The most common reason I hear that most people don’t travel is “Travelling is too expensive.” Going by social media, it’s easy to see why this is a common reason. From tickets, fancy hotel rooms to luxury tours and so on, costs can add up very quickly. But you know what? Forget all of that because I’ve got some breaking news! You can actually travel cheaper (as I always do) and still have a great trip!
Nothing beats paying as little as possible when travelling and if you look a little deeper, you too can travel for less! So here are 9 practical tips that I’ve used (that actually work) to also help you travel cheaper without sacrificing the quality of your holiday!
1. Research Cheap Flights
Flights are usually the trickiest so getting cheaper flights goes a looong way in being able to travel for cheaper. Knowing where to look for cheap flights is KEY! Google Flights is my favourite tool to start with and the flexible search option means you can see prices for different dates and different destinations.
Read More: 10 Proven Tips For Finding Cheap Flights
2. Know When to Grab Flight Deals
You know when you see a pretty good deal and you’re not sure how long it will last but you’re not sure if the deal could get even sweeter?! A good way to check is to compare the deal quickly to the previous price on that route or even future prices in similar seasons.
Google Flights has a feature that tells you if the price you’re looking at is typical, lower or higher than normal, which is awesome (and rather accurate)! Now, it’s not a predictor but i’s a handy tool to see sorta what prices should be and what’s good. Also, it shows you the price history over 60 days so you can track to see if the prices are actually decreasing!
Sometimes it’s best to take the leap and grab that deal immediately! Usually, you should book at least a month in advance for European or domestic flights (USA/Canada) and about 2 months for international flights. If you do grab that deal quickly, most airlines offer a 24hr grace period to cancel if you need to! So that allows you to tale advantage of the deal and then take some time to think and cancel in case you see a better deal.
3. Let your Budget Direct you
This one is a common mistake/misconception. If you want to travel for cheaper, you have to let your budget decide your destination. So, instead of picking a destination and then looking for flights to fit into your budget, do it the other way round!
Being flexible will always help, so if you can, have a look at your list of possible destinations and check which of them is cheapest during the time you’re considering. Or, maybe consider a whole new destination that’s really cheap!
Read More: 6 Practical Ways to Travel More
4. Check what the Economy is saying
This one might not be so obvious but one big tip to help you travel for cheaper is to consider your destination’s current economy at the planning stage. First, exchange rates, you can easily check these online before you go for a ballpark rate. You can really use this to your advantage to either have a very cheap break or balance out your budget.
5. Aim for Low or Shoulder Season Travel
When you choose to travel can affect how much your holiday ends up costing you. Beyond the flight and accommodation prices, even activity prices can be affected. Visiting during peak tourism season will almost certainly be pricier so timing your trip to fall in off or shoulder season could save you big!
Public/Bank holidays are notoriously more expensive for tickets because the demand is higher. If you want to take advantage of these free days, you need to be organised and book way ahead! I was able to bag a £60 flight to Venice over the Easter bank holiday because I booked in December the year before!
6. Visit Less Known Cities/Destinations
You’ve probably figured by now that some of the most popular destinations in the world tend to be the most expensive! It’ll be much easier on your wallet if you consider visiting smaller or less popular cities/destinations with a lower cost of living than where you live!
It’s not only cheaper but could also be more culturally immersive than visiting a big city. For example, maybe instead of visiting Paris, you could go to Bordeaux or Lyon and spend way less. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit these popular destinations, you just need to budget very well!
Read More: 15 Cheapest Countries to Visit in Europe
7. Staying For Cheap
A common misconception is that to travel cheaper have to stay in dodgy hostels or bargain-basement hotels. Lies I tell you! Hostels are an easy option if you want to travel cheaper, but, if you’re not into that, you don’t have to! The best way to save on accommodation is to Airbnb! It’s perfectly between hostels and hotels and usually with great prices! Look out for “Super Host” properties and only pick listings with lots of great reviews and good host communication.
Read More : How to Book Luxury Accommodation for Less
If you want to save even more on accommodation, you could look into Couchsurfing. It helps connect travellers looking for a place to stay to locals looking to share their homes/’couches’ for free! In return, you could bring a small gift, make a meal or even take your host out. I know it sounds a little scary but they have lots of safeguards in place from identity verification to an on-call safety team to safety guides.
If hotels are all you do on holiday then consider finding ways to maximise what you’ll be paying. Try booking hotels with value-added amenities like free breakfasts, utilities like washing/drying machines and so on. If you’re not sure the hotel offers these, give them a call and they just might! For cheaper hotel prices, make sure you use Price Comparison sites like Trivago, TripAdvisor and Google. Also, do check out discount sites like VoyagePrive and SecretEscapes.
8. Explore like a Local
One of the best tips to travel cheaper is to Explore like a local! Speak to your Airbnb host, local bartenders/waiters, visit the local markets Uber/taxi drivers because they’re usually happy to speak to tourists AND they know the best places to eat and drink. Local spots almost always have the tastiest (and cheapest) food BY FAR!
Bars, restaurants or anything that’s marketed to tourists are usually never the cheapest. You need to venture off the tourist trail to get the best deals and the best experiences. Take public transport; it can be an adventure all in itself and it’s a great way to save money!
9. Eat Well on a Budget
If you’re a foodie and that’s important to you on holiday, you can still save money on meals! You just have to prioritise and plan which meals you’ll save on and which you’ll splurge on to stay within budget. So if you want dinner at that super fancy place you’ve been researching, you might have to have a cheaper breakfast and lunch to offset the cost!
If you’re not staying in a hotel, you can usually get cheap tasty breakfasts from local sandwich shops or even fresh pastries from the local supermarket! If your hotel puts on a huge breakfast spread, you might as well take some snacks for later (I always do), you can’t go wrong with those! You can also buy lunch from supermarkets and local street food stalls.
Travelling can be expensive, we know this, but it doesn’t have to be! You too can travel cheaper if you use a mixture of these 9 practical tips. I won’t steer you wrong, trust me, I use these same tips too! And as Tesco says, “Every little bit helps.”
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Go forth and Travel Cheaper!