Traveling on a budget is a skill.
It’s something you acquire when you’ve done it so many times, and made way too many mistakes.
And sometimes, they’re mistakes you make more than once because it’s a travel day, and travel days are stressful. 😂
But, after having been a full-time traveler for awhile, I decided to share some of my best pieces of advice for traveling on a budget.
You can actually avoid all of the mistakes I’ve made, and know all of the cool hacks I’ve learned, without having to travel full-time yourself!
Oh, and if you have any budget travel tips yourself, then let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear about them!
1. Pick a Location in the Opposite Hemisphere
When it’s summer for those in the northern hemisphere, it’s winter for those in the southern hemisphere, and vice versa.
And as someone who primarily lives in the northern hemisphere, I’ve found that there are so many beautiful locations to visit in the southern hemisphere, with great weather, when it’s hot and uncomfortable where I live.
Also, it’s cheaper, but I’ll explain more.
Last year, I traveled to Mauritius, a country in the southern hemisphere, during their winter and off season.
It’s a tropical island with beautiful beaches and their winters are perfect! Weather in the 70’s for many days, and there are cheaper prices because it’s their off season.
So if you’re looking for a destination that isn’t hot and muggy, and you also want to save money by visiting their country during their off season, then finding a location in the southern hemisphere (or northern depending on your location) might just work for you.
Side Note: Traveling to a country in the opposite hemisphere isn’t always budget-friendly. But if you’re flexible about your time, then you can find flights that have a pretty good price!
2. Plan Your Outings Before You Arrive
So many times, people will head to a location, but have no plans for what they want to do.
They’ll gather a whole bunch of brochures in the lobby of the hotel, and then pick whatever works for them.
But planning the activities you want to do ahead can give you some great deals you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
3. Use Couchsurfer.net
I know this one sounds questionable, but it was how my husband and I had an incredible time in Paris.
We could have stayed in a hotel or Airbnb, but we had heard about the site, Couchsurfer, where people who want to meet travelers, will open up their home for free. So we decided to give it a try.
Now you could sleep on their couch, but our experience has only ever been sleeping in the guest bedroom.
And I’m so glad we took this option.
We met a very kind person who opened up his place to us, took us out for a great meal, and showed us some beautiful locations in Paris.
It might take a bit of work to find the right person, and you might need to send out a good number of requests, but when you do get the right person, it can be an awesome experience!
4. Plan Your Restaurant Eating
I think one of the main costs of travel, that a lot of people might not think about, are restaurant experiences.
So if you want to be a bit careful about how much you’re spending on food while traveling, then are some steps you can take to save money:
- Step 1: Plan out the restaurants you’ll want to visit, near and far away from your accommodations. Figure out how many times you’ll want to eat at those locations.
- Step 2: Once you have your restaurant dining planned out, look up the local grocery stores and markets near your hotel or Airbnb. Do they have tasty pre-made meals, or simple delicious ingredients that can be quickly whipped up into a meal?
- Step 3: If you decide to do step 2, then meal plan easy meals you can make that would be satisfying. Think sandwiches or salads, paired with tasty snacks and drinks local to the destination your visiting. Also, take into consideration the local dishes and ingredients, are there simple quick meals you could make with them that would taste great?
- Step 4: For the meals that aren’t going to be special outings, if you choose not to go with step 2 and 3, then figure out where the locals are eating for lunch. These are going to be dining spaces that aren’t very expensive because people need a quick and cheap meal during their lunch break. And lot of the time, you’re gonna get some great dishes at places like this!
5. Limit Yourself to a Carry-On
I know this one might seem hard, but I promise you, you can do it!
After having traveled full-time for almost 7 years, I have found that it was never worth it to over pack things I knew I would probably never wear, or wear just once.
It’s so easy to say, “Well, I just like having variety!” Or, “You never know, I might need this!” Those are the items you leave behind.
If you’re 99% sure that those outfits or gear won’t be used, then leave it behind.
Not only is this going to save you money, but it will get rid of extra travel stress as well!