For those bitten by the travel bug, visiting different destinations, exploring them and going deeper into their culture is an irresistible temptation. But due to the shaky economy, many travel enthusiasts have second thoughts about taking off on sojourns. There are, however, ways to travel and have fun without breaking the bank.
Meticulous planning holds the key to traveling on a limited budget and yet making the most of it. It isn't going to be an effortless endeavor, truth be told, but you can rest assured of deriving immense satisfaction and a sense of achievement once you've made the trip.
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Research Your Destination
A lot of first-time travelers go by trends and aim to visit places without knowing much about them. What is required before zeroing in on a place to visit is a hell of a lot of information on getting there, the passport/visa requirements, the lodging & boarding options, the place's tourist-friendliness, how cheap/expensive it is, and so on.
It is a good idea to research the place of your interest. You can read about it online or in travel books. Contacting local/expat bloggers for information on where to stay and eat and what to see might prove helpful. You could also try and find out about places that offer city passes (discounts on attractions and transportation)and pick a destination accordingly.
2. Travel off-season
Yes, the weather will not be perfect but think about the money you will save and it will seem worth it. You can expect to save up on airfare, lodging, food and even sightseeing. And there's a bonus to it you will do it all while avoiding the crowd.
When travelling off-season or during the slow period, it is easier to bargain at hotels for lower room rates and other services because business is slagging. You can, therefore, expect great deals and discounts thrown in by them to attract customers.
3. Book Round Trip Tickets
Many a time, one-way tickets turn out to be expensive in comparison to round-trip tickets. Many travelers book the latter in a bid to save money and simply don't use the return trip. It's a win-win situation for a budget traveler, because even if you do use it, you know you're saving money as round trip fares are discounted ones.
4. Consider Your Lodging Options
There are several package deals available online all the time. Apart from those, your travel agent can help you snap a deal that works within your budgetary constraints. If a hotel stay isn't working out for you, you could consider living in a hostel meant for travelers. If hostels aren't your thing, you could stay at a rental holiday apartment. That way you will have the entire place to yourself and it will also turn out to be more cost-effective.
5. Cook Your Own Meals
If you're putting up in rental holiday apartment or a hostel room with a kitchenette, you can save a lot by cooking your own meals. Not many travelers do this, but it can actually be a lot of fun because it will seem so new and unusual. You get a chance to visit the local grocery stores and mingle with the natives, sample the fresh breads, produce, meats, and wines from the land itself and cook anything you're in the mood for.
6. Avoid Touristy Restaurants
Restaurants that are thronged by vacationers often serve meals at very high prices and the food tends to be altered to suit foreign taste buds. Give that a skip and eat authentic, seasonal meals with the locals away from such touristy eateries for a truly memorable experience. This will also be relatively cheaper and help you connect with the place better.
This would work particularly well in western countries, where eating at restaurants can turn out to be quite expensive. In most of Asia, however, gorging on street food is preferable as it is hygienically prepared, competitively priced and, sometimes, tastes better than the food served in hotels. Asia offers a variety of delectable cuisines, which can be a foodie's delight. For example, you can expect to relish adventurous and out-of-the-ordinary food like whole frogs, fertilized duck eggs, and even squid teeth on Vietnamese streets, which is very different from the street food in India. Many thrill-seeking Indian travelers, however, visit Vietnam using a Vietnam visa for Indians to experiment with their food. It's time you did that too!
7. Use Public Transport
You can use subways and buses to explore your destination. If you're going to be there for a week or so, it makes sense to buy a weekly pass. Traveling by buses can be especially pleasant because bus drivers tend to be quite cooperative and make sure that you get off at the right stop. Take ample precautions, however, with your money when you travel in crowded buses or trains, especially at late-nights.
If you're travelling in a group and can share costs, you can hire taxis and visit places that might otherwise have been unaffordable.
8. Shop Duty-free
If you're one of those travelers who doesn't go back home without souvenirs, then you might want to consider shopping for them at duty-free shops at airports. They might not offer you much variety or the best deals, but since they're duty-free, they'll be easy on your pocket.
9. Use Coupon Codes
Look for coupon codes on the Internet and buy a few which help you save on your trip. It could be in the form of discounts on airfares, hotel stay, meals, shopping, car rentals, admission fees at monuments and/or museums at your destination, etc. These will help you cut your costs to a great extent.
10. Be Wary Of Scamsters
Always keep your cash close to you to prevent it from being stolen by local pickpockets and scam artists. Most of them are trained to sway unsuspecting tourists and take off with their money. They have the skill to distinguish foreigners from locals and take advantage of that. So try and blend in with the locals.
The above tips should help you get around your travel destination on a budget with ease. Feel free to drop more suggestions to help budget travelers like yourself.