Travelling on a budget shouldn't mean that you have to sacrifice comfort or adventure. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money, both before and during your travels. Finding affordable accommodation could mean that you have a bigger sightseeing budget, while avoiding data roaming charges could leave you with more pocket money for a night on the town. The following tips can help you get started.
1. Look at the Hidden Costs of Cheap Flights
Budget carriers like Easyjet or Ryanair in Europe may provide staggeringly low prices, but before you book you'll want to look at the extra fees. Many airlines now charge extra fees to choose your own seats, check luggage, or even pay for your ticket with a credit card. In addition, look at how close the airport is to your destination. Some airports are located an hour or more away from any main city, meaning that you'll have to pay extra for a shuttle bus or taxi.
2. Stay in Self Catering Accommodation
Hostels and camping are traditional ways for young people to save money on accommodation, but another option that has become more popular due to sites like Airbnb and Craigslist is a self-catering sublet. You can rent an apartment or holiday cottage with your friends that gives you full kitchen access, allowing you to save money on food at the same time.
3. Use Vouchers or Discount Codes
When you're in the planning stages of your trip, it doesn't hurt to sign up for coupon sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, or JetSetter in the region of your destination. These will send you emails with discounts or vouchers for everything from day tours to hotels, and can save you serious money. Services like these also tend to offer special deals specifically through their social media accounts, so keep an eye on Facebook or Twitter.
4. Leave the Cell Phone at Home
Even a quick call to a friend to let them know you've arrived can mean facing a seriously hefty phone bill once you get home. There are many ways to make free international calls now, including services like Skype or prepaid SIM cards. International calling cards are also a good option if you want to find lower per-minute rates and can be a good way for friends and family to get in touch with you. For example if you're travelling to South Africa you could purchase a prepaid SIM card that gives you a local number. This allows contacts to make cheap calls to South Africa without additional fees.
5. Shop Around for Rental Cars
If you plan on driving around your destination, the cost of renting a car can quickly add up. A quick search will reveal that prices can vary widely for the same service, however. Be sure to shop around to find the best rates, and always ask about extra fees before you book anything. The final cost of your rental may not be what was advertised, so ask for the bottom line. One expense is the cost of your rental car insurance. Purchase this from a separate insurance agency rather than directly from the car rental company for better rates.
6. Get off the Beaten Path
Simply walking even a few blocks away from major tourist sites will yield cheaper prices in cafes and restaurants. Take the time to explore your destination and get away from tourist areas if you want to pay less. You'll often find more rewarding experiences this way as a bonus.