Travelling is an exciting time in anyone’s life. It’s a time for striking out on your own, discovering the world, meeting new people and figuring out how it all fits together. However, once the rose-coloured glasses come off and the experience is seen clearly, it can be a pretty expensive thing to do as well. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere having the time of your life, you don’t want to suddenly find yourself without money. Or perhaps you’ve decided to pop off on an adventure when you should be saving for your house or wedding, and need to keep costs down.
To help you have the best possible affordable holiday without sacrificing any luxuries, here are some tips for the discerning traveler to help cut down your costs. These tips will make sure your trip is a life-changing experience rather than just a wallet-changing one.
Plan your travel carefully
It seems like an obvious statement, but fully researching flights can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money in the long run. Check the most expedient options for domestic travel, as taxis can be expensive. If you have the bones of your trip laid out , it can allow you to book flights and hotels far enough in advance to avoid late-reservation prices. This can help you look into the best ways of doing what you want to do from a starting point. Avoid excessive flying, as this will always be the most expensive travel option and not necessarily the most comfortable.
Budget carefully and realistically
Unfortunately, travel costs money, so it is important to be thorough and realistic in assessing how much money you put aside for travelling. Thinking through every aspect of the trip is vital. It also helps to budget based on an upper estimate of individual costs, so that you’ll get an idea of the most you can spend.
Look out for sales on flights and hotels
There will always be opportunities to save money on flights and hotels with flash industry sales. Airlines always have yearly discount sales which can be a handy time to pick up affordable flights. These are especially useful if you are on a trip that involves island-hopping or repeat flying. Price comparison websites (such as Skyscanner) can often be very helpful in this respect and also in finding hotels, which can sometimes even have extra sales of their own.
Check the details of hotels and packages carefully
Finding a good price for a hotel can feel like a win. However, sometimes the cheap price isn’t worth what you have to give up. For example, saving money by booking a hotel outside of a town or city will surely be outweighed by travel costs to and from said town. Not having food available at your hotel can also lead you to spend more money on food at fancy restaurants.
Get to know the place you are going to
Having at least a cursory knowledge of the place you are going to and the general prices of goods and services will give you the best chance of accurately estimating overall cost. For example, knowing roughly how much taxis will cost for your trips is always helpful and can eliminate hassle.
Find affordable food and restaurants
Wherever you’re going or however long for, food is always going to be a necessity. Find any supermarkets or stores around that may suit your dietary needs. Ask around or consult travel guides for good-quality local restaurants that don’t charge an arm and a leg – they are always around and they often have better quality food than their pricier counterparts. They also allow you to experience the authentic cuisine of the place you’re visiting.
Shop around for prices on activities
Consulting different local outlets can often help pull down the price of activities or day trips. Using the prices you find elsewhere as a bargaining point is sometimes beneficial. It can help to eke out discounts or at least serve as a starting point for price negotiations. It can be a nerve-wracking experience to use this tactic, but it can pay off. However, be wary that most of the time, you get what you pay for. It can be a good idea to spend a bit more to get a better experience.
It seems obvious to suggest prioritising what you want to do most, but it’s very important. To keep things affordable, you cannot do everything. Keep focussed on what you want to do the most, and make the most out of that. Think about the unique experiences of your location as well – there are some things that are the same back at home.
Give good taxis repeat business
If you find a good taxi driver that serves you well, use them again. A lot of independent drivers will offer discounts on journeys to repeat customers. It makes travelling in the relative comfort of a taxi more cost-effective, and you may pick up good stories or local tips from them into the bargain.
Look out for happy hours
Everyone likes a drink while they’re away. You’re there to have fun, and happy hours are there to save you money. It’s a match made in heaven!
Now that you’re well equipped, set your sights on the horizon with a head full of dreams and a spring in your step.