You’re working hard, you’re saving and paying off your debts- maybe it’s time for a holiday. A bit of sun, some new horizons, an opportunity for time with your loved ones free of the everyday niggles and anxieties. A chance to sit by the waterside and re-read War and Peace, or catch up on the gossip mags. But is it possible to take a trip without totally throwing all your savings into jeopardy?
Travel is an expense. There’s no way you can save money by travelling. That said, it is also a wonderful experience, and worth investing some of your savings in if it appeals to you. There are two approaches to travelling- it can be done ad hoc and without much thought, which might cost you more money than you were anticipating. Or you can do your research, think it through and exercise a bit of frugality, and you might be able to stay longer or come back sooner because you’ve done it cheaply.
Here are some tips from readers of Yahoo! Travel on how to do it cheaply, and in style.
Before you go on your travels
Convert your money
Print out money conversion charts before you head overseas, as anyone for whom maths was a long time ago will understand, it’s not easy to do conversions on the spot. That way you know how much you are spending and can avoid accidentally spending a lot of money on more expensive items or meals.
Blogosphere – Read up about traveling and its costs
While websites are great, nothing is more up-to-date than the blogosphere. Threads on the Lonely Planet are always good for finding out the latest cheap deal, and reading the reviews on sites like Hostelworld.com will reveal pretty quickly whether it’s a rip off or a great deal.
Deposit before hand to be organsed
Pay for some things before you go, and others while you’re in the area. For instance, some things, like big tours would be better arranged from Australia. Other things, like some accommodation, local eateries and local tours, might be cheaper once you’re there and can ask around.
Get insured – travel insurance is vital!
I don’t care what people say, I have always ended up getting my money back on my travel insurance and I haven’t even managed to injure myself yet. It’s not worth the risk you’ll have to pay for treatment in an American hospital. Get insured, and you’re making a smart money decision.
Once you’re there…
Ask other travelers about the best spots, ask for a discount if you’ve got a concession or pension card, ask locals where the best place to eat is (it’ll often end up being the cheapest).
Public transport may seem hazardous, depending where you’re travelling, but it’ll be unbelievably cheap compared to the costs of more luxurious transport. Think about using public transport as much as possible. Or walk, the cheapest from of transport of all.
You’re in the most beautiful place- that doesn’t mean you need to eat in the most expensive restaurant because of it. Pack yourself a lunch, and sit in a Parisian park,, or on the shores of a Slovenian lake. You’ll look a lot more like a local that way.
It can be tempting to buy all those ‘unique’ handicrafts that people sell you throughout the tourist traps, but they’re likely to be more expensive and less well made. Walk through the back streets, and look at the little stalls there. Visit small markets. You’ll get a better deal from it.
What are your cheap travel tips?
Why not have a look at our budget planner especially made for people looking to save money quickly?