When we are planning a trip to a place we always wanted to visit, what we do? The first thing we do is check the transportation cost, cost of living there and everything that more or less is related to cost. And we very often cancel or change our plans because we couldn’t afford it.
But what I have found after travelling all this time or reading a lot of blogs, it usually costs far less than you ever anticipated. It always comes down to some basic rules that you can follow which will help you and your friends reach your dream destination far cheaper than you thought of before.
Below I have compiled a few point that I have implemented always, some sure shot points which, if implemented, your bank account will thank you for all the days to come.
This is one of the costliest part in travelling. As the name itself has it, travelling will consist of travelling, ain’t it? :p But it is misconception that travelling has to be costly. You can drastically cut down your costs in travelling if you plan nicely. Some of the best tips that I can provide which will cut down you costs are –
- Let go of the facilities or unnecessary comfort – See, if you are going on a holiday then you can expect a little bit of facilities but when it comes to travelling (like a traveller), the sooner you let go of the facilities the better. You will know that travelling doesn’t have to be costly. If you are short on budget, why waste the extra money on AC when you can travel on a sleeper class, etc. Focus more on the journey and the experiences than on the mode of travel or the facilities that you think you are entitled to.
- Travel in Public Transport – Why book a cab when you can travel using public transport, why take a bike when you can walk? See, when you are travelling in public transport or walking down the street, you as a traveller will definitely get a lot of stories on the road, you get to interact with the locals, you get to listen to their stories, you can get their ideas, their suggestions. And yeah, it will drastically cut down your cost. Instead of taking the bike if you walk down the street, you will get the street food to taste, meet people on the road, share a smile or share their stories. Walking is the best way to know a place in and out.
- Plan beforehand – When it comes to travelling, you should plan beforehand. You should be active in websites like Kiwi where you can customise a lot of features (trip date from distinct to Anytime, time you will be spending, etc) – this is the best site I ever came across to plan your flight (Do let me know if you have any other good site). It helps you get the cheapest flights available which helps a lot in cutting the cost. Plan ahead – that’s the best piece of advice I can give you right now. Planning ahead also helps you do the necessary research, helps you eliminate any place that is in the talks but actually not worth visiting for you. If you are lucky enough, you can even get good deals in hotels as well.
Another enemy of your wallet while travelling is accommodation. Yes, accommodation is important. Good Accommodation will consist of better sleeping facility and good bathroom – along with good service and even fooding. If you are looking to save a little bit of money in accommodation, you can opt out from rooms with TV, King sized beds, AC, etc. Opting out those facilities will definitely cut down your expense a lot. I will prefer better bathrooms over sleeping facility any day. I am okay to compensate a little bit of sleeping or resting but I can never accept a dirty toilet. You may have your own preferences – note those down and see what you can cut down from the list.
You can also contact any of your relatives or friends that are living in that area. You can pay a little amount or can help with the household chores – saving a lot of your money to be spent in travelling or doing any activities.
Another way to cut down your costs is by staying in hostels. Hostels are great places to stay, especially for travellers.
- First, the cost will be too low.
- Second, you will meet fellow travellers – which should be a turn-on for you as they will be filled with their stories, their experiences, their advice, their warning. You will get to learn a lot from them. So definitely choose a hostel over a hotel if you want to travel and meet fellow travellers like you and get inspired to do more.
The third most expensive thing in travelling is Food. Cut it down by trying out the street food. It is usually very tasty and won’t put a hole into your pocket. It will let you try what the locals eat, it will let you try their unique taste and most importantly, it will help you save a lot of money. Yes, you need to make sure the food you are eating is hygienic enough for you or you might end up going to the toilet more than the famous places. :p You can also carry instant food like Maggi or other items which you can prepare anywhere if you are travelling on long stretches of roads and got no restaurants nearby.
Shop in the Local Markets
You are probably familiar that things cost much less in the local shops than in malls. At times, you might find similar quality things on the streets at a quarter of the price than in big malls. So when you are travelling, the best way to save some bucks while shopping is visit the local shops. But mind one thing, if possible, take one local person with you to ask the price or to bargain. Many times I have seen that shopkeepers charge a lot more to foreigners than they charge local people. So if you can call some local person while you are negotiating or bargaining the price, it will be great.
Here are some miscellaneous important points that I had to jot down, which aren’t topics on their own but worth sharing – not writing anything along with the points but if you are unsure how that makes sense, please do comment below and I will happily help you with it.
- Weigh your bags beforehand
- Travel off-season
- Travel in a large group
- Hitchhike – best way to travel
- Avoid the shops which are suggested by the drivers or guides
- Share transport with your fellow traveller
- Be flexible with your plans – so that you can catch the cheapest or the quickest option anytime
- Ask your hotel or guide for deals or discounts
- If possible, cook your own food
- Stay outside the main/tourist area
- Avoid shopping/eating in areas close to famous tourist spots
- Carry local money as the conversion rates will be different with different shops/people
- Pick up some part-time work while travelling to keep you going
- Do not book ahead everything – plans change and so does the price
- Read a lot of travel blogs before visiting a place
- Spend more time in fewer places
- Make travel tickets mid-week instead of on weekends
- Use Credit Card Reward Points
- Cover long distances during night – saves a whole lot of your time and also money for night stay
- Make a budget and give your best to stick to it
- You can try sites like couchsurfing or airbnb. This is your research topic now. Read about them if you have no idea what these mean.
The main attraction of travelling is that you do not have to follow the itinerary that was made by someone else – you can plan your own trip, you can stay longer if you want to or cut short your days if you feel like. You are your own boss. Travelling isn’t holiday and when you are travelling on a budget, there are a lot of things that you need to sacrifice in order to learn a lot of things along the way. There is an amazing blog by Dave Tomlinson called The Difference Between Travelling and a Holiday. Definitely check it out.
So how do you cut down your expenses? Do let me know in the comments section below. It will help me out in saving some more money on my next trip to some other land and everyone else who will be reading this blog.
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Your Friendly Neighbourhood Traveller