Basic advice for saving money on your travels
Many people don't take vacations because they can't imagine them being anything other than very expensive affairs. While it's true that airfare is often expensive and a week's worth of hotel stays will quickly add up, there are ways to travel incredibly cheaply without sacrificing the experience. In fact, in some ways, budget travel can actually lead to a more authentic and immersing experience. This article contains a number of straightforward tips for saving money without losing out on the wonders of travel.
Do as the locals do
It can be easy to fall for tourist hotels and restaurants. They are typically right next door to all of the best attractions. If there is a concentration of world class museums, shopping and entertainment, you can bet there are hotels and restaurants trying to cash in. Don't fall for it. Seek out restaurants that are frequented by locals and look for residential neighborhoods. You may find that a guesthouse or small bed and breakfast provides the accommodation you are looking for at a fraction of the price.
Take your time
Want to save money a lot of money on your trip? Instead of bouncing around from one location to the next, stay in one place and get to know it. For accommodation, seek out a home-stay, short-term apartment rental or a free place to stay via services like couchsurfing.org or hospitalityclub.org. This way you will pay less (or nothing at all) on accommodation and you will be able to get some insight on where the cheapest places are to eat and drink and to catch entertainment because you will be more or less living like a local.
Make your own meal from time to time
Part of the joy of travel comes from eating out and having new dining experiences, but you can make a few memorable meals of your own. Buy a nice loaf of bread, a few different cheeses and some fruit, and head to a park for an instant picnic. This is an affordable meal and it comes with the atmosphere of a park, where you can people watch and learn more about your destination.
Take advantage of seasonal rates
Many destinations have a high season and a low season. High season often means more expensive rates and more crowded attractions while low season is the opposite. The difference in visitors is usually weather related, but there can be other factors like holidays and time off from school in the summer time. If you can, plan your trip so it falls outside of the high season. This doesn't mean you have to travel to your destination in the dead of winter. Instead, look to the transitional months when the weather is still decent, but the prices have dropped.
Take advantage of deals and discounts
Airlines, hotels and tour operators often offer deals and discounts when they are trying to attract new customers. Occasionally, these deals allow you to take a trip for a quarter to a third of the price that you would normally pay. Sign up for airline and hotel email lists and you will get emails alerting you to possible savings. Who knows? A deal may coincide perfectly with your planned vacation time.
While travel can certainly be expensive, it can also be enjoyed without breaking the bank. Before your next trip, consult the tips above.