Maximising your travel budget will give you the chance to take more trips and see the world. Fortunately, making the most of your budget doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the fun of travelling either.
Whether it was during a jam-packed three-day tour of Phuket, a long weekend in St Petersburg or a week driving through Puglia, some of my best travel experiences have involved money-saving tricks. If you want to see the world without blowing your budget, here are some of the best tips for maximising your travel budget.
Get cheaper flights
Flying low cost is easier than ever before and you can get the best fight rates by either booking your ticket well in advance or grabbing a last-minute bargain. When you book two to six months in advance, however, you’re typically going to pay more for the cost of travel. If you have a dream destination in mind, booking a year (or even two) in advance can save you a tidy sum.
Travelling out of season can also ensure that you get cheaper rates, so book your trips outside of usual holiday times, if you can.
Of course, it isn’t always realistic to know exactly when and where you want to go a year ahead. I love the spontaneity of taking surprise trips to new locations, so look out for last-minute flights too. If you’re flexible about your destination, you will get the opportunity to explore places you hadn’t even considered, and you will get the most out of your travel budget too.
Travel by train
You don’t need to rely on air travel, even if you’re going to far-flung locations. If you’re planning a long-haul trip, flying might be the quickest and most convenient option but over-land travel is perfect (and a more sustainable choice!) for shorter trips.
From the UK, you can explore Europe by train and take in the sights along the way. The Eurostar will get you from London to Paris in a little over two hours, which can be quicker than flying when you consider the time it takes to travel to airports outside the city and to check-in / bag drop.
Known as interrailing, travelling through Europe by train can be very cheap. If you are a EU citizen (or a resident of a European country) you can buy an Interrail Pass to hop aboard trains, check train times and even book seats in advance. Interrailing can be really sociable too, as you’ll have the chance to meet other travellers and share travel tips with people heading your way.
Eat like a local
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know how passionate I am about combining travel with cuisine. Going to a new country doesn’t just give you the opportunity to see new places; it gives you the chance to sample new foods and local delicacies too.
When you’re abroad, be sure to eat like a local if you want to find the best restaurants and finest fare. From fish stew in Iceland and spaghetti cacio e pepe in Rome to pad thai in Bangkok and laksa in Penang; local cuisine will enhance your trip and maximise your travel budget too.
I love exploring hidden cafés and local bistros when we’re visiting a new country but some of the best food is to be found at the local street food markets and from local vendors. Do your research before you go and you can fill up on succulent local food without breaking the bank.
Use free Internet
When you’re visiting new destinations, you’ll want to take photos of the stunning scenery, spectacular views and breath-taking skylines. For me, being able to share pictures of my travels is an important part of every trip I take.
However, being savvy about when and where you upload your snaps will save you money. Choose low-cost data plan providers, like SMARTY SIM, or find free Internet when you’re out and about. Depending on where you’re staying, you might find that free Internet access is included with accommodation. If so, upload your photos when you have the chance and post them when you’re ready.
Alternatively, keep an eye out for cafes and public spaces with free Wi-Fi access. While public Internet doesn’t have the same security measures as your home Internet might, you can use dedicated security software and VPNs to take advantage of no-cost Internet when you’re travelling.
Learn the customs
When you’re looking forward to your next adventure, learning about local customs will help you to prepare. As the date of departure looms, I try and quell my excitement by Googling the places I plan on visiting and finding out more about the area, the people and, of course, the food.
Knowing local customs can give you an advantage when you’re travelling, particularly if you want to get off the beaten track and explore non-touristy locations. In many countries, haggling is expected, for example. If you know this in advance, you can barter like a local and secure a reduced price for accommodation, taxi fares, meals and souvenirs.
Travel at night
When you travel is as important as how you travel when it comes to maximising your budget. If you can be flexible about your schedule, you stand to save the most amount of money. Travelling at night is particularly advantageous because you can secure lower rates and save on accommodation too.
A night flight, a sleeper train or a night ferry will give the chance to get some much-needed rest and it will ensure you can get cheaper travel options too. What’s more, when you travel overnight, you can wake up in a new location, well rested and ready to explore.
See the world, whatever your budget
Travelling doesn’t have to be super expensive or a one-off activity. By being savvy with your travel budget, you can take more trips, extend your stay and experience more of the world. Whether you’re eager to see the sights in Asia, lounge on a beach on the Caribbean, take a tour through Europe, explore the Outback or go on safari in Africa, there are plenty of ways to travel on a budget.
From long-awaited dream destinations to last-minute city breaks, maximising your travel budget means maximising the fun.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.