I often get asked how I can afford to travel so much, both locally and internationally. I’m 25 now and I’m lucky to have travelled since I was a kid. I’ve lived in 5 different countries (mostly to collect little pieces of paper I call my degrees), so I’ve picked up a bunch of tips and tricks along the way. Regardless of if you prefer luxury or budget travelling, there is plenty you can do to plan your next vacay on a budget!
1. Travel Out Of Season!
Honestly, tip numero uno definitely has to be the fact that you should always try and travel outside of school holidays (December-January/June-August) or various festival days like Christmas. Airlines, Travel Agencies & Hotels often hike up their prices to take advantage of families traveling during school holidays or around the holiday period. It’s easier to travel just before or just after ‘peak season’. Do your research. In most countries, the sun will still be shining!
When it’s not peak season, airlines and hotels drastically lower their rates to attract customers during this time. When I lived in Malaysia, I visited Sri Lanka or Sam visited me in Kuala Lumpur at least once every two months, because return tickets during off-peak seasons were literally 12,000LKR ($64) return on budget airline AirAsia (more on budget airlines later!)
Even within Sri Lanka, it’s always cheaper (and in my opinion quieter and calmer) to travel to areas in the off-season. If you’ve read my blog post about Habarana, I reveal to you how I travel for discounted rates to 5-star hotels on the island. Hotels in ‘off-season’ areas are much cheaper depending on what time of year it is!
2. Don’t stress about your Accommodation!
Personally, when I travel abroad, my accommodation is only needed for a shower and to sleep because I prefer to be out and about the whole time. However, I know many people prefer to relax at their hotels during their holidays as well. So where’s the balance?
Book your hotels on Bed & Breakfast Basis (Or room only, if you like a good lie in!) Usually, booking full or half board stays in a hotel gets very expensive! You can almost halve your booking costs by booking on BB basis. Besides, I always use the chance to head out and try out the local cuisine and restaurants when I’m traveling. Eating 2-3 big hotel-style buffet meals just makes me lazy and always leaves me wanting to sleep all day! Eating out will definitely be cheaper and you have so much more to choose from. TripAdvisor is always your best friend when it comes to finding new local spots! TripAdvisor is listed on my list of must-have travel apps, which you can read here. However, don’t eat away your budget either! It’s easy to get caught up by fancy restaurants, and by all means, treat yourself! (However, trust me, you’re going to find the best-tasting food at the street markets, corner shops, or even food courts. Also, your wallet and your waistline will thank you if you order water instead of beers and cocktails at every meal!)
–AirBnB is always an option too! Regardless of if you’re travelling in a group or as a couple or with your bestie, you can save a whole bunch of money by booking apartments or homes through AirBnB! I’ve done this 3-4 times and split the costs between the group I was travelling with. Often, this brings down the price by about $50 when compared to staying in a hotel. Again, always check out reviews and host ratings before you book, but I can say I’ve only had pleasant experiences with Airbnb.
3. Do your research
Check out which attractions are FREE or offer student discounts, or holiday/group deals. Many large cities have museums, art galleries, experience centers, and even theme parks you can visit for free or for much cheaper than normal rates. In London, for example, there are over 26 Museums, including the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery which you can visit for free.
4. Make a checklist,
make another checklist, and then check them 3 times to make sure you have everything you need when traveling. I am horribly guilty of always forgetting something when I travel, may it be power banks, phone chargers, sunscreen, swimsuits.. you name it! I then go and spend a stupid amount of money at my destination unnecessarily, and it easily leaves quite a dent in my wallet.
5. Don’t be afraid of budget airlines!
Honestly, it’s nuts how many times I’ve heard of people purchasing a more expensive ticket because the budget airline was ‘too risky’ or ‘didn’t serve food’. If you’re travelling within Europe, or Asia (not long distance) I would always recommend checking out prices on budget airlines like AirAsia and RyanAir. Budget airlines usually don’t serve warm food on their flights (and yes, they have overpriced snacks) but you can always have a meal at the airport before your flight. In fact, it’s one of my favourite things to do! You can also pack your own from home if you want to save the extra $$)
P.S: Budget airline pilots go through the same vigorous training and have the same safety standards in place as ‘normal’ airlines and national carriers. They come under the same international airline governing bodies so there is no reason to believe they are less safe than traditional airlines.
6. Embrace public transport!
Taxis, Ubers & local ride hire apps are expensive and are always going to eat into your budget! Check out train & bus connections and also look into getting metro or bus passes which allow you to travel for cheap for 24hours in certain zones. These are especially common in European Cities but I’ve also seen them in Malaysia and Singapore!
7.Last but not least, this may sound terrible to spontaneous people like me but.. Plan Ahead.
Everything is cheaper when you do, and also places that you might like to visit or stay at won’t be fully booked. Locally, it’s pretty easy to travel cheap at the last minute, however when you want to go abroad, plane tickets will be cheapest about 3-4 months in advance and so will hotels. This will save you so much time and money, giving you plenty of time to plan your itinerary and budget ahead of time.
If you haven’t read it yet, as mentioned above, I also have a blog post about my must-have travel apps that make traveling locally and abroad so much easier. Let me know what you think! Please leave any more tips that you have in the comments too, I love reading your feedback and additional travel tips!