As it turns out, that trip to Paris you’ve always dreamed of doesn’t have to break the bank.
Let’s face it, traveling can be expensive. What with overpriced flights, hotels that nickel-and-dime us with hidden fees, and tourist-trap restaurants that’ll happily overcharge us for a plate of pasta, it’s easy to want to shy away from a journey to a foreign land altogether.
But wait, there’s good news! Traveling on the cheap, while requiring just a little more time, research, and effort, isn’t a hopeless goal - and we don’t even have to sacrifice much. Here are five tips to help ensure your next excursion is not only one for the books, but entirely wallet-friendly:
1. Set a strict budget for yourself.
Without a clear idea of how much we want to spend, it’s easy to let credit card charges add up without even noticing — especially when prices are already sky-high. By giving ourselves a firm budget to stick to, we’re more likely to eliminate extra spending and figure out what’s actually worth spending our hard-earned money on.
2. Take your trip in the off-season.
Traveling in the middle of summer may be tempting, but it’s also what literally everyone else is doing. Instead, booking a trip in January, February, or October is far cheaper in general than any time during the summer, the holidays, or spring break. And by using sites like Kayak or Momondo (which offer all kinds of deals and show price trends), we’re bound to get the best deal out there.
Booking a trip in January, February, or October is far cheaper in general than any time during the summer, the holidays, or spring break.
3. Get creative with accommodations.
While the idea of staying in a cute boutique hotel in the heart of the city is an attractive one, this is an opportunity to save some big chunks of change. Airbnb is worth checking out, but don’t stop there. Youth hostels can be a lifesaver, and the good news is that they also have private rooms! Additionally, if you live in a city that’s popular with tourists and you don’t mind letting someone stay in your house, HomeExchange, a site that allows users to swap houses with other travelers, might be worth looking into.
4. Only pack a carry-on.
This one’s particularly hard for us ladies; trust me, it’s taken years to perfect. It’s normal to fall into the trap of over-packing as we try to anticipate anything and everything that might come up during a vacation. But in all honesty, recycling outfits is worth the money we’ll save by not having to check a bag. This means packing three tops, one jacket, one pair of jeans, and one pair of shoes, some of which we’d already be wearing on the plane. This way, we’ll still have room to bring back a few souvenirs!
Recycling outfits is worth the money we’ll save by not having to check a bag.
5. Eat like a local.
One of the best parts of the whole experience of traveling to a far-off land is the food, right? But unfortunately, eating out every single night will add up quickly—which is where local farmer’s markets, family-owned grocery stores, and (if possible) cooking wherever we’re staying can come in handy. And there’s no better way to embrace the culture than to eat whatever the locals are eating!
Traveling will inevitably present us with expenses, but that shouldn’t always hold us back—especially since saving while traveling is totally plausible. So if we have the funds and are able to put in the time to research the best prices, I’d say it’s time to take that trip to Greece! After all, there’s no time like the present.
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