Everyone needs to travel someplace asides their home country at least once. Don’t you agree?
To be fair, people are hesitant to travel because of the cost involved and that’s understandable.
But to be honest, if you always think about the cost you may never get the experience you want.
I recently came back from a trip to
But it was all worth it.
So here are some tips for travelling on a budget,
Destination: If you are looking for an experience on a strict budget you can pick destinations with a lesser cost of living. Travelling to Europe is beautiful but probably not the most cost friendly. There are other amazing places like Mexico or the Caribbean islands that would save you half the cost.
Another way to save money on
Not all passports are made equal which is quite sad considering mine is pretty useless but just for now. Anyways, you can cut cost by going to places that allow free entry or entry for a certain amount of time with your passport. That way you can save money on visa applications and mailing when you send it for stamping.
That can be pretty restrictive right?
You can’t always restrict yourselves to a few countries so you can apply for inexpensive visas. A visa to Jamaica is $50 compared to $100 for a visa to Canada. This example may not seem like a significant difference but the prices do vary depending on the country of your choice. The point is you can save some money on visa applications by choosing different destinations.
Still on the topic of visas, you need to watch out for transit visas. This can literally ruin your entire budget. Again, this depends on the destination of your choice but it does happen.
How does this happen;
Sometimes people chose layovers because it saves them money on flights and sometimes people don’t have any choice but to have layovers because of their destination. Regardless, of how you find yourselves in a layover you want to make sure that you have the proper requirements to transit in that country.
One time, my mum was either coming or leaving Canada, Even though she had all the right documents to come to Canada, her layover was in the states. When it go to the time to catch her connecting flight it became an issue. Because, she did not have a visa for the states. They often require you to have some sort of visa before you can connect in their airport. She had to purchase a transit visa before she was allowed to move any further.
That was such an unplanned costly expense that can ruin budgets. Also, in the middle of sorting everything out, if she missed the connecting flight that could also potentially pose another unplanned expense.
Not all countries do require such processes. In fact, sometimes there is an alternative route available. But if you don’t want to spend your entire budget at the airport, then keep this in mind when picking a route.
Accommodation: One obvious and great way to beat the cost of accommodation is to stay with family or friends especially if you plan on staying for a lengthy amount of time.
But of course, you are not always going to go to places where you know people. Another great option to use is Air BnB. It is great because you can redefine the search to find listings according to your budget. If staying in a hotel is important to you, try booking flight and hotel as a combo before you purchase separately. You can use Expedia, or similar sites to help find the best combo deal.
It also would save you money to travel in groups. You can travel with a bunch of friends and split the cost of a hotel with each other. However, if your friends are delaying your travel plan, ditch them, travel alone and use Air bnb for the same cost you would have had to pay to split.
Transportation: Cheap doesn’t always equal convenient. You can save money on transportation in two ways. First, an alternative to booking flights will be to use land transportation (buses and trains). You can certainly use that as an alternative because they tend to be cheaper. Only advice is to get ready to sleep throughout the journey so you don’t feel the length of time.
Secondly, you can use the public transit in the country you are visiting. Instead of cabbing to places you can opt for the bus. That saves you money and also gives you the experience of what it feels like to be a local.
If you have to fly for your trip, try to plan ahead. It is advisable to book your flights at least 2 months ahead. You may get the best rates for booking early and it also it allows for flexibility. You can use google flights to play around with the dates to see which comes up cheaper. That could save you a significant amount of money. Booking last minute doesn’t guarantee the best rate and flexibility.
Feeding: You really don’t need to break the bank to feed when you travel.
Oops the irony!
There are a couple things to do to save money on feeding
- Take advantage of the free breakfast your accommodation provides. Never miss it. Even if it means waking up to eat then going back to bed. Just don’t miss it
- Pack food: There are restrictions on certain types of food you can take along with you and that can vary depending on the country. But you can do a little research and take some food item you have in your house. I remember traveling with packets of noodles we had at home and that saved us money on breakfast at least for some days.
- Cook your own food: if you travel to a place with a higher cost of living it will pay you to cook your own food. Buying 3 meals a day will not pay budget wise. You can occasionally buy cultural foods for the experience but don’t make it a habit.
You can also take this into consideration when picking accommodation. Try to find places that will be convenient for you just in case you have to do some cooking.
On the flip side, if you go to a place where things are unbelievably cheap, it doesn’t hurt to eat out here and there.
This may not apply to all destinations but it is something to keep in mind. Those bank rates and exchange charges can be ridiculous so it may pay you to withdraw some money and do some currency conversion before you proceed.
Some places we visited during our trip to Mexico, charged us more than we bargained for because we paid using our credit cards.
They charge you an extra % on the total amount of your bill. Because the banks apparently charge them a lot. It makes sense business wise but not for our budget.
At the time, we were already paying in USD which on its own is a higher exchange rate than Canadian dollars. And then we are paying an additional 6% of the total amount.
That was annoying but the lesson was learned.
There you have it!
Well, I’m sure you guys probably know about some these things or you just needed someone to remind you that you can take that trip all on a budget.
TAKE THAT TRIP!