We all probably had that feeling of coming back from a trip and looking at a big red number on our bank account. Even though most people plan with a travel budget beforehand, there are usually extra expenses and most of them could be reduced greatly. Other times you just feel like going to another place but do not have much money to spend. If you want to go somewhere else and know how to travel cheap, check out our best tips for doing so!
1. Be Flexible with Dates
Years ago the only options travelers had when booking their trips were 1- or 2-week offers but gladly this has changed. Nowadays, customers have much more power and flexibility so you can book almost any trip with almost any duration of stay. If you look for whole trip packages or flights and hotels, be flexible in the number of days you stay and also with the dates – then a 9 day stay could be cheaper than 7 days.
2. Cook at Home
Restaurant visits devour much of the holiday budget but there are actually many possibilities to cook when you are traveling. Just book an apartment with a small kitchenette instead of a hotel room, which often makes no difference in price. Private apartments are an alternative to commercial accommodation: For instance on Airbnb, millions of users worldwide offer their homes for subletting.
3. Consider Other Departure Points
It can be very rewarding to have a look at prices for different departure points – this does not necessarily mean that you should only look at the second closest airport or railway station. It might be that you want to fly from Barcelona but the flight from Madrid is just a lot cheaper!
4. Avoid Shops in Main Tourist Streets
It is obvious that it is most expensive in the tourist miles but somehow many people are still spending a lot of money on souvenirs and food. For souvenirs, you might want to have one when you go home but for food and drinks there are mostly better and cheaper alternatives not too far away from the main spots.
5. Eat Where the Locals Eat
If you want to know how to travel cheap, you should mingle with the locals. Before your trip starts, it is recommendable to do online research and get a feeling for the country as well as its people (and the local prices). Most larger cities have local food forums where partially tourists are posting but if you go into detail you will also find a lot of local voices.
6. Travel with Hand Baggage Only
Depending on where you go and for how long, you might not necessarily need a large suitcase. So try to think about how you could use the space in your backpack the best way before you book your flight tickets! Especially the low cost airlines make a lot of money with luggage fees and you can often avoid that by packing wisely. Just be aware that you do not get over the weight limit.
7. Book as many Travel Services as Possible on Site
With the exception of major events, you can usually expect that your destination is not fully booked. If you book on site, you save the commission for travel agencies and booking platforms and have more room for negotiation. Almost everywhere you will find local accommodation or tours which do not have an excessive advertising budget and offer cheaper service that can even be better.
8. Avoid the High Season
If you can plan in advance, it can be wise to check for major holidays in the country or when most tourists usually go there. Once you spotted the most popular periods, avoid them and book at least two to six weeks before or after them. This not only saves you lots of money, but you will also experience a more local life and less busy streets.
Traveling can be costly and if you want to use your money more effectively, you should consider the above tips on how to travel cheap. However, the best tips do not come from the Internet or a travel guide. First ask your friends and acquaintances. Who has been there before, or who has local friends? A simple post on Twitter or Facebook is often enough to get valuable information about a destination. Local connections and tips on good and cheap accommodations, restaurants and shops are therefore invaluable.