Gone do the days when traveling cheap means have to sacrifice on quality. With the stiff competition among airlines, agencies, resorts or hotels, there are more equally great options available for avid and budget conscious travelers like us.
To make the most out of your budget travel, here are 5 tips for you:
a) Save up
Don’t be fooled by those ads that say “USD 500 all-in Asian package tour!” and limit your savings to this. More often than not, that “all-in” still has a fine print which excludes taxes. Or it may only include a one-way airfare ticket. Or a shady hotel accommodation.
And when you’re at your destination, have extra cash with you too. You may have money for food and transportation but what about that nice little hat you suddenly want to buy? Or suddenly find yourself lost somewhere where ATM’s and major banks are unheard of? Ensure you save up extra cash to prepare for all these additional and unexpected costs.
b) Consider the season
I’m not just talking about the low or peak season in traveling when you can save more. I’m also talking about noting the season and weather conditions of your destination. This is especially if you’re going somewhere with different climate situations than where you live. You don’t want to end up arriving Toronto in January without a sweater or jacket and force yourself to spend more than you need to.
c) Reserve online
These days, it can be much cheaper to book online than having to go through an agency or the physical office of your airline or hotel. Makes sense since tour operators can save more on manpower or middlemen to process your itinerary. Just ensure that the site where you book has a credible track record, secure mode of payment and reliable contact information.
d) Go local
When on a vacation, it’s tempting to splurge and give yourself some pampering on luxurious sites, hotels or restaurants. But often, it’s much more appropriate to be doing what the locals do, going where they go and eating what they eat. Not only will you most likely be able to save more, you can also experience the authentic culture and lifestyle of the locals—making your travel experience more real and profound.
e) Save gift shopping on the last day
Sometimes, we just want to get over the task of buying souvenirs and gifts to bring home at once so we tend to do this upon arrival or few days after. But you may end up spending more than if you allow yourself some time to explore different spots which may be offering the same souvenir items for a different price. This will also give you more bargaining power with the sellers. Doing your gift shopping towards your last day isn’t just a smart move to save money. It also keeps gift items like perishable delicacies fresher.
Lastly, because of the enormous wealth of information online, you no longer have to limit yourself on marketing ads and official websites of tour operators for your options.
You now have forums, travel review sites like Trip Advisor, blogs and social media armed with honest opinions and authentic photos to help you create a cheap but smart travel experience.