How to Travel Cheap
We all need to travel once in awhile whether for business or for leisure, however, when we think of the amount of money involved, we cringe as we calculate how much will be needed and the dent it will leave in our bank accounts. Sometimes you have to save money for a long period of time to be able to afford to travel and even then, you still feel the pinch of it. Indeed traveling comes at a cost, but there are several ways through which you can cut your travel costs and travel cheaply while still getting to engage in your core activity, whether it is business or leisure.
The number on way to travel cheap is to budget. Have a plan of how you want to travel and then budget for it. Find out as much information as you can about the options you have and come up with a budget of how much you are willing to spend on everything. A great way to get information is by using travel agencies. They can provide you with information about flight prices, hotel prices and even guide you on where to buy souvenirs cheaply. After you have decided the maximum amount you are willing to spend on everything, let this be your guide of the maximum you will spend and stick to it as much as you can. There is no point in having a budget if you cannot stick to it. Your budget simply guides you on the maximum you are to spend, however, go for the lowest prices possible and you will find yourself with some money left over.
Get Cheap Flights
One of the major expenses while traveling is the cost of flying if you are using air travel. Different airlines charge different prices but since they are in competition, the price will be in a close range especially for major airlines. However, there are budget airlines available and these are small airlines that offer cheap flights between destinations.
There are numerous sites that you can use to do searches to find cheap flights that are going the route you wish to travel. This will require you to do some research but it is worth the effort and you will be surprised how much you can end up saving.
If you have the time, you can use budget flights and connect from one point to another until you get to your destination airport. However, if you opt to use connecting flights, make sure that the timing of the flights are in a way that you have ample time to connect the flights and you will not end up missing any of the flights. Furthermore, calculate the total cost of traveling using this method to ensure that you do not actually pay more than what you would have paid if you opted for a direct flight. Take into consideration airport fees and other fees such as luggage fees.
Apart from searching for the cheapest flights, another option is to use a traveling agency so as to get better rates. Some traveling agencies have partnerships and deals with airlines that lead to travelers who use the traveling agencies getting cheaper rates or getting discounts when they travel. Chances are that, travel agencies, if they are worth their salt, already know of cheap budget flights that go in a specific route. However, you should note that budget flights usually lack some amenities such as onboard meals and drinks but no problem, you can carry some snacks.
Another great tip, why not fly during weekdays. Most airlines have discounts and offers that start on Monday and by Tuesday; the competition is probably doing the same hence midweek is a great time to travel with more chances of you getting cheaper fares, discounts, and better offers. When planning to travel, plan in such a way that you will fly mid-week so as to save some money. But even before you book that flight, have you thought of the possibility of using rail. If you are traveling a distance that allows so, you can use a train instead.
Well, you definitely have to carry some luggage as you travel because you will need to change clothes as well as carry some other personal items. However, the lighter you travel the cheaper it is for you. When you have carry-on luggage, it is cheaper to travel as there are no luggage checking fees especially when flying. However, if you have more luggage, you end up having to pay luggage checking fees which only increase the amount of money you spend. Furthermore, airlines limit the amount of luggage that one can carry and if you exceed this, you pay extra for the extra weight and you still pay checking fees. Traveling with as little luggage as possible will help you to save money.
Even when you are not traveling by plane, the more luggage you have the more you will spend to have it and move it from one point to another by whichever means you use. Save money by traveling as light as possible.
Get Cheap Accommodation
Another major expense while traveling is the price of accommodation. Hotels can be quite expensive and cheap ones may not offer decent accommodation or they may be in locations that are not favorable to you at all. There are several options that you can explore to ensure you minimize your accommodation costs and save money.
If traveling to a location where you have some relatives or friends, why not stay over at their place and save money instead of paying for accommodation. Sure, you may have to chip in and help buy food and some other items in the house but you still end up spending far much less as compared to how much accommodation costs. Inform your friends or relatives early enough before you travel and if they have extra space or room, they can accommodate you. Just remember not to show up empty-handed!
If you are traveling for a long time, say 2 weeks or more, another option you can explore is to work for money. There are people who have extra room in their houses and are willing to accommodate travelers but instead of paying in cash you get to pay by working. Work you can do will be house chores such as cleaning dishes, cleaning the house or mowing the lawn amongst others. This is ideal in helping you to save money especially if you will be staying for a long time. This is also a great option for traveling students. You can use friends to find such accommodation but you can opt to use various websites such as Caretaker’s Gazette.
Another great option is to use travel agents. Similar to airplane prices, travel agents will often know of great deals when it comes to accommodation and they can help you to find cheap accommodation if you have to go for a hotel. Get a reliable travel agent and specify how much you are willing to pay and for how long if they are good they will find you several options to choose from.
Airbnb offers you a marketplace where you can look for accommodation especially those that are being offered by individuals as opposed to hotels. On this site, you can get cheap accommodation which will cost you just a fraction of what you would pay if you went to a hotel. Furthermore, you can get accommodation for either long-term or short-term visits. Hotels are also using the site to advertise what they offer and you can find cheap hotels here. With listings from over 190 countries, this is a great option to help you find cheap accommodation as you travel.
Do not spend unnecessarily
When one is traveling, it is quite easy to end up spending money that you had not planned to spend especially on souvenirs and other artifacts. The best way to get around this is to budget how much you will spend on such items. Even if you find something that you really like, think before you pay for it. Think about whether you really need it and if you can get something else that is way much cheaper.
Mingle with the locals and they will point out places where you can get such items at a cheaper price so as to save money. You can also make use of the internet to get as much information as possible. Armed with information, you will be able to budget better and spend wiser, enabling you to travel cheaply.
Getting food from the hotel where you stay can be convenient but it only pushes up your expenses. Hotels will generally serve expensive food but you can avoid this by looking around for nice places to eat. Especially if you befriend the locals, they can point out places where you can get a great meal at cheap prices. Again, do not shy away from eating local delicacies.
Hotels will generally make food that is internationally known in a bid to serve guests and tourists well-known delicacies, however, these are usually expensive yet at a fraction of the cost, you can get local delicacies which are just as good as the food served in hotels, if not better.
Look out for discounts
If you want to travel cheaply, you have to be a bargain hunter. There are numerous discounts offered by various airlines, hotels and travel agencies and all you need to do is to find them. Some will offer discounted prices while some will offer various additional services for free. An airline may offer you free luggage checking, or free onboard meals and such. A hotel can have discounts either on the accommodation price or on the meals while some will offer you free breakfast or a discounted meal plan during your stay. Discounts are a great way of saving money while still enjoying quality services and products.
Traveling can be an expensive affair but with these tips, you can save some money by cutting costs and traveling cheaply while still getting to enjoy yourself as you travel. Remember, discounts and bargains are out there, all you need to do is to find them and this will require some great research and consultation but at the end of it all, it will save you money.