So are you one of those people who look at their friends’ travel pictures or hear their travel stories, and are left wishing you could explore the world the way they do..only if you have enough monetary resources…? Then this is the post for you to read! Spend less and enjoy as much.. (if not more!! 🙂 )
Planning your Budget Travel
The first and most important thing to keep in mind when travelling on Budget is to BOOK IN ADVANCE- be it your flight tickets, local transport tickets, hotel rooms. You will be amazed at how much money booking 3 months in advance can save you, even if you are planning to travel during the peak season.
Think travel and think expensive hotels? Well today there are a host of places you can stay at which wont cost you half the price of hotels. One of the options I have used a lot is Airbnb
. Not only is it super cost effective, but you can get places in the center of the town you are visiting, where you may not find affordable hotels. Another reason why I particularly like booking a Bed and Breakfast from Airbnb is:
(a) I haven’t heard of a single case of theft, and had a great personal experience with respect to the security of my stuff.
(b) I get to use the kitchen of the places I stay in, hence I can cook! It great, especially for a vegetarian, with limited food options available in different cuisines. Also, sometime you get too fed up of the local cuisine. eg during my 9 day trip in Italy, towards the end, the words ‘Pasta’ and ‘Pizza’ literally killed my appetite 😉 What more, while cooking in their kitchen, you can request them to teach you some interesting local recipes too!
(c) Ofcourse, if you cook, you save money on eating out. And in most ‘bed and breakfast’ you book through Airbnb, breakfast is included (as is wifi )
(d)Its a great blend of privacy along with getting to experience the local life..staying WITH the locals..and trust me, some memories of the places I have been to, are beautiful BECAUSE of the warmth and hospitality of the people I stayed with
(e) The travelling tips, maps etc you get from the person whose house you are staying with. eg I remember when I was in Rome, I came to know from the owner of the BnB that a bus comes right at her door steps which stops directly at the Colosseum! (saving me money which I would have spent on a cab/a long walk to the train station)
While I personally am a fan of Airbnb, also recommend using Hostelworld
. If travelling in large groups, you can also consider Apartments.com
: Identify where all you plan to travel to within the city, and HOW you plan to travel (using a rented car/bike or using local transport.) Sometime the transport cost to and fro your hotel to places of sightseeing can cost you more money than your hotel stay bills! Also, I have often noticed that booking your hotel through sites like Tripadvisor
etc gets you a MUCH better deal than booking your room from the Hotel’s Website. I personally compare rates offered by different websites at Tripadvisor
Eating out is undoubtedly the most poorly tracked and poorly managed expense, which can spiral up your travelling costs exponentially. Now I’m not saying ‘don’t eat out’..what I’m saying is ‘EAT OUT INTELLIGENTLY’ For instance, make sure the place you stay in offers you unlimited breakfast. Also, as advised by dietitians across the world, you have ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’ !! 🙂
If you notice, its not the main courses that eat away into your pocket, but the tit-bits you have in between. If your home currency is drastically lower in value than your destination currency, its best to carry biscuits and snacks with you.
Also, when travelling abroad, eat like the locals do. The most expensive restaurants in other countries will be ones that serve you your national cuisine. So blend into the culture of the people there, and while exploring their nation, also explore their cuisine..especially the street foods!
For vegetarians/vegans, do explore eating options before hand, so that you can carry packed food from home. It best not to be completely dependent on buying packed food from the destination country, as I have had experiences where-in I have not been able to decipher the local language written on food products, and hence not been able to identify whether the food was veg/non-veg
While travelling, a group travel obviously costs more. But I am one of these people who enjoys most when travelling along with my husband. I have noted that in most countries its not the sightseeing that is expensive, but escaping the long queues that costs money! So its best to book your tickets to various entries, way in advance, via the internet
One long trip costs less that two/three short trips
So lets say you are travelling to Europe. Now it makes more sense to do a France+Italy+Switzerland or a France+Spain over a minimum of 9-10 days, instead of doing only one country at a time. (a) It saves you on your Visa cost (Schengen Visa applicable to all countries except UK) (b) Saves cost on your international insurance (c) Saves cost on your flight travel
Local Travelling/Sightseeing on Budget
If you really want to get the feel of how the local nationals live, I suggest you explore your destination via the public transport system. It can be a tad bit confusing in the beginning, but I usually get tips from the host I am staying with, or from people at the reception of the hotel. Its also a good idea to research via the net on reaching your sightseeing destination from your hotel via public transport. Yes, I plan my holidays, but not to so much detail as sometime one just loves to live in the moment..go with the flow. Thats the idea about holidays right?- you aren’t pressed to reach a certain place by a certain deadline. So I just hop onto a bus,train. It may not be the shortest our best route, but its fun. Meeting new people, seeing parts of the city that you’d never have explored if not for the long route the bus would take, taking tips from the conductors/station attendants…sometimes the journey can be much more fun than the destination! 🙂