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Inspiring travel for the young at heart

How To: Travel on a Budget

 

Let’s face it: I’m a college student, and I don’t really have a lot of money sitting around for travel. So when I’m blessed with the opportunity to visit somewhere really unique or exotic, I often have to find ways to get around and things to do that are low-cost.

Before, I always had trouble keeping my costs down and making sure I didn’t spend over my limit. Nowadays, traveling on a budget is almost never a problem for me. How? By using these five simple steps!

1. Plan ahead. Make sure you know at least a general schedule of what you plan to accomplish while there. Know your priorities and stick to them. This way, you’ll save money on transportation and you’ll save time because you will know what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis. If you plan ahead, you have more leeway in terms of time, giving you flexibility to do other things you see or take detours, which are two really critical aspects of exploring. Come prepared with a map, GPS, or directions to make sure you know ahead of time where you’re going!

2. Travel during the off-season. Often, the off-season costs only a fraction of what traveling costs when it’s extremely in-demand. Find out when most people travel to your destination and, if you can, choose a time to travel when there won’t be a lot of tourists. Chances are prices will be less inflated during these times. Usually the fall months (September-October) and the early spring (February-March) are times when travel is generally cheaper.

3. Bring home souvenirs that aren’t sold in stores. At first glance, this may seem puzzling or even counterintuitive, but finding souvenirs that are free is often the best and most meaningful way to remember your travels. For example, that seashell you picked up at the beach or that concert ticket you have left over from an amazing show you attended — those can be just as good or even better than a t-shirt that can easily cost $10-$15. I usually collect my airplane tickets — a small but meaningful souvenir that’s included in my airfare.

4.¬†Eat at dives and locally-owned restaurants. Sometimes restaurants can be way too expensive, but eating food from fast food restaurants makes you queasy. Well, you’ve got another option, and that’s eating at locally-owned and operated places. Usually, these places are cheaper that fancy tourist-infested restaurants, but have food options that are unique to that location. In many places, street food is a delicious and inexpensive way to taste the local cuisine. For example, when I was in Guatemala, my group often frequented a sandwich cart, owned by some locals, that made sandwiches and condiments from locally-grown ingredients. This was our favorite place to eat and we went almost every day, but it cost us less than $1.50 for an entire sandwich. Now that’s a deal!

5. Walk. This might seem simple, but it’s true. Walking places is free and you’ll see a lot more of the place’s unique culture than if you took a cab, a subway, or a bus. If you’ve got time to kill and nowhere to go, walking is the easiest way to get a good feel for a place, especially if you’ve never been there before. Plus, you might get a good opportunity to window shop, visit a local market, or hear some really fantastic street music. You never know what amazing things a city holds, but by walking, you’re more likely to find it.

So that’s it folks, my five ways to keep costs low and get the most out of your travels. Now that I’ve done two “How-to’s,” let me know what you think and what you’d like to see more of! Or, if you’re feeling nice, leave me a comment or two :)

25 Comments

  1. great tips – totally with you on planning, walking, and eating at local joints! I find it helps you get a better feel for the place and culture of locals, rather than the sanitised tourist version.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah. I definitely agree — the local culture is so much more vibrant than the washed-up tourist version!

      ~Kay

  2. Those are great tips for anyone…especially if you believe that experiences are worth more than material things!

  3. Those are great tips. I especially like the one about walking everywhere. What a great way to see a new place and get exercise.

    Cheers,
    Tammy of Walking in Pretty Shoes

  4. I love that picture! What are you eating in it?

  5. Thanks for the like on my blog today. I look forward to following your posts.

  6. Another way to eat cheaply, and healthily, is to find a local produce market. And you get to meet lots of locals here too!

    • I agree! I love markets so much, because they’re a mix of both culture and FOOD! :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Denny!

      ~Kay

  7. Great tips Kay! As this honeymoon holiday of ours draws to a close, I am already thinking about where to next. It will definitely have to be on more of a budget though, so these should come in handy!

    • Oh, wow. I hope you’re enjoying your honeymoon and that you’ve had the time of your life! Where all did you get to go?

      Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      ~Kay

  8. Good luck on your mission and thanks for having look at my blog.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck to you as well!

      ~Kay

  9. I have been doing your fab five tips too during all my travels., with the exception now, of collecting the tickets, As my air tickets are now electronic, I only get a printed itinerary, so the only thing I can keep is the butt of the boarding pass.

    • Haha I understand! There are definitely plenty of “souvenirs” that don’t cost a thing. I’m glad you like the tips — they’re all relatively simple things that are easy to forget!

      ~Kay

  10. Excellent travel tips. A couple of other good souvenirs are drink coasters and bottle tops. Blu-Tack is handy for attaching these to walls.

    • Great point! I never thought of these but I’ll definitely look out for them on my next adventure :) Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words!

      ~Kay

  11. Love traveling on our lower budget– I think you see the real city that way! I like souvenirs from grocery stores.

    • Rhonda,

      I agree — traveling on a budget definitely brings me closer to a place every time I go. :) Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Kay

      P.S. Your blog was one of the very first I followed — I still remember that day!

  12. Josh here from the BlinkPack blog. I love this post and resonate with a lot of the concepts you present here, especially the idea of walking. So much to be seen between ‘A’ and ‘B’. I wish you all the best with your blogging. Cheers!

    • Josh,

      It’s a pleasure to meet you, and thank you very much for stopping by my blog/following! I personally think walking is the most important point on this list. It’s free, easy, and helps travelers grow accustomed to unfamiliar territory. Something I always do when I’m traveling in a new city! All the best to you as well :)

      ~Kay

  13. Traveling on a budget can sometimes lead to more interesting, off the beaten path-type places. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  14. Great tips, and they all make perfect sense, especially the walking bit :)

  15. Its so funny that everything I see on your list I do myself naturally when I’m visiting a new place. Cool blog and thanks for the like! – KW

  16. Travel is one thing, living on a budget would be good for we writers :)

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