“Budget Travel” is quickly gaining popularity across the world. Millennials in particular are eager to put aside things in exchange for experiences. For the past 5 years I’ve taken budget travel to heart, and want you to reap the benefits too with this Beginner’s Guide to Budget Travel.
WHAT IS BUDGET TRAVEL?
Budget travel is essentially giving up certain comforts or time to pay less for services or experiences. You can pay $500 for a flight in regular economy on a British Airways flight or $50 on a budget airline like EasyJet to be uncomfortable for an hour and a half flight (no exaggeration).
WHY BUDGET TRAVEL?
Traveling on a budget lets you go farther for less. On an average trip, I spend $500. If I wanted to go to a nice hotel, that would easily be doubled or tripled. But then I lose my opportunity to see other countries and new cities. As your high school economics teacher might’ve taught you - there is an opportunity cost to everything.
Although everyone should travel on a budget, budget travel is specifically about keeping costs low and still allowing yourself to enjoy everything a new place has to offer. Currently, social media influencers often are selling glamorous shots from five star hotels and private tours that often create unrealistic expectations for what it means to travel on a budget.
BEST PLACES TO BUDGET TRAVEL
Southeast Asia and Europe are two of the regions most friendly to budget travelers. The distance to cross borders is minimal, visa restrictions are minor, and there are a variety of transportation and accommodation options. These regions are also most friendly to those with dietary restrictions (including gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc)!
THE 5 BEGINNER TIPS
- Spend time comparing purchase prices and options before buying! Some of the best apps and websites for this include:
- Omio & Trainline EU (Europe)
- Hopper (flights)
- Google flights (use a private web browser to prevent flight prices from jumping on you due to cookies)
- Websites like Trivago, Expedia, Booking.com
- Travel Light - Travelling minimally has been critical for my success with saving money - particularly with budget airlines. Check out my Minimalist Travel Packing Guide for more info on how to do this!
- Eat food from grocery stores. Something as simple as buying your snacks and breakfast food from local grocery stores can save you big money. A lot of hostels, hotels, and Airbnbs have microwaves and/or tea kettles so you can have oatmeal or cereal. Pair this with some fresh fruit and a hot beverage, and you'll be fueled for a morning of exploring!
- Make an itinerary because TIME IS MONEY. Know where you want to go and when. Then, double check that those locations and activities are open the days you want to visit!
BONUS: If you’re traveling to a major city, invest in a tourist pass like the Paris or London Pass from Leisure Pass Group. If planned well, they can save you hundreds of dollars on admission tickets (and public transportation!). Currently, you can get extra savings on both of these passes if you use code JAN2020!
- Read a quick info guide about your destination’s public transportation. Some places have great bus, train, and tram systems. You can save big money each day if you purchase the right ticket(s) or passes. If you’re in the countryside, consider the cost of a rental car versus the occasional taxi or bus ride and walking to get you places.
Obviously this is not a complete list of every way to save money on a trip. However, if you’re a beginner at traveling or budget travel specifically, this is a good place to start!
Want More Detailed Tips?
If you want more in-depth guides, check out my Frugal Travel Tips Series. I go in-depth on ways to save money with transportation, food, lodging, and tourism attractions.
As always, if you have any questions about best methods or the specific location you’re traveling to, please feel free to comment below or leave me a note through my contact form!