One of the great things about finishing school is that you have a lot more time to decide what to do with and a lot more freedom in your choices. One of those choices is becoming a world traveller! But if you decide to do this - especially when you're young - it can be very expensive and drain your bank account absurdly fast. But, because travelling is so awesome and it's important (in my opinion) to see as many places as possible, I've made up this list to help you travel on your personal budget and to make travelling expenses more affordable so you can worry less and relax more!
Before we get into the more specific things, here are some tips that I want to share that I couldn't really put into a significant category:
- Record everything that your spending on your phone or in a journal. When you physically write down all of your spending, you'll be more aware of the amount and more wary to spend more than you wish to.
- Always ask for/look for discounts. Don't be too shy to ask, and don't feel too awkward to seek them. There are tons of discounts out there waiting to be discovered. You'd be surprised how many you can find once you start looking. Trust me.
One of the most obvious and immediate expenses when you are going on a trip is paying for how you're actually going to get to your destination! Assuming you're flying, this can get pretty expensive. Here are some tips if this is indeed how you will be traveling:
- Before anything, look into whether or not you have any sort of points or airline-miles available to you. If you're interested in seeing how to accrue such things, there are numerous credit cards that build a points balance that you can use towards flying as you spend money on everyday items throughout your every day life. If you decide that you would like to build up a points balance, plan ahead! Sign up for the card of your choosing, and spend with it to build up airline-miles before you book your flight. This will take more patience, but can really help in saving you money.
- Check out and track prices on different travel websites. There are tons of sites out there where you can compare and find the lowest pricing for flights (SkyScanner, AirfareWatchdog, Expedia, Kayak). What I suggest, is for a month or so before you're looking to purchase a ticket, monitor these sites and see if there's any downward trends in price for your destination. If you see this, wait it out until the best moment for you to buy at the lowest price. If you see the price trending upward to be more expensive, but sooner rather than later.
- Be aware of ALL the costs when flying. A lot of people don't realize that there is more to flying expenses than just the flight ticket. Take into consideration how you will be getting to and from the airport both at your destination and when you're leaving and returning home. Also, recently a lot of airlines charge for their in-flight food. Consider this as well and do your research on the airline food prices so that you aren't caught off-guard when you're on the flight for hours on end and ready to eat.
- Consider connecting flights. All of us want to board one plane, and then get off at our final destination without the hassle of having to switch flights and making sure that we get where we need to be in an airport by a certain time multiple times. But a lot of the time, setting up a flight route to get to your final destination to include connecting flights is cheaper than getting a ticket for a flight that gets you there in one go.
- Compare the prices of a one-way ticket and a round-trip ticket. Purchasing a one-way ticket doesn't mean that you never plan on coming home. A lot of the time getting a one-way ticket to your destination, and then buying another one-way ticket for your return trip will come out as being cheaper overall. Take this into consideration during your planning!
- Try to only pack a carry-on! Granted, this will be a lot easier for shorter trips, but checking baggage can get expensive. So try to travel light to save a little be on money.
When traveling around, you need somewhere to sleep (of course) unless you're backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.
- Avoid hotels if possible. If you're travelling and are open to other options besides a hotel, look into other options such as hostels or renting a bed, apartment, etc. To help find where this can be done I suggest visiting HostelWorld.com or AirBnB. What's great about sites like these is that a lot of times you can see reviews and have a lot of different choices to choose from to ensure that your finding the best (and safest) place for your needs.
- Consider a Bed & Breakfast. B&B's are notoriously cozy. Not only can they be cheaper than large hotels, but they also offer a lot more natural culture of the place where you are staying and can give you a more authentic-feeling trip. A lot of times you can stay at a B&B for half the price of a hotel.
- Consider renting a condo/apartment/house if you're in a large group. This can also be a money-saving route to take. And it will make your large group stay a lot more spacious and comfortable.
- If you have to stay a hotel, look for a smaller and more local option rather than a large chain. It can be great staying a large hotel chains to build up rewards, but you might benefit even greater from the discount you could receive by staying at a local mom-and-pop hotel at your destination.
- Stay somewhere that's a bit further from the epicenter of your destination. If where you're going is popular among tourists, a lot of the time hotels/accommodations can bump up their prices for location-convenience if they're right in the middle of the action. Look for something that's a bit more on the outskirts for reduced prices.
- Home exchanges and House sitting. These are two more options tto consider. Look online for any home exchanges (think the movie The Holiday with Cameron Diaz) or people looking to have someone house sit while they too are on a vacation. Some sites to consider to help you include HouseCarers, MindMyHouse, and Caretaker.
While you're away you'll want to have fun! Duh. This can be a money-sucker so just make sure that you stay aware and on top of things.
- Prepare the entertainment plans for your trip ahead of time. This way you can be aware of how much what will be costing you and you can pick and choose ahead of time to make sure you're making the most out of your money and get the most bang for your buck.
- Use a guide book instead of paying for tours. This can save a lot of money. A lot of times guidebooks can offer just as much - if not more - information on a location then a guided tour ever could. And you can do things at your own pace and when you choose to rather than having to adhere to other peoples' schedules.
- Look into all-inclusive/fixed-price trips. This way you won't even have to worry about additional payments for entertainment. You can pay all at once up front and a lot of times there are payment plans available for such things. These options include resort packages, cruises, group tours, etc.
Eating can be a huge culturally experience when you're away and something you don't want to miss out on, check out these tips in order to not spend crazy amounts of money.
- Pack your food and have picnics. Go to a local market and shop local foods so that you can pack your meals and take them out on nice picnics! This will save a ton on meals and you can make a fun activity out of cooking local cuisine.
- Avoid tourist-y restaurants. A lot of times they jack up the prices because they know that tourists will pay them. Opt for locally-run restaurants; not only will you get a better culturally experience, but you will also save a bit of money.
- Ask about tipping when eating at a local food-place. Sometimes tipping and tipping rates can differ depending on where you travel. Check with someone that is local/has knowledge of the area to see what the general tipping policy is to make sure that it's not unknowingly included.
- If you're drinking, check to see if drinks are cheaper at the bar vs. at a table. Sometimes this is the case. If you want to have some drinks and don't mind sitting at the bar, look into this option.
- Avoid hotel breakfasts. Unless, of course, they're complimentary. Again, these prices can be jacked up because of convenience. Look elsewhere for breakfast or buy food to make your own.
- Look up menus online, and plan out what you want to eat. This way you won't make any impulsive decisions at the restaurant and you can estimate just how much you'll be spending.
- Split an entree with your buddy. This obviously will save money, no real explanation needed here I feel.
- Save your leftovers. You can eat these leftovers for the formerly mentioned picnic/packed lunch you will be preparing!
- Try to eat a larger lunch and a smaller dinner. Lunches are cheaper most of the time than dinner. Plus it's healthier to have larger meals earlier in the day anyway.
What's your favorite vacation you've ever been on?
OR where would you travel if you could go absolutely anywhere in the world (or even universe) money aside?
Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment :) . It would make my day.