Traveling at random is great, if you have the time and money to spare that come with it. But if you’re traveling on a budget, the first thing to do is come up with a plan. You don’t have to have an hour-by-hour itinerary, but you should at least have an idea of how long you’ll be spending in each new location and know the route that your new journey will take. Leaving less to chance means less unexpected expenses since last minute changes while traveling are more expensive.
Avoid trips during school holidays, as this is when the travel companies raise their prices to take advantage of the traveling market that can only travel on those weeks. Research the best time to visit your intended destination, and then travel just before or after those days. Known as the “shoulder season” where you will be able to have great trip but won’t be there when the large numbers of people are also there. Hotels and airlines lower their prices to attract customers during this time as well, a great motivator.
Hotel costs can add up. If you are willing to experience hosting sources for less, but the sacrifice of sharing space with others, look into Airbnb’s, where you simply have to book a spare room in a local person’s property. It’ll halve the price and allow you to an authentic snapshot of real life in the place you are visiting. Consider your host your very own, personal tour guide, filled with insider information for the best eateries and tourist spots in your area.
You could even stay with family or friends. Reach out to people you know or plan a trip to somewhere that a long-lost cousin or school friend now lives. This could take you to visit places you’d never have thought to visit before.
Make sure you bring everything you need so that you don’t have to shop for things you need while you are traveling. No matter where you are heading, take at least one pair of warm pants, warm top, and a waterproof jacket in case of changes in the weather.
Running out of money while traveling without a purchased ticket home is never ideal. Airlines release their flight seats up to a year in advance and the closer you get to your departure date, the more the prices increase, especially in the last month. Airlines say that the cheapest days to fly are the beginning of the week, the farthest away from the weekends the better. While that can be conflicting, there are also less people at the airport to deal with in the first place.
Flying economy will save you dollars, while business class looks tempting. Low cost, budget airlines are fine for the short flights and regularly have cheap deals. If you’re planning a weekend trip, try to pack light and use only hand luggage, saving you some money.
Buses and trains are cheaper than planes. A journey on an overnight train also means you have one less night in a hotel to pay for. For example, if you used a plane to get from New York to Boston you would be paying an average of $290.00, while if you chose to take the Amtrack you would be paying an average of $162.00. Plus, you may see more scenery and get to kick back a little more if you take the train route. To take a plane from Boston to Philadelphia, a plane costs an average of $300.00 a ticket, while taking the bus would be a simple $30.00. Remember to prepare your time differently though, as in most cases the cheaper options will take longer to get from point to point.
Cheap lunches can be bought in a grocery store rather than in a dining facility. Consider looking at pricing and food in your area. Walk around and see what there is to offer before choosing a place for the trip. Additional drinks can add up, so consider just ordering water. If you are staying at a house, or even some hotel rooms, there may be a kitchen. Consider cooking instead of eating out.
Working holidays may be awful in the moment, but most companies pay extra for working those days. While it doesn’t seem like it adds up, working for those extra sets of change can be the difference between staying at a questionable hotel and staying comfortably at a nice location. Another way to travel while making money is to look for jobs in the places that you want to travel. If you want to make a permanent job out of it that is up to you, but there are many jobs that are out there that are seasonal at beautiful places that may be looking for someone just like you!
Traveling is one of the best ways to spend time, but it isn’t unheard of for travel to be pricey. Using these tips while traveling will help maintain a budget, have some spare change left over, and still allow you to have a great time.