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If you’re interested in traveling but your current budget is constraining you somewhat, you’re probably wondering if traveling with little money is possible. How do you reduce flight costs? How about lowering the cost of your accommodations or living quarters? And food can be so expensive in new places, so how do you decrease the amount of cash you spend on that?
I have a few suggestions if you’re struggling, as well as a couple of words of advice from some industry experts who know a little bit about travel from their own experiences. If you think we might be able to offer some assistance, feel free to continue reading. We’re about to explain everything you might want to know about traveling on a budget.
Travel Out of Season
According to Vincent R. Chan, the Chief Financial Officer of Christina, traveling out of season may be one of the best ways to save a little bit of cash. “Instead of waiting for the peak of the travel season,” starts Vincent R. Chan, “try setting up your travel plans during the less pricey times of the year. It may be less beautiful or sunny, but it’s also less busy and hot.” Although your pictures and views may be slightly less than perfect, traveling on a budget still allows you to see far more than not traveling at all.
Mark Twain also encourages us all to travel more when he says, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” This strongly implies that you should remove every possible barrier in your way when it comes to traveling. Instead of regretting not traveling in the future, take advantage of the opportunities you have now and you likely won’t regret it.
Book Flights in Advance
The CEO of Maestro, Ari Evans, says it might also be helpful to book your flight in advance. Ari Evans explains, “Try to schedule your flight relatively far in advance. The closer you get to the day of the flight, the more it’s likely to cost. The airlines know that you’re more desperate for a flight the closer you get to take off, so don’t let them play you.”
Booking flights in advance, even by several months, may save you a great deal of cash. It also seems like it gives you a more complete understanding of your options, allowing you to make a smarter decision with your cash. And an added bonus? You can let work know far in advance that you’ll be traveling, taking significant stress off of everyone’s shoulders.
You may also want to avoid flying on the weekends, instead opting for the less expensive flights in the middle of the week. “Have you ever flown on a plan on a Tuesday?” asks John Cheng, the Co-Founder + CEO of Baotris, “Not only is the flight less likely to be packed, but you’re also going to be able to save plenty of money by avoiding weekend premium fees.”
There are several ways to save money on your plane tickets, and deciding to fly midweek may be one of the most effective. This may even be the case for you even if you’re getting relatively close to the date of the flight, so consider this option if you’re planning on traveling on a budget.
Don’t Fly Business Class
Not everyone is used to flying in style while they travel, but in the case that you generally fly business class, you may want to save that luxury for when your finances are more flexible. According to the CEO of Benable, Tony Staehelin, it may be best to just fly economy if you’re on a budget. “I know that flying business class may look tempting,” agrees Tony Staehelin, “But it isn’t really worth it at the end of the day. Just take economics. I promise you’ll be just fine and well taken care of, even if you spend a little less on your ticket.”
While a little extra elbow and leg room might be nice at first, you’ll no longer be able to appreciate this after the flight has ended and you’ve reached your final destination. It might be better to spend your cash on the luxuries that last a little bit longer, especially if you’re strapped for cash.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
You might also want to consider using public transportation while you’re traveling. “I love taking public transportation in new cities and countries,” exclaims Staci Brinkman, the Founder and CEO of Sips by. “You’re saving money, getting to see the place from more of a resident’s perspective, and you don’t need to worry about driving yourself around. It makes it so much easier to take in the sights.”
Rental cars and rideshare trips can be pretty pricey, although they do have their places in our travel necessities. However, if you don’t have much of a time crunch and really want to save money on your journey, public transportation might be just the way to go.
Plan Your Itinerary Ahead of Time
You might also want to consider planning out your itinerary ahead of time, at least according to Cody Candee, the Founder and CEO of Bounce. “I find that figuring out what you’re doing ahead of time, even very loosely,” starts Cody Candee, “really helps you to avoid unexpected costs. You can check out how much lunch in the area costs, the cost of public transportation, as well as any entrance fees.”
Avoiding unexpected costs is essential when it comes to savoring the budget that you have, so make sure to plan in advance what you’d like to do in each city or country. Not only will you save a little bit of cash, but you’ll also feel guided and assured because of your well-thought plans.
Be Flexible With Your Accommodations
According to Anthony Bourdain, a chef, author, and travel documentarian, you don’t need to travel comfortably. Bourdain says, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
Speaking of travel occasionally being less than perfectly luxurious or comfortable, Alex Wang, the CEO of Ember Fund, recommends staying in a hostel. “Instead of staying in a fancy hotel,” starts Alex Wang, “Try staying in a hostel. You’ll likely be relatively comfortable, and you probably aren’t visiting a new place just to spend time in your hotel room all day.”
Remembering that you aren’t traveling for your accommodations is vital when you’re traveling on a budget. Instead of paying for the thread count of your bed’s sheets, pay attention to the costs that will be far more valuable in the long run. Make memories instead of spending on luxury, and you’ll be far more likely to appreciate it.
Cook for Yourself
Do your accommodations come with a kitchen? Are you near a supermarket? Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your surroundings. “Depending on where you plan on staying,” begins Jason Panzer, the President of HexClad, “you might have access to a kitchen. If you want to cook for yourself in order to cut down on food costs, definitely try to take advantage of your living situation. Every country is going to have a supermarket, guaranteed.”
Or, for those who are not prepared to cook very much on their trip, Kevin Callahan, the Co-Founder and CEO from Flatline Van Co., has another suggestion. “Many grocery stores or supermarkets have pre-made meals in some capacity. Most of the time, those options are going to be far less expensive than going to a restaurant for every single meal. If you’re on a budget, these meals are going to be your best friend.”
While the idea of eating supermarket meals isn’t ideal, this is a great way to save some of your cash. If you’re set on experiencing some of the local cuisine, just be sure to pick carefully and thoughtfully to ensure your experiences are actually worth the money.
Earn While You Travel
If you’re the kind of person who feels restless without working, you may also want to consider working while you’re traveling. This is suggested by Jorge Vivar, the Creative Director of Mode, who says, “So many jobs will allow you to work from anywhere as long as you have a computer with you. If you’re really worried about costs while traveling, taking some work with you is definitely not a bad way to go. It’s also far more manageable than you might think.”
Just by bringing a laptop with you on your trip, as well as dedicating a couple of hours a day to getting some work done, you might be able to beef up your budget by a significant amount. Or, if you’re not able to take your regular work with you, consider picking up some contract assignments. This is extremely simple to do if you’re interested in writing, doing graphic design, or even uncomplicated coding. The options are more expansive than you might initially expect.
If you’re traveling on a budget, we wish you luck! You deserve to have wonderful experiences while you’re in the world, regardless of your cash restraints or your age. Hopefully, this guide was helpful and gave you a few ideas for how to plan your next trip!
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