Travel on a Budget
These days, traveling is considered as a luxury for most people. However, traveling does not necessarily mean spending exorbitant amounts of money on expensive airfare and hotel accommodations. There are many budget-friendly options that you can take that would still allow you to get to your dream destination. So if you think you can't afford to travel, think again. Read the following guide, and before you know it, you'll be off to the destination you've always planned on going, while still keeping within your budget.
- Research for good air, rail, coach and ship/ferry deals. The Internet provides a very good way for you to do so. Take advantage of budget airlines, which normally have the same destinations as commercial lines, but for a fraction of the price.
- For train travel. Amtrak is the national rail company in the United States. In Europe, consider buying Eurail (for non-EU citizens) or Interrail (for EU citizens) international Rail passes.
- For bus/coach. In the United States, Greyhound provide bus travel. In Europe, Eurolines provide a pass to cover travel between more than 45 European cities. Megabus provide intercity bus travel in North America and Europe.
- For air travel. Air travel is generally the most expensive way to travel. Use flight comparison websites such as travelsupermarket, skyscanner and kayak. Use flight brokers such as Travelocity, Expedia, Goibibo and Opodo.
- For ship/ferry travel. Cruises can be cheap if you consider accommodation and meals are included. Cunard operate transatlantic cruises. TheCruisePeople compare cruise prices.
- Research for good accommodation deals. Do an online search and get lists of all the Youth Hostels and Backpacker Hostels in the place that you have selected to visit. Remember that your accommodations do not necessarily have to be first class, as you are just looking for a place to sleep.
- Consider sleeper and couchette trains to combine your travel and accommodation costs.
- Find out if you can stay with friends to save on accommodation expenses. However, make sure you follow the rule, "Fish and Guests stink after 3 days". So, you don't want to overstay your welcome and lose a friendship. If you are lucky enough to find friends who are willing to accommodate you, make sure to play the part of a good guest during your stay by keeping your area clean, making your bed in the morning, and helping out with the chores.
- Spend your days cheaply. Walk around a lot, and visit free or cheap attractions. Use shuttle buses or other cheap public transport. You can learn a lot about a place without spending a lot of money. Talk to people who seem friendly and ask for suggestions. Enjoy scenic walks as part of your travel experience. Visit the tourist information centers in the area, where you can also obtain informational packets or ask the guides for advice on how you can maximize your stay and experience without spending too much. Many visitors bureaus will have discount transit passes. Check online before you go for free museum days.
- Avoid eating out -- bring noodles and soup packets. This way, you can travel for as long as 6 weeks with only $1,000 cash. Since you are there for the adventure, and not for the shopping, you won't need to buy souvenirs, either. Take lots of pictures instead, and let those be your souvenirs.
- If you are booking your accommodation over the Internet, book your hostel or hotel for one night only. That way, you already have a place to stay when you arrive, but can look around for better deals on the next day. You can usually leave your pack or luggage at the first hostel so you don't need to lug it around while looking for a cheaper place.
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- Book a room which has a kitchenette. Even if there is just a microwave and refrigerator, you can eat in and save a lot.
- To save your accommodation money even further, if travelling by long-distance coach, is to book a service which runs overnight. It may not be the most comfortable good night's sleep you'll have, but you'll save yourself some extra spending money at your destination.
- Check out websites like LateRooms.com, Lastminute.com, and HotelTonight for last minute travel deals.
- If you're going to be staying in one place for more than a few days, buy groceries. Even if the place where you're staying doesn't have a refrigerator, you can buy some fruit, vegetables, and bread at a local market. This will cost you much less than restaurant food. When you're hungry, eat a piece of fruit and some bread. If you still feel you need a "real" meal, you won't have to buy as much.
- If you will be staying in one place for an extended period of time, consider booking an apartment or cabin instead of a hotel room. They don't come with daily housekeeping, but they are often less expensive. Plus, you can cook your own meals.
- Never take good jewelry with you if you are traveling like this. The only expensive thing you need is a camera, which should be strapped to your body.
- Take cash rather than Travelers cheques, unless you're going to Europe. Carry your money and passports in a body wallet, and never let it out of your sight.
- Take a sarong to use as a sheet, towel, wrap, nightwear, day wear, etc.
- Call hotels directly. Discount websites are a great option, but sometimes better rates are available from the hotel; there may even be discounts for a multiple night stay.
- Get your international data-only sim card in advance. You'll need an internet for using google maps, searching for some cheap or local places to eat, free calling and texting or urgent bookings.
- Always look for affordable service provider before traveling and only book in advance if you are really sure about your decision.
- If you're daring enough, you can stay up all night long enjoying the nightlife of a relatively safe city (no lodging fee required) and sleep the next day on the bus, train or plane to the next destination.
- Double check all flights and accommodation booking details before you confirm your purchase. Some airlines, hotels and online travel agencies can charge nasty fees for changes to your name, arrival or departure dates.
- Watch out for the security at the airports. It's far better to leave all gold and metal at home so you don't get continually security checked. It gets embarrassing.
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