We often associate keeping costs down with sacrifice. We think that to spend less means to get less. But this is not always the case. Some of the ways in which you can keep costs down when traveling can actually lead to more wholesome and immersive experiences.
The key is to be able to keep your costs down so that you can do more of what you like, or stay on the road for longer. It’s a classic discussion, but in this article we want to show you how to keep costs down without assuming you want to stay in a two-man tent on the moors.
Be Flexible With Travel Times
If you’re planning a long term trip, it doesn’t take much effort to be flexible, and you can save literally hundreds by flying on certain dates.
Download the SkyScanner app, and scan for the cheapest dates.
And be prepared to fly at off-peak times. Travelling throughout low season will not only save you money on flights, but will mean you avoid the tourist crowds, and can have a more immersive, local experience.
This also applies to local travel within the country. There might be off-peak train and bus times to be aware of, which can save pennies without really affecting your experience overall.
Volunteer For Bed and Board
Here’s where you have the opportunity to try something new while saving your pennies. Ditch the hotel, ditch even the hostel bunk-bed, and take a look at some openings for volunteer programs.
There are different ways to go about this without paying for programs. Arriving in the country and looking for ways to help locals or further a humanitarian cause is never a bad idea.
You could also try out volunteering on organic farms or homesteads, as in Wwoofing or Workaway. Both offer bed, food and good company, in exchange for a few hours honest work per day. Not only is this inexpensive (sometimes free), but it is also an awesome way to experience local life, and to give back to local communities.
Choose Activities Wisely
Cash on the road works a lot like cash at home. It only disappears when you spend it. If you can afford your travel costs, and have your accommodation and food taken care of, the rest of your budget is likely to be spent on activities of some kind, be it hanging out at beach bars, or touring famous museums.
If you want to keep your travel costs down, choose your activities wisely. Hiking can cost next to nothing. Anything in nature requires no more spending than the occasional refreshment.
If you prefer the city life, why not reserve your spending for the iconic landmarks that you really want to see? Sighseeing is free.
Residents of popular tourist destinations tend to live for cheaper than travelers. One of the key ways you can save money then, and also enrich your travelling experience, is to aim to live like a local.
Ask people you meet along the way about their life, and try to eat and shop locally. Go out to local nights. This can be a really fun way to travel, and also benefits the local economy more directly.
The Sharing Economy
Anyone who has done a lot of travelling will start to understand that people in the world are generally pretty helpful. There are a lot of options for the open-minded adventurer who is willing to welcome the gesture of a kind stranger, or to connect with others using one of many social apps.
For example, you can try out bla-bla cars for lift sharing, couchsurfing for accommodation, and EatWith for meals. If you feel safe in the country that you are in you could always try hitchhiking too – another great way to get around and meet people.
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