We all know how expensive travel can sometimes be. It’s very discouraging when we search for airplane tickets and hotel room prices, and they already outweigh our budget. But I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible to travel, explore, have a great time and not spend all of your money. Today, I’m going to tell you my favorite tips for traveling on a budget, while still making the most out of your experience.
You don’t always need to travel by airplane
Sometimes flying somewhere can be very expensive. It can also be a bit discouraging to know that you can only bring a few items, or you have to pay even more. That’s why it’s worth it to see what other alternatives are.
Some of them include :
If your destination is relatively close by, this bus service will allow you not only to travel there very inexpensively, you can also bring a lot more luggage than with an airplane. If you book a few weeks in advance, this can sometimes save you a lot of money. It’s the largest bus network in Europe, and you can choose from over 2,500 destinations. It’s also a very comfortable ride – you can use Wi-Fi on board, you can charge your devices and you have a clean toilet in every bus.
This website allows you to buy a pass for train travel. You can choose between a ticket for one country or multiple. If you’re under the age of 27, you also qualify for a 25% discount off standard adult prices
Mix & Match
Sometimes, traveling to a nearby destination by airplane and then taking a bus or a train is much more cost-effective. Anytime you have a specific destination in mind, think of any possible variants, see how they will play out in regard to travel time and convenience and pick the one that works best for you.
You don’t always have to stay in an expensive hotel
Hotels can be great, but they can also cost a pretty penny. It’s very daunting to see how much just a single night can cost in some of Europe’s biggest cities. That’s why it’s useful to look for alternatives. You can sleep in a hostel or an airbnb for a fraction of the cost that a hotel would charge, and sometimes you can have even more fun too!
Some alternatives include:
This website allows you to find all the colorful, multicultural, exciting hostels you can stay at. You can choose based on your preference, and you can usually find great deals. A tip from me would be to find the place you like the most, and then google their website. Sometimes you can get a discount for booking through the hostel’s page, instead of Hostelworld. Usually, the prices are the same, but it’s worth checking out.
For the more adventurous, this website provides you with the possibility to connect with a local and stay with them for free. The account you will use, however, is paid. This is a great network of travel enthusiasts who support each other, love meeting people from all over the world and are generally friendly people. I do definitely recommend that you are careful and keep yourself safe, but if this is something you are willing to try, this is the place to do that.
This is a very popular place to find lovely living spaces for a fraction of the price a hotel would cost. The premise is that a homeowner is currently not using his property, so you can make yourself at home for the duration of your trip. It can be very comfortable and inexpensive, so definitely check it out if you’re on a lookout for a great deal.
You can check out this link to see Airbnb alternatives, if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
You don’t always need to eat at a restaurant
Dining out can get very expensive no matter where you are on the globe. You can cut your budget in half if you get creative and find other alternatives. This is not to say you shouldn’t dine out at all, but if that’s all you’re relying on to keep you from being hungry on your trip, it can be a bit problematic.
Some alternatives include:
Visit the nearby supermarket
We usually get bored with the supermarkets at our place of origin very quickly, and shopping becomes a chore. That’s because we always know what we will find. Well, if you go abroad – you usually have some interesting surprises. Supermarkets are usually stocked with regional favorites, that you sometimes won’t even find at all in the stores near you. And the best part is – they are very, very cheap. You get to eat regional food, along with your all-time favorites, for a fraction of the cost of any restaurant meal. After all, this is what the locals buy and cook every single day! If you’re staying at a hostel, they usually have a kitchen as well, where you can prepare the meals for yourself as well as keep them fresh in the refrigerator.
Sometimes, but not always, the street food you find can be much more inexpensive than any restaurant meal. Depending on your destination, you can find very different things, but as long as you like the ingredients, you’ll probably like the final product, so give it a try!
If you’re doing a guided tour, or you happen to get in a discussion with a local, make sure you ask them where the affordable dining places are. They are usually much more authentic, affordable and interesting than their tourist-focused counterparts. If the place you’re visiting has an interesting approach to the dining experience, this is also a great way to discover it and have a great time.
Make sure you plan & research
I know this can sound boring and annoying, but it’s definitely worth doing. If you have a specific place you have in mind that you want to visit, research it to see when it’s fullest, and if it has discount hours. Knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to get there can save you not only time, but sometimes money as well.
You can also use the city’s bus and metro to get around. Check to see how to get tickets, how expensive they are and if you can get any tourist discounts, and save yourself the extra spending on taxis.
Some countries also make use of different ride-sharing apps, and this is something you should definitely research as well, since it can be a very convenient alternative.
Always stay safe.
No matter where you are or how well you’ve planned, being abroad can always be unsafe, especially if you don’t know anyone in the city. That’s why you should always inform your friends and family exactly where you are, where you’ll be staying and for how long. Give them the telephone number of the place you’re staying, and have a person designated for an emergency contact. Don’t carry anything too valuable and research where you’re going, so you don’t end up in a dangerous neighborhood.
Of course, this is something we all know, but it’s worth reiterating, because not only is it extremely awful to have your stuff stolen, but it’s also very hard and expensive to sort yourself out of this situation if you’re in another country and you don’t have your personal documents. This can quickly turn a positive experience into a disaster, so keep yourself safe at all times.
I hope these tips help you have a great experience on your next trip, save you some money and aid you in exploring the world one place at a time. I know I’ve personally used them many times to make the most out of my journeys and it’s made them that much more affordable. Whatever your travel preference, don’t forget to have an incredible time and keep your precious memories close!
This article was written by Detelina, volunteer at Sunrise Project France since April 2020. She is a Bulgarian citizen and likes to learn, write, cook and meet new people.