“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Last year, I created a bucket list to complete a few places in the summer of 2017 but I then realised I had no plans set, and definitely, no money. This made me splurge on the little places I managed to visit. I soon learned my lesson and planned out my travels better in 2018. So far, they have been going perfectly and as soon I started getting questions on my Instagram about how I am able to travel even when I am a broke fellow, I knew it was time to share the little knowledge I have.
Here are the little tips I have for budget traveling :
Lay out the places you want to go to :
Traveling involves planning, no matter how spontaneous you want to be. Even if you want to pack your bags and go somewhere, that place has to have a name, right? So the first thing to do is list out your destinations and locate it on the map too. You can even start with places closest to you. Before I started traveling abroad, I would go to the cities closer to me to explore. This takes me to the next point I should emphasize : Traveling doesn’t have to mean leaving your country to another, you can start with exploring the cities near to you.
Research how to get there, the cheapest, easiest way :
The great thing about Europe is that traveling between countries is so easy and well laid out. You have options from flying to using trains or buses, you just can’t stay home. Using websites like skyscanner, rome2rio and goeuro have helped me a lot to know my routes and cheapest alternatives. I use a bus where possible and fly the cheapest when I know that using a bus or train would literally drain the life out of me. Although the cities I have been visiting have been mainly by bus, (with the longest being 21 hours to Bosnia & Herzegovina), flying is the fastest option, if available. Just be smart and wise about your bookings.
Book ahead of time, if possible :
We all know that everyone travels mostly in the summer, because of holidays, events, festivals, and a great weather. This leads to increased travel rates. The best thing to do is to book ahead of time, at least two weeks before the time of travel. This also means you have to be sure you can make it and it’ll force you to travel. When you spend that money on the ticket and accommodation, especially in advance, you’ll be forced to get up on your feet. Also, booking ahead reduces cost as opposed to emergency booking.
Hostels, Airbnb Or Couchsurfing :
Frankly, when traveling, staying in a hotel is very nice and appealing but if you’re on a budget, hostels are a pretty great alternative. Sharing a room naturally divides the costs and may even offer the opportunity for you to meet with other travelers who might be keen to explore with you. Websites like Airbnb allow you to book a spare room or a whole apartment of a local person and couchsurfing even offers some accommodation for free in a locals apartment. I say, these are all great opportunities to take your host as your very own, personal tour guide who will also give you the best eats and tourist spots on the neighborhood.
Pack properly :
When packing, make sure you take only the NECESSARY things so you don’t have to shop while away (toiletries, meds, clothing for appropriate weather). When I travel, even if it’s in the summer, I always take a pair of long jeans and a hoodie/jacket just incase the weather becomes unpredictable. My toiletries are always packed in travel sized containers to create space.
Embrace Public transport :
When you get to a new city, figuring out how their transportation works may be a little tasking but it’s worth it. It’s the cheapest option outside of walking and it also allows you to live like the locals. Ordering a Uber or taxi should be your last resort as those take more money from you and we are here to save money, ladies and gentlemen.
Okay, I can’t lie and say that I go all ‘budgety’ when I’m eating, especially while traveling. This is where most of my money goes. But I have learnt to cut back and try to eat only one “expensive” meal a day while traveling. This means replacing the other two main meals with sandwiches, cheaper eating options and mostly food I can have on the go.
To save money on feeding, take advantage of the complimentary breakfasts which your hotel/hostel offers to get as much food as possible and save some for snacks later.
If you rented out an Airbnb, grocery shopping is a great option, you can cook two out of your three meals and even make sandwiches for the road.