Visit More Cities and Spend Less
After the financial crisis “credit crunch” many people lost their jobs and a rather higher than average number were not able to fulfil their mortgage obligations; even if you were not directly affected by this almost universal situation, it certainly made us aware of the importance of savings and “spending less for what you want”; although it may be considered a good habit, since we are not using our credit cards as much as we used to do it; the financial crisis has had a huge negative impact on travel agencies and tours operators around the world, in the last two years many of them have gone bust and it is expected than many others will follow the same destiny.
Travelling is considered a well-deserved treat and the perfect gateway from our rather busy life; in Europe for example, people used to enjoy between 2 to 4 city breaks and at least one exotic holiday somewhere in the Caribbean or Asia every year. Unfortunately, this has changed completely and now travelling abroad is considered a luxury; a luxury than less and less people can afford by the day, simply because we have less money than before or that we prefer to save and avoid going into debt.
The fact that we do not travel as much as before doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t enjoy travelling anymore; just ask your friends or family why are they saving money for; the most two likely answers would be: saving for a house or saving for a holiday; in my particular case, I would prefer to enjoy a more breaks during the year with a limited budget. There are a few things you can do to travel more for less:
1) Flexibility and Patience for Cheaper Holidays
You need to be flexible when you travel if you want to get the best deal; travelling during Easter, school and bank holidays is usually more expensive, especially at the beginning of the period. If you decide to travel off-peak you might be able to save 50% to 75% of what you would spend during the busy holiday period. Also, a flight on a Tuesday afternoon is cheaper than one on a Saturday morning. Patience pays or in this case, it saves you money; just remember to consider a rage of departure times, evening and midweek flights and if time allows you, forget flying on a weekend.
Going on holiday doesn’t mean staying in a hotel 24 hours; it is all about exploring the area and getting to know the locals, the food and the traditions. Depending on your budget, a 4* or even a 3* hotel is sufficient and equally enjoyable; all you need is a clean bedroom, enough space to relax, good and friendly staff and a central location; if you do your research carefully you will be able to stay in a great hotel for a very good price. Join a travel website such as Expedia and wait for the hotel sales, they usually last 72 hours and the savings are great. If you are more adventurous, how do you feel about camping? Or a hostel? It is not as bad as it sounds and you will save a lot of money.
Do you need to have your three meals plus tea breaks on luxurious restaurants? I would say that dinner in a nice but affordable place will be more than enough to explore the local cuisine; breakfast will be almost the same everywhere you go. I would strongly advice you to include a daily breakfast with the hotel deal and if planned carefully, a nice café or local restaurant will provide a great lunch; the trick is to avoid restaurants in touristic places and observe where the locals eat. During a week (or longest) holiday a nice treat would always be welcome, enjoy a lovely dinner in a restaurant of your choice.
Is there any point to go on holiday and come back to your house thinking that you need a few days off just to relax? It is common and I am guilty of it as well, to include a massive list of things to do and see. Find time to relax, enjoy a calming stroll in the area, talk to the locals, they might give you great recommendations of places to see and those that are not worth visiting.
The first thing you need to do is to change the way you think about holidays in your own country. The idea of travelling is to see new things and experience new cultures, and you will still be able to experience all these things around your own local area; a car drive of two to three hours might be enough to lead you to fantastic places, research about towns and villages not far from where you live, explore those that catch your attention, you will be impressed on how much you will enjoy and how little you have spent; not convinced yet? Imagine: queues at the airport, different language, bogus taxi drivers; there are a lot of things that could go wrong in a holiday abroad; if you cannot afford a holiday abroad, just enjoy a break in your own country. It surprises me that there are so many Londoners that have been around the world but they do not know Scotland or Wales.
Places to visit: