Everyone wants to travel. We want to explore the world. We want to experience the beauty of nature and the many cultures of mankind with our own eyes. We want to spend our nights camping near a waterfall and observing the starry night sky. We want to walk through the streets of Tokyo, Florence, Amsterdam, and countless other beautiful cities across the world. But then, just with all of the dreams our young minds cook up, we realize we can’t just travel at our will anywhere. We need money, in most cases, quite a bit of money, to live such a lifestyle, to be able to travel freely whenever we want.
But don’t give up on your travel dreams yet! While it’s true that generally, you require significant money to travel at will, our modern lifestyle also allows us to be smart and travel on a budget, saving money and still living our dream lifestyle. Most of us cannot just make a lot of money to travel freely, and so our only realistic options are being smarter and making the best use of our money to travel on a budget.
Before you implore your desires, make a detailed budget plan so that the rest of your planning process goes smoothly without any hitches. A good travel budget plan leaves room for adjustments because our plans do not always go down as we intend them. There are always unseen variables.
Do your research, ask yourself how you are going to travel to and from the destination, travel locally, where you will stay, your food, activities you will engage in, etc
This goes without saying. Savings happens through tough compromises. The only way to travel on a budget is by dialing down all the luxuries you might usually enjoy, and to put up with any discomfort you might experience with that. This means booking cheaper flights, with fewer or none of the amenities that you might usually enjoy.
One hack we have come across that might come in handy is understanding how airline companies shift their prices based on dates, events, destinations, etc. Understanding this will help you budget your trips much better. For example, a flight directly to your destination might be more expensive, but perhaps a flight to a close-by separate destination is cheaper, and once you land there, you can travel locally at a cheaper price. Avoid holiday seasons when everyone is likely going to travel, which increases the demand and the costs of travel. Some airlines also allow you to change the date of your flight at no extra cost, so it might be possible to book your flight on a different date when it’s cheaper and change the date to your desired one at no extra fees.
We live in a discounted world. Credit Card companies love to provide their consumers with rewards points to encourage them to utilize credit cards more. If you know what you are doing, you can take full advantage of your credit card with zero cost to you. This can allow you to earn sufficient rewards that you can redeem to cut down on your travel costs, get free upgrades, and more. Check out all the benefits your card offers and research on which cards offer the best rewards system that can work towards your travel goals.
The tourism industry is a big source of revenue for many countries. And that’s because, tourists have the usual psychology of treating their trips as luxurious holidays to give themselves and their friends and family a break from their routine lives, to spend more, do things they usually do not do. And that’s fine. But when you are traveling on budget and traveling is a genuine passion of yours that you engage in routinely, you cannot afford to live the lifestyle of a tourist. You have to adopt the lifestyle of the locals whenever you are heading. Think and behave like the locals of the place you are going to, and your expenses will automatically become a lot more comfortable to your wallet. And you might also end up having a more authentic travel experience in your journey, rather than the typical tourist experience in a foreign land.
Instead of traveling by flights and trains, if the destination is not too far off geographically, consider traveling by road instead of in your car or one you rent out. This might be cheaper in some cases and can also lead to a more interesting travel experience. Sometimes it’s not the destination but the journey that leaves you with memorable moments for the rest of your life.
We live in shared rented apartments because it helps us save money, why not do that with our travels as well? Yes, traveling solo has its own experience, but traveling with a group of people, ideally, your friends, can create a uniquely enjoyable experience as well, and it might also become easier on your wallet if you can split the bills among everyone. The per-unit cost of travel might get cut down this way. It’s not always the case, but it’s worth researching.
One of the most expensive aspects of any travel plans is where you stay. If you travel like a typical tourist with the mindset of taking a break from your routine life and having a lavish time, you will go for a nice fancy hotel room to stay in. But if traveling is your passion and hobby and you want to travel on a budget and have a more authentic travel experience, then you can opt for hostel rooms and Airbnb's where you live with a local person or family at their house. This will save you a lot of money and give you a richer travel experience.
The Internet and Social Media have brought the world together, or so they say. Why not take advantage of that? You can connect with anyone from anywhere in the world using the Internet. You can make friends on the other side of the planet with ease, as long as you are good at socializing. Instead of staying in hotels and hostels and Airbnb with strangers, why not stay with your friends? You can find groups, forums, and meet new people from the destinations you want to travel to in the future, and become good friends with them. You can learn about their culture, local lifestyle through your new friends, and when you do get the opportunity to travel, your friends would be glad to host you, and you can finally get to meet them and spend quality time in a foreign land with your penpal. This would give you a lot more authentic travel experience and would also be significantly easier on your budget.
Booking cabs and other local travel options can still become quite expensive based on your travel plans, how much distance you intend to cover. This can be avoided by hitchhiking i.e. walk by the side of the road and ask for a ride from every vehicle passing by and hope someone is altruistic enough to give you a ride. This is a risky option for most people, but for some it means going with the flow, exploring the world moment by moment instead of having everything planned, being spontaneous, and that has its thrill. Planning everything out can help you budget well, but exploring a foreign world with and without a map is very different. For some people, it’s a lot more enjoyable to wander through your trips without any solid plans, without any maps, just reacting to whatever moment presents itself. For others, not having a map is a source of anxiety and feeling lost. Choose what works best for you, and be willing to explore options that make you uncomfortable.
Hope this guide helps you to plan your future travel plans within your budgets :)