6 Tricks to Help You Stick to Your Travel Budget
If you think a vacation is out of reach, think again. Travel doesn’t have to make a huge dent in your wallet. With some creativity and flexibility, you can travel on a shoestring budget. Here are six ways to dramatically reduce your travel costs.
1. Consider Couch Surfing
If you’re not picky about accommodations, then you could try couch surfing. There are several websites where you can find people offering a spare couch or room to travelers.
These sites allow travelers to search for hosts by location, and they often have space for both hosts and guests to post reviews of their experience, so you’ll be able to vet potential hosts.
Most hosts don’t provide their couches for long-term stays, so you’ll probably only land a place to sleep for a night or two with each host.
Still, even a few nights of couch surfing can cut back on the cost of accommodations, which can be one of the biggest expenses when traveling.
And, while couch surfing can be a great way to save money and make new friends in your destination, you should never put your bottom line before safety. If a couch surfing situation doesn’t feel right, leave immediately, and stay in a hostel or hotel instead.
2. Compare Transportation Options
If you’re in an area with a reliable public transportation system, and it will save you money, then use it. Taking the bus or train is almost always cheaper than shelling out for a rental car or taxi.
However, the same caveat goes for public transportation as for accommodations. If the public transportation options in your destination seem unsafe or inconvenient, it’s better to use whatever form of transportation gets you around safely and effectively.
3. Go On a Working Vacation
The phrase “working vacation” might seem like a contradiction, but a vacation doesn’t have to be purely dedicated to leisure. Rather, it can be a way to experience everyday life in a destination while even putting a little money in your pocket.
Some countries offer working holiday visas to young people, allowing them to pick up short-term, casual work, such as in restaurants or retail stores. Other options for working vacations include work-trade arrangements such as helping out on a farm in exchange for room and board.
4. Find Free Activities
Many tourist activities can be pricey, but with a little research, you’ll probably discover some free attractions in your destination. For example, if you’re into live music, look for free concerts in parks.
If you’re an art fan, find museums that don’t charge for admission, or go to art walks or other local events where art galleries and studios open their doors to the public. Additionally, many communities host festivals that are free and open to the public.
5. Pack Light
Most airlines charge for checked bags these days, and while paying $25 to check a bag might not seem like a huge expense, those checked bag fees can add up if you take several flights, or if you’re traveling with your family and paying for all of their bags.
Of course, you don’t want to pack so lightly that you end up needing to buy basic supplies at your destination, so you’ll have to find the right balance between packing lightly and being sufficiently prepared.
6. Be a Flexible Flyer
Airfares can vary widely. You might find that the cost of a flight to your destination is cheaper at different times of the year or even on certain days of the week. If you’re able to be flexible with your travel plans, you can save a lot of money by finding the cheapest days, months and times of the day to fly to your destination.
Try any of these tips to cut the cost of your vacation. Your next trip might be closer than you think!
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