Seeing the world is the dream of many, but living the dream doesn't always come cheap, unless you're in tune with the secrets of low-cost and, sometimes, zero-cost travel. If you're an aspiring globetrotter yearning for the feel of foreign sights and sounds, these travel-for-cheap strategies can help you zoom through the globe at low cost or no cost at all.
1. Book Early
The farther your travel date, the likelier it is to find the cheapest travel deals. Tickets bought months before takeoff are usually discounted, the same as hotel reservations and touring fees. Websites like Capital One Travel, Chase, and Citi can also help you keep a tab on ticket prices so you know when it's cheapest to swipe the card.
2. Travel Out of Season
Off-peak travel may not be so attractive, but if you are on a shoestring budget, it may be what you need to see the world on a budget. Unlike peak periods where travel demands and costs hit the roof, you can travel at the tail end of the holiday season. Off-peak seasons often see fewer tourist activities, resulting in cheaper deals, less crowded experiences, and the opportunity to save on flights and hotel bookings.
3. Travel Within Your Budget
There's always the temptation to flip the travel script while moving. You may tempted to stop by an unplanned city or take a tour you didn't budget for. If you travel at low or no cost, you must visit only the places you've decided on. Traveling outside your budget can stretch your finances or get you stranded.
4. Travel Light
Traveling light isn't just poetic; it will save you hundreds of dollars in baggage fees. When opting for low or zero-cost travel, go with only essentials. Small backpacks and suitcases are best. They make using public transportation seamless, and you don't have to cough out extra costs in charges for haulage or private transfers.
5. Contact Hotels Directly
Hotel booking websites add commissions, making the cost of hotels costlier than you would get if at face value. By contacting your choice hotels directly, you can get inexpensive deals or find other booking options for visitors that may not be available on online listings.
6. Pay in Local Currencies
You can't keep throwing a dollar wad at every exchange for value. What's worth a dollar in the United States may not be worth a cent in South Asia or Africa, and that's why paying in the local currency of your destination is the only way not to overpay.
7. Use Public Transportation
Choose public transport over taxis and private rides to make the most of your travel experience while on a budget. The lure of renting a car for its convenience and exclusive feel can be tempting, but traveling in trains and metro buses can help you significantly cut costs.
8. Cook Your Own Meal
Eating out will always be more costly, whether in your home country or traveling the world. Airbnb and some shortlet apartments offer well-equipped kitchens where you can make your delicacies even on foreign soil. Rather than buying ingredients in specialized stores with expensive price tags, consider buying from the local market, as it helps reduce your cooking expenses.
9. Use Coupons and Discount Cards
The hospitality industry wants you to be on the road, so they use coupons and discount cards as points of attraction. It would help if you took advantage of them for budget travel. Coupons and discounts could shave off a considerable percentage of your flight and accommodation prices, so you have more money left for other things.
10. Visit Free Attraction Sites
Look for places offering free public access to make the most of your visit. You can find museums, parks, zoos, national reserves, beaches, farms, and mountain ranges that are entirely free, with the promise of the excitement of being on the road.
11. Cheap or Zero-Cost Accommodations
Unlike lodging in expensive hotels with gagging bills, Airbnb and shared apartments can help you save costs. Websites like Workaway can link you up with locals who can provide accommodation and food, and sometimes stipends for some work hours, depending on the agreement you can reach with them.
12. Get Overseas Jobs
If you're a tad broke and traveling without a heavy purse, consider offering your skills or hours for money when you arrive at your destination. Easy-to-find gigs like bartending, dishwashing, dive instructor, or language teaching can get you quick bucks to spend on other travel expenses like food and accommodation.
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