Who doesn’t love going on vacation? Whether you’re a student trying to find someone you can pay to write your essay before break or an adult trudging through the 9-5 workday, vacations are essential to our happiness. Plus, the thought of getting to wake up somewhere new is always exciting. However, we all know how expensive traveling can be. What can you do when you essentially have no money?
Here’s a quick guide to traveling on a budget – you’ll be surprised at how easy it it to travel quite cheaply. It just takes a little bit of planning. I highly recommend reading through blogs (Pinterest is my best friend), being flexible, and being prepared ahead of time.
The key to budget travel is to know what you want to do before you step foot in your new destination. This will help you relax and enjoy your trip. You won’t have to worry about money. Instead you can fully immerse yourself wherever you are.
Here’s my quick guide to traveling on a budget:
- Chase Free or Cheap Flights. Instead of choosing a destination first, let your flight choose for you. Simply go to one of the many flight sites, type in your current destination and set it to anywhere. Look through your options and choose whichever sounds the most appealing and is the least expensive! If you’re credit card savvy, you can build up points as well and essentially fly for free.
- Cook your meals. The best thing to save money on is eating out. See if your accommodation has a kitchen area where you can buy some groceries and cook for yourself. Bonus if that place has a big breakfast! Splurge a little, though, and schedule 1-2 meals at restaurants so you can taste the local cuisine. Sometimes your host may know of some hidden gems or great deals.
- Stay in dorms. Try to stay in dorms or hostels. These are incredibly cheap and sometimes they’re nicer than nearby hotels! You can also connect with other travelers. Think about how often you’re going to want to hang out in bed. Is it really worth spending a small fortune on fancy hotel rooms if you’re hardly going to be in them? Or…
- Couch surf. If you want to pay no money for accommodation, check out Couchsurfing! It’s an awesome service that not only gets you a free couch or bed; it connects you with a local. While it’s definitely not the most luxurious offering, free is free, and you can make some great friends out of it. Heck, if you’re staying with a friendly local, you can buy some groceries together and introduce each other to your favorite foods.
- Rail Passes. Sometimes flying isn’t always the best answer, and rail passes are actually cheaper. Plus they let you see more of the countryside. Sometimes it can be as little as half of a flight ticket!
- BONUS: If you have a particularly long vacation, trying looking into working or volunteering overseas. Maybe you can stay on a farm and help out for the few weeks you have. Even longer you can look into small gigs you can do while abroad. This way you’re not only interacting with the locals and seeing new sights, you’re earning some pocket cash as well.
Vacations are some of the best memories you can make, and they don’t have to put a huge dent in your funds. It’s quite easy to travel on a budget and still have an amazing experience. Just prepare yourself before you leave and have a game plan. Look for the deals, be open about what you want to try, and get ready to explore!