Tourism has become a worldwide phenomenon, with the number of people who travel for business or pleasure increasing every year. According to statistics, the number of tourist arrivals worldwide reached 1.5 billion in 2019, marking an increase of more than 50 percent since 2010. It seems that everyone and their dog is travelling these days, and you can’t help but wonder how do they do it? How do they have the time and the resources to support such an expensive passion?
Chances are you also have a long list of countries and places you want to visit on your bucket list, but you probably haven’t crossed off too many destinations because of one little inconvenience: money, or better said the lack of money. And so, you continue scrolling on social media, looking at pictures that other people post from their vacations, and getting a classic case of travel envy.
But even if traveling is generally considered an expensive endeavour, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you approach it smartly. Gone are the days when only people from the upper class could afford to explore the world as they pleased. With proper planning and some clever tips, now almost everyone can turn into a globetrotter.
So, if you want to learn how you can stretch your travel budget further and see more of the world for less, here are some aspects you should keep in mind.
Choose your destinations wisely
You don’t have to be a versed traveller to understand that some destinations are more expensive than others. Therefore, you have to be realistic about your possibilities and choose locations that fall within your price range. Keep in mind that it’s not just the price of transport and accommodation you should factor in when calculating your budget.
The list of expenses should also include meals, trips, and travel activities or emergency expenses, so you can gain a more accurate idea of how much money you’ll be needing. Fortunately, there are many amazing places where you can travel on a shoestring budget, so make sure you do a bit of research to help you plan your itinerary. However, if you have your mind set on a destination that’s more on the high-end of the travel spectrum, be patient and wait until you can find a good deal.
Avoid tourist traps
Popular tourist destinations are not only extremely crowded as they attract a large number of visitors all year round but they also force you to get more money out of your pocket. And the worst part about it is that many of the so-called must-see attractions aren’t even worth the trouble or the money you have to spend to get a glimpse of them for a few seconds.
That’s why it’s sometimes best to get off the beaten track and look for hidden gems instead of following the tourist trail. And if you do find yourself in a place that’s brimming with tourists, try to stay away from mainstream routes and make your own itinerary.
Travel out of season
Sometimes budgeting is not as much about where you travel as it is about when you travel. There could be huge differences in travel-related costs for the same destination depending on the time you decide to visit. So, before you book your vacation in a specific location, find out when is peak season and when is off-season.
Obviously, if you want to save some money, the best option is to travel out of season. The price difference can be huge, and although you might not get the best weather, at least you’ll be able to avoid tourist crowds and explore the places at ease.
Look for cheap flights
Transport is without a doubt one of the biggest expenses when traveling. This might not be such a big issue if you’re traveling within your own country or to a nearby destination, but if you’re going to a distant location you’ll probably have to fly there, and flying doesn’t usually come cheap.
The good news is you can find flights at reasonable prices if you’re smart about it. With a bit of research, you can find the best business class flights to Australia or any part of the world and greatly reduce your travel expenses. Being flexible with your dates usually helps as airline ticket prices vary a lot and can change from day to day. Flying when the demand is low (avoid public holidays) will guarantee you cheaper tickets. You should also search for budget carriers if they have routes to your destination, or use a dedicated travel service that can help you find the cheapest flights all year round.
Be flexible about accommodation
Along with transport, accommodation is another expense that can leave a dent in your budget, but not if you get creative about it. Needless to say, booking a room at a 5-star hotel is not the way to go if you want to make the most of your travel budget.
Instead of staying at a hotel, give hostels or B&Bs a try. Contrary to what some people believe, both hostels and B&Bs can provide excellent accommodation at a fraction of the price, not to mention it makes for a much more immersive experience as you also get to interact with locals and maybe strike a few friendships along the way. Couchsurfing is also a great alternative to take into consideration as it can help you find free accommodation in many parts of the world.
Do yourself and your wallet a favour and pack light when traveling. Apart from the fact that you’ll be much safer if you take the essentials with you – the risk of losing or having your items stolen is much reduced – you’ll also enjoy more freedom of movement and avoid costly baggage fees.
So, if you’re someone who is used to taking half of the house with them for a week’s holiday, you might want to rethink your packing approach and check some, or most of the items off your list.
Now that you’re armed with the right tips and hacks, it’s time to get ready for your next adventure.