Whenever I think of a “Holiday/ Vacation” the thing which immediately comes in my mind is “What will the Budget / Expense?”. And on so many occasions I have really wanted to visit a place; only to leave it as it’s too expensive. But that’s not the case any longer, as I have stated traveling the budget way.
Well, if you too are open to the option / idea of budget travel then visiting these dream destinations can actually become a realty. Please do not feel that Budget means “Inconvenience” it just means cutting down on a few comforts that you are ok to live without for a few days.
The most important part of any successful budget holiday is “PLANNING” and that too in “ADVANCE”. By planning a little in advance, being a bit flexible with your lodging options, adjusting a bit on the transportation and food options available, you can create a budget holiday for any destination no matter how expensive the place may otherwise be.
Below are a few tips that can help you save quite a bit on your holiday –
1) Whenever possible, block your air tickets at least 3 months in advance. For the best deals on airlines –
- Check across various airline / travel booking websites for the best deals, offers etc before booking your tickets. Check across all kinds of options available on routes, from nearby cities, different airports, etc. Also many times direct flights are more expensive and flights with some halts are much cheaper.
- Subscribe to the newsletters of all major airlines, travel sites, etc and follow them for deals, special offers, discounts etc.
2) Decide on the city / cities / places that you want to visit. As far as possible, plan the journey in a way that all the places are close by or linked by local train network (not high-speed) and avoid going all over the place. If you decide to visit any cities with a travel time of more than 5 hours by train, then you end of wasting a lot of time and money on just travel.
3) Decide on what you are ok to sacrifice in terms of accommodation, food, and transportation. Set your criteria on what is the most important requirements for you, and choose budget options for the others. Please also the check the tourist season and try for off – season discounts.
- Accommodation – If you are willing to sacrifice hotels, you can check out hostels and B&Bs. These are nice, clean, well maintained and in some cases also provide kitchens (including utensils and spices) if you want to cook per your tastes. You can also meet a lot of like-minded travellers in these places who can even help you with more options to save money. You can also try couch surfing or camping at any of the campsites. Though I havent tried any of these options myself (except hostels & B&Bs), I have read good reviews about them.
- Food – On food, you can do the following –
- Eat local whenever you travel and avoid restaurants near tourist locations (also Indian restaurants are one of the most expensive places to eat outside India).
- Head for smaller restaurants in less touristy areas where prices tend to be more affordable.
- Check with the hostel where you are staying if they have any tie-ups. Normally a lot of hostels have tie-ups for discounts in eating places around the hostel.
- Additionally you can shop at local street shops / stores for fresh fruits and veggies and check out the local bakeries for bread and pastries. This also gives you an opportunity to try stuff that you otherwise don’t get back at home.
- Travel – Whenever you book your accommodation, take a few minutes to check out how close it is to the places that you want to see. Select a place that is at a walking distance from all major places and if possible to the train / bus station. This will save you a lot in terms of local travel expenses. If you drive then you can rent a car and drive all around. If you are relying on local transportation then check all the local city travel cards and offers.
4) Head to a good bookstore and buy a local guide-book that caters to budget travel or you can scan the internet. Many places in Europe allow visitors to visit museums etc free (without a ticket) on certain days. Check on these days and visit these places then.
5) Students normally have discounts across all tickets – for travel, museums, some taxes etc. Hence be sure to check on this in advance and carry your student id cards with you.
So, try my budget way, get out of your comfort zone and be ready to GET SET and GO.