How to travel cheap – Your guide to traveling on a budget
How to travel cheap? If you are a travel enthusiast like me or like to travel a lot, this question comes up a lot. But there are a lot of related questions that I’m sure pop into your head from time to time. Some of these questions are:
- How to travel on a budget?
- How to travel with less money?
- What is the cheapest way to travel?
Believe me, we have all been there and these are very interesting and important questions. This article will try to cover some of these topics and we’ll see some of the best ways to travel on a budget.
1. Have a plan ready
While it’s tempting to just pack your bags and go to an unknown destination, it does not work so well when you want to travel cheap or on a budget. It’s very important to have a plan ready when you are looking for cheap ways to travel the world cheap. Planning costs us time, not planning might cost you money.
The most important thing in your plan should be the budget. Because the budget will decide your destination, your travel arrangements, the places you will see, and the food you will eat. All these things should be decided after deciding the amount of money you are willing to spend.
But having a plan doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t stay flexible. When we are traveling to another place or country, there are a lot of variables we need to consider. So we need to stay flexible. A small buffer is always a good idea.
2. Decide on the destination & research it well
After the budget is decided, you need to come up with the destination or the destinations you want to travel to. Choosing a destination can depend a lot on your preferences. Some people like beaches, while some like mountains.
Deciding on the destination can be tricky because a major chunk of the budget goes into traveling if you plan for a faraway destination. Choose a destination that is not very far and can be reached on a small budget.
It’s also equally important to do some solid research on the destination because a lot of money is also spent on staying at hotels and eating. It’s of no use choosing a destination that can be reached on a small budget, but you end up spending a lot on hotels and food.
3. Choose trains over flights
If you are looking for the cheapest way to travel, look no further. Trains are one of the cheapest modes of transport all over the world. If the destination you have chosen is accessible by trains or if you can reach a nearby city via train, then traveling by train is the best option.
Train tickets are comparatively cheaper than flight tickets. Plus you get to enjoy the journey while traveling on a train rather than just reaching the destination. Flights are faster but you don’t enjoy the journey.
Also check: Solo Travel – How to do it and Why you should do it
4. If traveling by flight, book tickets well in advance
There might be situations where flight is the only option available. The city or destination is not connected by trains or if they are connected by trains, it might take a lot of time to reach your destination. In such a situation, you might have to take a flight. But the answer to the question of how to travel cheap is to avoid flights as much as possible.
But even traveling on a plane might not be as expensive as we think if we plan ahead. Usually, last-minute flight tickets are very costly, but if you book the tickets a month or two months in advance, it is very much affordable.
5. Travel at night
One sure shot way to travel cheap is to travel at night. If you want to take a train from one city to another and the duration is more than 8 hours, it makes sense to book the board the train late at night and alight from the train in the morning the next day.
By doing this, you are saving the money you would have paid at the hotel for the night stay. Many trains have sleeper compartments that are very well suited for sleeping. You can complete the required amount of sleep and travel the next day too.
If you have a flight ticket too, you can use the flight journey to sleep and then explore the city the next day. It might not be as comfortable as it would be on a train though.
6. Pick off-season time for the trip
Everyone knows the peak time of travel is during the holidays. Everything is very costly because of the demand. The off-season is the time when very few people are traveling. Pick this time to travel and you can save a lot of money.
Festival time is the time to avoid planning your trip. If you plan your trip during this time, your budget can jump 2 to 3 times. The hotels and hostels are all costly, flight tickets are costly and food might be costly too. Avoid peak seasons as much as possible if you want to travel cheap or on a budget.
7. Choose offbeat places
Avoid traveling to popular places for two reasons. One, they are always crowded so you won’t enjoy the places as much as you want to. Two, since they are popular places, the cost of everything is jacked up. The stay is costly and food will be costly too.
It’s better to travel to places most people don’t know about. Every place in the world has some offbeat places where no regular tourist usually goes. Choose such places for travel and you won’t be disappointed. These places are less crowded so it’s cheaper.
Make sure you do some research about the offbeat places before traveling there. Consider things from a safety point of view as well.
Also check: Best Places to Visit in India
8. Choose hostels/ homestays instead of hotels
Hotels are a good option for tourists because they offer good services and have restaurants, etc. inside. But is it still a good option when you want to travel cheap?
The answer is a big fat NO. Hotels are very expensive and you end up spending a lot on your stay. When you are traveling on a budget, always choose homestays or hostels. They have good facilities and are also cheap. Homestays & hostels usually have dorm rooms like the one in the picture above. You will be given a bunk bed and a locker for keeping your belongings. This is the cheapest option and you have a good time interacting with people from all over the world. They also have individual rooms, but they are costlier. Even then, it’s cheaper than hotels.
Another major plus point of staying in hostels or homestays is the friendliness of the hosts. You will meet a lot of people in hostels and homestays. You might even make some friends for a lifetime.
9. Use public transport or walk
It’s common knowledge public transport is way cheaper compared to taking an Uber or taxi. Use public transport as much as possible to save on your travel expenses.
Suppose you decide on a destination and travel there. You want to explore the tourist places there. You might need to travel 5-10 km, sometimes more to see these places. Instead of hiring a private vehicle or a taxi, use buses if possible. It might not seem much but if you add up the money you have saved by traveling in public transport over a five-day period, you will notice that you have saved a lot.
For distances less than 2-3 km, walk. The best option to avoid spending any money on travel at all is to walk. Walking makes you fitter, so there’s an added bonus as well. You’ll be tired at the end of the day which will mean you have a good night’s sleep.
10. Find travel buddies
Traveling with other people is one of the best techniques you can use to travel cheap. A lot of expenses can be shared between a group of people like hotel costs, travel costs, food costs. Traveling with family or friends is a great idea, you have fun on a budget.
But what if you are traveling solo? You don’t have people with you to share costs. What to do then? You can still share costs by making friends on trips. Talk to people while traveling to know what their plans are for the day. If they have the same plan as you, you can share a taxi and travel with them, sharing costs.
There are other techniques to find people too. You can use social media to find people near you or post on websites that inform people about where you are headed. If someone sees your post who is also headed to the same place, they can reach out to you and you can share costs.
11. Cook Your Own Meals
Food. This is one of the things that will eat away a lot of your budget. We usually eat 3-4 times a day. Avoid eating at fancy restaurants when on a trip if you want to travel cheap. Instead, carry some portable cooking apparatus so that you can cook on your own.
You can cook at campsites or inside hotels too. Some hotels/ hostels allow you to cook your own food inside rooms if you have the proper setup and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Portable gas stove
- Cooking utensils
- Crockery/ Paper plates
- Raw materials(Vegetables/ Meat) to cook
Cooking your own meal is one of the surest ways to travel on a budget. The raw materials and other things involved in cooking cost a fraction of what you would spend in hotels. And it is fun too.
12. Eat at places where the local eat
If you can’t cook or don’t want to cook while traveling, the next best option is to eat at places where the locals eat. It is super affordable and exciting.
You can still eat well on a budget. Just make sure when you are eating at local places, hygiene is properly maintained. The last thing you would want is to fall sick on a trip.
If you compare the cost of food at restaurants and the cost of food at a local store, you will understand the difference. Local food is way cheaper. Eating at such places will not only save you a lot of money but will also give you the chance to experience the local cuisine and the local food.
Have a safe and enjoyable journey. Hasta La Vista. 🙂
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