They say it’s better to travel than to arrive. If you feel the same way, and there is an upcoming trip on your calendar, it is time to get planning.
But what if you’re on a budget? Here are 7 tricks that will help you save money on your travels.
1. Book Ahead of Time
It all starts with the plane/train/bus ticket. If you’re flexible on dates, take your time in finding the ones with the lowest fares.
Weekend rates are always the highest, and it’s usually Tuesdays that provide the most decent deals. The time of the day also matters. You can find the best rates for night or early morning flights and rides.
Bear in mind that even if you have it all booked and planned ahead of time, unexpected hurdles can occur. That includes the cancellation of your flight.
When that happens, and if you’re a resident of one of the EU member states, you may qualify for the EU flight compensation program and get up to €600 in compensation.
Read also: How to Become a Digital Nomad and Travel The World Full-Time
2. Hand/Carry-on Luggage Only
Since we are still on the topic of flights, you can save a lot on travel expenses by sticking to a small backpack or a carry-on luggage. That’s because one is free and the other one is significantly more affordable than a full-size suitcase.
Read also: How This Former Financial Planner Traveled Full-Time for 12 Years and Saved $100K on Accommodation
3. Use Couchsurfing or Airbnb
After your transportation costs have been handled, your second most important expense is accommodation.
Having friends with couches where you’re going always helps, but if you don’t, you’ll have to dedicate a certain amount of your budget to your sleeping arrangements.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can check verified Couchsurfing platforms and get a warm bed or sofa in return for cooking a hot meal to your host or just getting them a beer.
If Couchsurfing is not your thing, you can always resolve to more budget-friendly options to conventional hotels with platforms, such as Airbnb.
4. Eat Street Food
Every country offers the often exotic experience of street food. It is a way cheaper alternative to going to a restaurant, and it is yet another exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a completely different culture and cuisine.
However, beware of the food stand you choose. Look for the one where the most locals wait in line, and watch closely as the food is being prepared, so you can assess the level of hygiene.
5. Bakeries over Restaurants for Lunch
When you’re trying to travel light, bakeries are some of your best friends. Hop into one for lunch, ask the employee for their favorite or be adventurous and get whatever you like.
You kill two birds with one stone this way: 1) you get yet another close encounter with the local cuisine and 2) you’re saving a significant amount of money from your daily budget by not going into a restaurant.
Of course, if you’re still wondering what to do with the EU flight compensation you got from your previous trip, you can always decide to treat yourself to a fancy restaurant and leave bakeries for another time.
6. Make a Daily Budget
This is a tricky one, especially if it is about a place/country you have never been to before.
If that is the case, do an online search – what is the average cost of living, how much is a cup of coffee in a cafe, what pricey tourist traps to avoid, etc.
Check any entry fees for museums and cultural sites you want to visit, and include them in your budget for the respective day.
Add a buffer for unexpected expenses and use that budget as a starting point to plan your finances. Also, at the end of each day, calculate your daily expenses to check whether you’re within your budget or not.
Read also: How to Get Paid to Travel
7. Join the Free Tours
Although it is a publicly known secret that free tours are not exactly free (you decide how much to tip the guide in the end), they are still a more affordable option if you want to explore the place with a local.
Check reviews for the free tours you have selected and pick the one that seems more like your cup of tea (e.g., a more dynamic tour or a more relaxed one).
These were just some of the ways you can cut down your travel expenses.
The bottom line, however, is this: wherever you go, know your rights, and if anything happens to your flight, don’t be afraid to claim what’s yours.
After all, the flight compensation you get can cover your next trip, who knows?
Stock Photo from Kalamurzing @ Shutterstock