Is this the end of budget vacation?
Apparently post-pandemic travelling is not going to be as cheap as it used to be. Ryanair says that flights in 2022 will be more expensive, while cost of domestic flights in many countries is already visibly higher. Current economic crisis is causing also higher prices for car hire, accommodation and restaurants. That’s definitely a bad news for budget travellers, as we all are eager to travel more than ever.
Hopefully it will not last forever. But reportedly people who live in popular travel destinations are tired of mass tourism and want now less visitors, who however pay more money. This make sense, so the future for budget travellers is uncertain. Fortunately there’re are some universal rules and tricks to make our vacation cheaper. By the end of this article, you will know all of them according to my own experience and my knowledge.
Smart ways to save money on a budget trip
Think about your budget and stick to it.
It’s better to set a realistic budget at home, where you have time to figure everything out. Think how much you can spend daily for stuff like food or entertainment. Stick to it, otherwise spending little bit more everyday will end up in spending much more for the whole trip.
Pick your vacation dates carefully.
Try to pick dates off-season. Just a couple of weeks before or after peak season will help you save money and avoid crowds! If you want to have a city break, why not doing that in the winter (for example most of European cities are much cheaper then). Wherever and whenever you go – always check local public holidays, long weekends and school breaks to avoid busiest and the most expensive times of the year.
Consider less popular destinations.
The world is enormous and there are countess possibilities for a getaway. If you can’t afford your dreamt destination now, look for a similar areas around. Perhaps you would equally like other countries which are not that touristy (expensive) yet! There’s no point of going for a trip that you can’t afford and be stressed about every penny spent. Things keep changing, so be patient and maybe your dreamt destinations will be more accessible in the future.
Travel with a group of people.
Solo travelling is fine, but causes a great damage to your wallet. Go for vacation with your friends, family or likewise travellers met online. It’s true that wrong company may turn your perfect trip into a nightmare, but with right people you would share the cost of accommodation, transportation and in some cases food (or at least you’ll have a chance to try more different dishes).
Find a cheap (but decent) accommodation.
Forget about fancy four stars hotels or keep them in mind for your retirement (sorry, I couldn’t resist). There’re thousands of affordable, clean, comfortable hostels, guest houses or apartments to rent in convenient locations. Do a good research on Booking.com, Airbnb, Agoda or Hostelworld.com. Register on these websites, as some of them may have special offers or discounts for their users. Remember the earlier you book, the more offers is available (the cheapest rooms and apartments usually go first). Get accomodation with a free cancelation option – if you find something better later, it would be easy to change the reservation. An option with included breakfast would sometimes help save some money, too.
Book plane ticket and car well in advance.
Buy airline tickets for a long fare routes as soon as possible (last minute deals are very rare there in contrast to a budget airlines). Use such websites as SkyScanner or Kayak and try their price alerts for a while. Check official airlines websites, too. Wherever you want to buy tickets, check prices few times in different days and times. Other bloggers usually say that prices are always lowest in the middle of the week and highest at weekends, but in my opinion it’s not a rule and they may vary.
For car hiring, use EconomyBookings or Booking.com or other price comparison websites. Also, try to Google local companies, if possible. Book a car with free cancellation option – you can always change your mind if something cheaper shows up later.
All mentioned above is time consuming and requires a lot of patience, but it really cuts the costs effectively!
Avoid extra airlines costs and unnecessary shopping.
Do you really need an extra bag? Priority boarding? Meal on the board? Alcohol or perfume from the airport’s shop only because the deal is so amazing? Make a wise decisions – don’t be a victim of marketing specialists.
Pick your means of transport carefully.
If you can, prioritise trains and buses over planes. Think about renting a bicycle or electric board from time to time. Pick Uber over local taxis. You’d go cheaper and greener at the same time!
Hungry? Think where you eat.
It is definitely great to visit a fancy restaurant from time to time, but not necessarily on budget vacations. Choose street food, markets, buffets and generally places where locals eat, instead. If your budget is really low, bring some snacks from home and use local supermarkets for shopping.
Think what you really want to see.
Do you really want to see this museum, or you go there because it’s popular? Are you into this show, or you go there because the theatre is famous? Are guided tours for you? Is it always worthy? Make wise decisions suitable to your needs!
Book attractions online.
Most tickets to museums, parks and other attractions are cheaper if you buy them online. Entry dates are often flexible and additionally you’d save some time by skipping the queue. Just be careful and always visit only official websites, otherwise you could as well buy a ticket to Titanic. In big cities look for multi passes or tourist cards that allow visitors discounted entries to the most popular sights (and multi-trip metro cards etc.).
Avoid payment cards costs.
Back home you may find it surprising how much money you lost altogether due to all banks and ATM fees. You can loose even more on a bad exchange rates. Get yourself a Revolut card, which is entirely free, or if possible pay by cash.
Don’t overpay for travel insurance.
Travel insurance is very important, do not go without it! However, make sure you do not pay extra for something not applicable, like water or winter sports. If you travel a lot, perhaps a multi year insurance is a more reasonable option than a single trip cover.
Don’t overpay for travel gadgets.
We always need small bottles of shampoo, shower gel, sun cream and such things as socket switches, battery banks and other gadgets. Buy them online or in a discount shops in advance. Avoid overpaying at the airport or wasting time to look for them after arrival.
Think before you buy souvenirs from your trip.
For me pictures and local food or crafts are the best and the only souvenirs that I bring home. But everyone is different. Whatever you buy abroad just think is it really useful for you? Don’t purchase nice looking items that will likely end up in the drawer and you will forget about them soon. Avoid popular souvenirs shops.
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