How to Travel Within a Budget
Few things give me more satisfaction than reducing the cost of leaving the country! Many people believe that travelling on a budget means sleeping in smelly hostels, alongside the mice and creepy crawlies. No. I can guarantee right now that anywhere the bugs are, there will be no sign of me! It simply means to travel within your means. Here are some the ways that I take advantage of saving money!
1. Do a Teach English Abroad course.
Ok so confession... I haven't actually used this one yet! But, one of the best ways to earn money whilst you travel is by teaching English, and the training isn't hard at all! You can find hugely discounted online courses on sites such as Groupon (how I found mine for £19!!), and they are all TEFL accredited so get searching. Vietnam, Czech Republic, Brazil, Spain and China are some of the best markets to teach abroad.
2. Date Flexibilty.
Some people aren't too big on using price comparison sites to find cheap air deals, and prefer to speak directly to a human to find the best deal. Whilst this can often prove to work out more cheaply, I actually swear by Skyscanner to help me get a good indication of the best dates/months to travel. If you're flexible on dates, you can get some prices close to half the price. Sign up to Skyscanner price alerts on your phone to catch those occasional huge price dips!
3. Decide your destination last!
I think this is the most fun way I've saved money on travel. Again using Skyscanner, looking at the cheapest fare finder, you can go to destinations you've never even considered before! Why not visit Gothenburg, or Oslo for less than £30 return!!
4. Visit out of season.
I've been to Venice in the middle of August facing thirty degree heat, and in the middle of December, enduring temperatures as low as minus 5. Both were equally as beautiful, but December was a fraction of the price with a fraction of the tourists! If you're travelling outside of Europe, go towards the end of season- for example May is the month before rainy season starts in Barbados, and hotels are significantly cheaper. Monopolise on destinations out of season people, and avoid overcrowding.
5. Use public transport.
I cannot stress this one enough! Its true, not every transport system can meet TFL standards (Italian public transport has zero concept of being on time). However, taking public transport when abroad is often SO much cheaper, if you have the patience to research bus and train routes. I rarely ever get in taxis when I'm away, and this way you get to people watch :)
6. Make use of being young!
If you're in your youth (under 26), you still have time to take advantage of it! In Paris in particular, under 26's get free entry to all national museums (including Le Louvre). On top of this, Interrail passes and various other train and bus tickets are discounted for 26 and under. And.. just when you thought there wasn't any more, STA Travel provide exclusive travel deals for people under 26! So all in all, 24-26 is the cut-off point for these extra incentives. Better start counting those birthdays...
7. Indirect Flights.
Obviously, this tip is to be taken mildly. I'm not advising you to end up taking 4 flights totalling 40hrs to get to Turkey! But for a few extra hours in an airport, with little spending in duty free, you can heavily reduce the price of your ticket. I'm a bit picky about the airlines I fly with, so it can be hard to persuade myself to purchase the cheapest flights. But if you don't mind who you fly with then enjoy all the perks of those indirect flights!!
8. Go in a group!
Organising group travel can be stressful, and the trip may or may not be a little dramatic! However, groups have their advantages. Aside from all the group entry deals, you can rent an apartment/villa which reduces the cost of the trip instantly. Having an apartment means you can cook your own meals too! In fact, I recommend apartments all the time!
9. Book things in advance.
Going against all my advice on here, I booked to go to Rome in the height of August, with all of the tourists and all of the heat. BUT, booking so early got me an amazing deal on British Airways flights and a breathtaking 16th century hotel overlooking all of Rome. With booking so far ahead, you are also able to take advantage of online ticket purchases, at a lower price, for popular attractions. Can you imagine queueing up for tickets to St. Peters Basilica in the sweltering heat with three hundred other people? No thanks.
10. Take your travel currency and stick with it.
This last one definitely takes the most discipline, but leave that bank card for emergencies only! Not only do ATM machines give you very bad exchange rates, but its actually really fun to try and stay within your means. In some instances its more economic to exchange your currency in the country your visiting (Romania, Czech Republic and much of Eastern Europe). Either way, work out what you'll need each day, add a little extra and roll with it! Some days you'll be fine dining, and on the other days you'll be making a packed lunch with the remains of your breakfast :)
So happy budgeting people! I'm already receiving much joy from your savvy discounting techniques.