Traveling opens your eyes to new ways of living and cultures that you might never otherwise encounter. But, as exciting as it is, crossing the globe can also put quite a dent in your budget. How can you limit your expenses when you get that wanderlust itch?
Take a note from these do’s and don’ts to succeed at traveling on a budget:
DO: Take the Road Less Traveled
When a place becomes a tourist magnet, it also becomes a magnet for higher prices and expensive stores. Everything from your lunch to your guide service to a taxi will cost you much more in the popular areas than if you stick to local places.
Venture off the beaten path with companies like YPT to find more local flavor in the people and the food, and more authenticity in your explorations. That way, you’ll get to really experience the place you’re visiting, not just the usual sights.
DON’T: Forget About Visa Costs
Some foreign countries may not require a specific visa for your short-term visit, but others will charge you an entrance fee in the form of a visa. Do your research and approach your travels like a boy scout: always prepared. A last-minute visa fee can thoroughly wreck your well-planned budget, or worse, keep you from traveling at all.
DO: Avoid Peak Travel Seasons
Peak travel seasons vary depending on location: Caribbean locations tend to peak in the winter as vacationers flee south, and cooler locations might see more tourism in the summer and fall.
Even if you’re avoiding high-traffic areas, popular travel seasons will make your overall trip more expensive, from transportation and lodging to excursions and more. Once you’ve planned your timing just right, don’t forget to search for travel coupons to find the best prices on flights and hotels. You may be able to score an even better deal than you hoped.
DON’T: Bring Everything You Own
World travels are complicated enough without having to worry about lost luggage or bag storage. Save yourself some unnecessary anxiety by packing only what you truly need, in as small and light of a bag as possible. If you can carry your bag on the plane, you won’t have to pay to check it.
If you struggle with overpacking, remember that in most situations, if you forget something, you can always purchase it at your final destination. Plus, you’ll want to leave yourself room to bring home mementos from your trip.
DO: Be Flexible
Traveling to faraway and foreign lands can be an emotional landmine. Even the best laid plans can go awry—you might miss a connecting flight or train, your lodging plans may fall through, you may arrive to find things are nothing like you expected.
Give yourself enough wiggle room in your travel budget for unplanned events, and prepare to be flexible. It will be worth it.
DON’T: Be Afraid to Walk
The best way to see a city—or a country—is to get out there on the streets and experience it. (Note: for endless stretches of countryside, a rental car might prove a worthy investment.) By walking, you can truly absorb all the sights and sounds and smells of a new place. You’ll get your daily exercise in, and walking is free… aka much cheaper than a taxi, no matter where you are.
On foot, you’ll discover those hidden streets and secret shops that make a city begin to feel like yours, and those are memories you can savor long after you return home.