Travel is one of the richest experiences we can have in our lives, but unfortunately it’s often only available to the richest among us. If you enjoy the pleasures of exploring new places, meeting new people, and experiencing other cultures you may find yourself frustrated by the incredibly high cost of travel.
It seems like when you’re on the road, no matter how hard you try to conserve, you end up leaking money all day long. The amount you have to spend while traveling—on transportation, on accommodation, on food—makes it impossible not to bleed money. But there are a few things you can do from the outset that will help you mediate the cost of travel. By using a few of these lesser-known tricks hopefully you’ll be able to budget a trip to the destination of your dreams without having to work overtime and weekends to be able to afford a cab to and from the airport.
Accommodations: Skip the Hotel
This has been a quietly growing trend in recent years, but many frequent travelers swear they’ll never stay in a hotel again. The hassle of dealing with a bureaucratic corporation, all the uncertainty that comes with staying in a hotel, and the exceedingly high costs are making alternative accommodation options much more valuable.
There has been some coverage of the rise of Airbnb—one of the signature company’s spearheading this trend of travelers staying in privately-owned homes and apartments across the world—but for the most part, it’s still a relatively well-kept secret. Don’t miss out.
Often times when you decrease the scale of your travels, the price dips as well. One of the most, if not the most, expensive parts of travel is the airfare. Getting from one place to another can make or break your budget. That’s why you should look to smaller airlines that fly locally to regional airports in the area you’re headed. Obviously for long flights, this might not be an option. But if you’re going a shorter distance and you don’t mind flying into an airport that may be a bit more out of the way, regional airport travel is a very cost-effective option that can save you hundreds of dollars.
Choose your Day Wisely
Speaking of airfare, which day of the week you book your flight for can actually have a huge impact on the price. A study at Texas A&M University in 2012 affirmed what many people instinctually expect—that flights are much cheaper on Saturdays and Sundays since less people are looking to travel on those days. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are good days for flying as well. Planning ahead and scheduling well could relieve a significant chunk of your travel expenses.
Second Hand Shopping
Another reason you end up spending so much money during your travels is that you’re constantly in a buyer’s mentality. You need to buy things anyway to make sure your trip goes smoothly, you need to buy most meals, and you end up buying mementos and souvenirs on top of that.
One of the things you can do to temper the costs of the shopping in which you will inevitable indulge is to buy secondhand. In fact at a lot of cool travel destinations, the local flea markets, jewelry pawn shops, and thrift stores will have the most unique items. Getting something original and unique as opposed to the standard refrigerator magnets and cheap key chains will the gifts to both you and yourself much more special.
Clearly the devil’s in the details when it comes to cutting travel costs. There are plenty of little secrets out there, so share your own! Exploring the world need not be the heavy financial burden that you may assume it is. Happy trails.