Thankfully, there are plenty of ways in which you can travel on a budget, reduce the amount you have to save up and make that dream trip a little bit more affordable.
How to Travel On a Budget
1. Shop Around Before You Ship Out
Flights will almost always be the most expensive component of your holiday, so it pays to shop around. Skyscanner trawls hundreds of airline and ticketing sites to get the best prices for each route and date, and you can easily filter results by departure times, flight duration, airline, and number of stops.
Save money by taking an indirect flight or by flying out and back with different airlines. Skyscanner lets you view all these options and book them online with no commission.
2. Swap Your Home and Save
Hotel costs are another major expenditure. A great way to save money and travel on a budget is by house swapping or house sitting for someone in your desired destination.
You might be expected to water the plants or feed the cat, but this is a small price to pay to be able to stay for free. House swaps and house sitting can often be arranged through friends of friends, but there are also designated sites which will match you with suitable houses in the place you want to visit.
Couchsurfing has been around for years, and it’s a fantastic way not only to save on your accommodation costs but also to meet local people.
And you might not even have to sleep on the couch: many of the hosts actually have a spare room, a sofa bed, or a futon where you can rest your head.
Couchsurfers are also encouraged to host guests in their own home when they aren’t travelling, so you not only travel on a budget but also giving something back to the couchsurfing community.
4. Be a Loyal Globe-Trotter
Another great way to travel on a budget is to become be a loyal globe-trotter. It’s far more cost-effective for companies to get repeat business from existing customers than to find new ones, and they pass on some of the savings to you through loyalty scheme discounts.
The OneWorld and Star Alliance airline groups both have well-run loyalty schemes for frequent fliers, and status members often save on charges for checked baggage, priority check-in, seat reservations, and queue-jump in addition to being able to use their points for flights.
5. Turn Miles into Money
Quite a few credit cards, including the British Airways American Express card, offer new customers benefits, including air miles and companion vouchers for flights.
If you regularly use a credit card (and, of course, pay it off each month), this can be an effortless way to travel on a budget, rack up free flights and thus help you save money travelling.
An added bonus is that all the payments you make are insured by the card company, so if your credit card is stolen, or a hotel double-charges you, you will be protected.
6. Travel in Twos
Lone travellers are often charged more, particularly by hotels. Save money and travel on a budget by travelling with a friend. Book a twin room and split the cost between you.
7. See the Sights for Free
In recent years there has been a boom in free sightseeing tours, often organised by local tourist offices. Led by local volunteers, and usually on foot, free tours are a fantastic way to get your bearings and learn something about the place you are visiting.
Many tours have a theme — anything from history and architecture to street food and pop culture — and you’ll meet other tourists with similar interests on the on the way.
8. Feed Yourself
Eating out every day when you’re on holiday quickly becomes expensive, even if you only eat in cheap cafes.
You can save money travelling by shopping for food in a supermarket, at least some of the time. Save money on breakfast and lunch by picking up pastries and fruit juice and something for a picnic later on when you are out and about at lunchtime. This way you can cut holiday food costs, even if you don’t have a kitchen.
Travelling doesn’t need to break the bank. If you plan ahead, save up and budget carefully, holidays can be fun and cheap. Enjoy your trip!