hold back when it comes to additional fees for heavy baggage. You can save yourself the stress of unwanted costs by preparing ahead of time. Although you'll be able to score cheap flights in places like Europe, budget airlines such as Vueling, Aegean, Volotea, and Eurowings are notorious for their excess fees and surcharges.
Traveling with a backpack or cabin luggage not only saves you a lot of money but also allows you to make your way through crowded situations faster. Having a small piece of luggage means your things are always with you, and there are fewer chances of them being lost.
3. Buy a local SIM card
Ditch the data roaming and WiFi. When you arrive at your new destination, purchase a local SIM card with cheap data and calls. It's important to stay in touch with family and friends while traveling, so opt for a locally-priced SIM card and save yourself some money.
2. Choose a budget-friendly destination
Naturally, some countries are more expensive than others. And if you're a budget traveler, choosing a wallet-friendly destination can make a big difference in your spending. Consider transport fees, different accommodation options, food costs, and other spending factors.
1. Eat like a local
One of the best things about visiting a new country is trying out the local cuisine. Fresh fruits, spicy dishes, and mouth-watering street food are just a few of the tasty treats on offer in a new destination.
And just because you're traveling on a budget, it doesn't mean that you have to miss out. The secret to not splurging on flavor-packed plates is to eat like a local. Usually, you'll have to head out of the main tourist areas, ask for local favorites and try traditional dishes. And who knows, you might just discover your new favorite meals!
Travel Tips for First-Time Travelers
Traveling can seem like an expensive hobby, but that’s not the case. If you play it smart, you can have crazy-good experiences on a budget.
If you're a first-time traveler, here are some unique, solo travel tips that can help make your first travel experience more enriching, authentic, and memorable.
- Keep an open mind: People live very differently around the world. Embrace the culture and customs of your destination, try new foods, and be open to new experiences.
- Disconnect from technology: This will allow you to immerse yourself in the travel experience fully and appreciate the moment.
- Explore off-the-beaten path: Instead of visiting popular tourist attractions, seek out some lesser-known places unique to the destination.
- Attend local events: Look for local events such as festivals, concerts, and sporting events to experience and connect with locals.
Do's and Don'ts During Travel
I know, the rules just keep on coming, don't they? But, trust me, these rules can make your trip safe, enjoyable, and hassle-free.
- Research your destination, including its culture, customs, and laws
- Book your transportation and accommodations
- Pack light & smart to avoid extra baggage fees
- Try local food and drinks
- Be respectful to locals and their culture
- Only carry a little cash with you
- Be mindful of your belongings
- Book tours or excursions with licensed tour operators
Budget Traveling, Like a Pro!
Budget travel can be fun and exciting, especially if you know how to prepare well. Save our travel tips and tricks for your next trip, and start planning with Pilot now!