Tuesday’s Tips: Budget Travel

On this Tuesday, I want to talk about one of my favorite topics.  That is how to travel… with little money.  Traveling around with my camera is one of my passions, but since I don’t have a job that pays for me to do that all the time, I’ve learned how to do it as cheaply as possible.

1. Be Flexible

I have a list of places that I want to go to…someday.  However, I don’t have a list of places to go next.  I do this because I never know what opportunity will come up.

One thing I do to find great adventures is watch air fair sites that show you deals on flights to anywhere.  I live in southern Utah, so I have alerts set up with Airfairwatchdog.com for cheap flights out of Las Vegas or Salt Lake City to anywhere.  Then I just wait till I find a cheap flight, and there’s my adventure.  Vegas to Costa Rica round trip for $350? Yes Please!  Note that some of these deals are cheap because they are “last minuet”.

The other thing I like to do is look for tickets to places I want to go to in their non tourist season, or our non tourist season.  For example, if you can travel in August/September you’ll probable find great deals of flights/trains and etc.  This is because most people are getting back from their summer vacations, starting school, etc.  So airlines are trying to get people to fly by lowering costs. Winter is also a good time to fly for less.

P.S.  This is the most expensive part of a “budget adventure”.

2. Accommodation

In most places around the world and in the USA, decent hostels can be found for 10-20$ usd a night (or cheaper!).  Most hostels aren’t as sketchy as many people think.  I use Hostels.com to find and book affordable rooms.  This trusted website also has ratings and reviews for all the different hostels in town.  Most of them also have the option to choose rooms with only girls, fewer people, nicer rooms, etc.   Most also have a community kitchen that you can cook in.

The other option to consider you’re an outdoorsy kind of person is to camp.  If you’re with a group of people sharing a campsite can be super cheap.  Many countries also don’t mind if you just find a spot in the woods and set up camp, as long as your not in the way, or disturbing normal life.  In the USA however, this sort of camping is somewhat tricky, you can camp for free, but check with the state laws about camping before you go out and set up.

3. Food

This is something that can be done on an extreme budget or not.  First, find out where the local eat, and where they shop for groceries.  These places are likely to be decently inexpensive.  You can buy food that you can cook in your hostel kitchen, and if you’re really tight on cash, you can buy fruit and top ramen for less than $3 a day!  PB&J is another great and inexpensive option.

4. Pack Light

I do this because often when you find the cheapest flights, checked bags are not included.  So pack your basic necessities in a carry on bag or backpack to avoid paying the extra fee for a checked bag.  Packing light also helps with moving around, and gives you a sense a freedom.  I once took a 35L backpack to Europe as my only bag for two weeks.  It’s tight, but manageable.

5. Get Off the Beaten Path

Most often the most expensive areas are where most people go.  Think downtown New York, London, Honolulu, etc.  Business make money from tourists, so if you can get to the country side or to places that aren’t so touristy you’ll save a lot of money.

Also, there is the currency exchange to think about.  In many countries, the US dollar will go further than others.  Some great budget travel countries are: Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica.  Countries to avoid if you’re on a budget: Iceland, Norway, and Australia.  You can adventure on a budget in these countries, it’s just harder.

 

There you have it.  My tips for how to travel on a budget.  There are certainly more way to do it, and ways to even travel cheaper.  But in general, use this as a guideline for an inexpensive major adventure.

 

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