Many people choose to travel on days they already have off, such as Christmas, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Spring break. This is not a bad strategy because you can save vacation days, although there is also a downside: most travelers have a similar plan. This means that train stations are busy, airlines and hotels are booked and everything is more expensive. If you want to budget travel, consider spending the holidays at home with your family and travel in periods when crowds are thinner. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive if your are flexible and plan ahead, because you can reduce transportation, lodging and food costs.
If you plan in advance and visit discount websites, you can significantly save on air travel. Most of the time one-way tickets are more expensive then round-trip tickets, so if you like to budget travel, book a round-trip flight about two months before your vacation. Connecting flights can also save you a good chunk of money and if you don’t change planes right away you can even visit another country. Who knows plant beautiful places to visit you might discover while waiting for your next flight. Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive travel days, so consider booking the flight on less popular days of the week. If you are going by car, chose the most fuel-efficient model and use cruise control. Ask your friends to come along so you can share the costs and the excitement.
Usually people who prefer to budget travel spend the most on lodging, especially if they are visiting more than one location. Camping is the cheapest way to go, but if you are not much of a nature lover, there are other inexpensive options available. Couch surfing is a growing online community formed by members who offer a free couch in their homes to travelers. This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the region and meet locals. This way you will also get insight information on the best places to visit and you might also make some new friends. Sharing a cabin, house, or renting a condo with a group of friends is also a great way to cut costs. Furthermore, most of them have kitchens where you can prepare inexpensive home-cooked meals. Hostels are another budget travel option and some even allow you to work for your stay.
Eating all the meals in a restaurant can be quite expensive if you plan to budget travel. As an alternative, you can have a picnic in a local park or even the hotel room, with ingredients picked up from local markets. Moreover, authentic local restaurants serve food at a reasonable price. Ask the workers at the places you stay for the best places. If you have a free breakfast included in the price you pay for the room, ask if you can take some light snacks for later.
Once you reach your destination, always use public transportation. Buses and subways are efficient, inexpensive and usually have discounts for weekly plans. If you want to meet fellow travelers and save on transportation, share a private buss and tour guide with a larger group. Larger groups also get discounts on entry fees. If you want to save on sightseeing and you are a teacher, youth or student, pick up an international identity card from student travel agencies. Furthermore, many museums have free tours on certain days. Everyone wants to buy souvenirs for their loved ones, but instead of purchasing knickknacks, choose a nice postcard or photograph.