20 Tips to Plan Your Travel on a Shoestring Budget

by Baba

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Well no one said that traveling would be cheap, right? But to tell you the truth, it is cheap when you do away with the thrill and the frills of luxury traveling. Think about it. If you give up the expensive travel options like flights and rental cars and hike it, give up good food and go with the local flow of cuisine and street food and even walk about town sightseeing free events and staying in hostels and tourist lodges rather than expensive housing; How much will your travel actually cost? Not much right!
And that’s exactly what you have to realize: Traveling can be fun and cheap too! We don’t want you to shell out big bucks going to Europe on flights, eating at hotels and staying in one star accommodation: we want you to experience life as it comes when you travel on a budget on your legs about this beautiful planet we call Earth. If you are game, let’s take a look at how you can travel cheaply all over the world with the least amount of financial expenditure.

How does it work?

Very simple! We try to find cheaper and much more affordable options for the same travel routes and perks that you would enjoy on an ordinary travel package. From where to get cheap food, to wonderful cheap presents and even a lovely way to sightsee without spending any money; we have done the research for you. So here goes; take a look at the top twenty ways to reduce the cost of traveling. Budget travel here we come!

Travel tip #1– Find out where to go. There are thousands of travel locations that are located all over the world. But they have a particular tourist season. That means Ibiza is crowded with students during the summer season when the number of music festivals is the largest. But you can just as well enjoy the island during off season when there no rain and the number of tourists are lesser. You will be able to enjoy a pleasurable vacation with wonderful weather, cheap food and great hospitality and of course, stay on over for the summer music festival too. Many of the main tourist cities work on the same principle. You will also find that most of the popular bands that play during the music festival also visit the island in the off season to relax too.

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Travel tip #2 –Find cheap travel options. If your only alternative is flights then try to find flights that are as cheap as possible. You can reduce your flight costs by

* Booking your tickets as early as possible. Many airlines offer cheap tickets for people who book in bulk and a month in advance of their flights.
* Choose tickets that are connecting flights as they will be cheaper than direct routes. Of course you also get to travel to new connecting destination if you really lucky!
* Use online booking sites that are usually designed to be as cheap as possible for traveling.
* Ask your travel agent for cheap flights that are just right for budget travelers. If you are a student you are eligible for cheap travel options where you will get substantial discounts on your ticket fare if you can show your student ID.
* Use courier companies to sell your baggage space to. They pay for your ticket and travel while sending their goods in your luggage space. Your pack should be small enough to carry on flight.
* Bumping from flights is common where airlines will over book flights during peak season. Then when all the booked customers turn up, the airline will ask for volunteers who will disembark for a later flight. You will also be paid a free flight and up to $500 in cash!
* Try to book your flight during weekdays for cheaper fares.

If you aren’t traveling by flight, then you can easily choose to travel by Greyhound buses that are a cheap and affordable method of traveling. You can get tickets as low as $99 and for long distances too. Another alternative is Amtrak trains that are reliable too and cheap for travel inside the US. You will need visas however to travel to the UK and to Europe but that can be arranged cheaper too.

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Travel tip #3-Accommodation is a prime concern when you travel. But there are cheaper alternatives that you can choose from like

* Hostels where backpackers stay have a cool and relaxed atmosphere. They have sharing rooms, cheap beds, individual and communal showers, pay per use washing machines, swimming pools, and gardens that you can use. But you have to follow the rules and regulations like midnight curfews, cooperating with chores and particular local out times.
* Backpacker motels are another alternative to cheap accommodation. We know that backpackers can stay anywhere but in cities like Sydney there are special hotels called backpacker motels made for accommodate students and people who are on a stingy budget. You will be able to enjoy a friendly atmosphere with several different age groups. The food and cleanliness will vary but they are really great to stay in.
* House swaps are really, really great and we mean that! You can literally log on to reliable sites with a small registration fee and then select a house to swap with. At the time, it was a really good idea with no expenses and very little fear of living in an unfamiliar area; but over time the anonymity of the internet has created severe doubts about whether this process will work.
* Bed and Breakfast hotels, pensions and private homes in Europe are the cheapest ways to travel while on a stingy budget. You will find that these small hotels have large rooms and great food that is home cooked. Costs can be as low as $12 to $30.
* Locations will also decide cost as areas with a lower currency will get you more amenities for a cheaper rate. Cities in India, Thailand will get you a wonderful room for as low as $15 per day due to the currency conversion rate.
* Make sure to bargain for the hotel room rate. That’s right as you will get lower rates when the hotel is in off season.

Travel tip # 4– Camping is great for seeing more of the city while enjoying the wonderful park grounds present in cities in Europe and England. European Campgrounds are open from May to September and they may cost you about #5-$10 a night depending on the facilities they offer. Make sure you inquire about the time that you will be allowed to stay in the camp. A few of the better campgrounds also have laundry facilities, kitchen, and hot showers

Travel tip # 5– Crashing for free is also possible if you are that hard up for cash. You can sleep in overnight train and bus stations and no one will disturb you. Please make sure that you take care of your belongings though as there are very good chances that local thieves will walk off with your goods as they are familiar with train timings and bus timings. A few train stations will also have sleeping facilities that you can use for free but you will have to inquire beforehand.

Travel tip # 6– Money issues are paramount as you are traveling alone. You should not carry a large amount of cash with you unless you have an express death wish and we mean that in the nicest possible way! Convert all cash to Travelers checks, credit cards, and valuables should be sewn into a separate money belt that you keep close to your skin. Only and only covert money at official places and don’t get greedy. Be very careful while using ATMs too.

Travel tip # 7– Make sure that you are booked with a group if you are traveling together. Most group travelers will get substantial discounts for traveling together.

Travel tip # 8– Research the area you will be traveling to completely. A few cities have discount coupons or money coupons that can be exchanged for food and accommodation. This is released every year before the tourist season. Find out how many coupons you can use and where you can spend the coupons.

Travel tip # 9– Frequent all you can eat buffets in local restaurants where you can eat all you want and even take some to your room. You will be provided a mix of local cuisine and western food that will be ideal and cheap too. meals in the middle of the day will be cheaper too over dinner!

Travel tip # 10– As soon as you land in the new city make sure that you have the name of a good local doctor with you to prevent falling sick and being all alone.

Travel tip # 11– Shopping is good when you can claim get all or part of the retail sales tax back. You can also combine with coupons to get really great bargains.

Travel tip # 12– Wash your clothes in communal local washing that is provided with hostels. Remember that you might not get washing machines so get used to a little rub-a-dub-dub action to wash your clothes with soap and water.

Travel tip # 13– Carry all your medications with you as you will not get them at your destination city. Make sure that you have a prescription for them and that they are labeled properly.

Travel tip # 14– Eat food with the locals. That’s because they know the places where they food is safe and healthy. Find a local restaurant that is full and eat only well cooked food. Forget about raw food salads. And of course, the local cuisine will be far cheaper than anything continental and American that you are hankering for!

Travel tip #15– If you are wondering whether its going to be easy to find sights then all you have to do is get in touch with the local tourist office. You can hand them your International Student Identification Card (ISIC), Teacher Card (ITIC), Elderly Card or Youth Travel Card (IYTC), provided by the International Student Travel Confederation which will get you discounts and entry into all activities, festivities and cultural events in the city.

Travel tip #16– Carry a phrase book and a guide book to help you around a new city. And use a PDA or GPS to prevent yourself from getting lost.

Travel tip #17– Be prepared to defend yourself as there could be chance of trouble and injury when you travel alone. Make sure that you do not act all innocent and wander about lonely areas late in the night. Make sure to make as much ruckus as possible and try to poke eye out, ram elbows and knees into soft delicate area and pull hair to discourage your attacker.

Travel tip # 18– Find cheap and free sights to see. Yes we know that it sounds cheap but just imagine. All you have to do is roam around the city and enter free events where you are also provided with refreshments. TO find free events you can easily log on to the city website and check the calendar of events that are free for entry during tourist season and off season too.

Travel tip # 19– Bribes may be necessary to get things done. And bribes are called by a multitude of names. Always have a few dollars which are the universal currency for greedy officials all over the world. Its not that you have to do it, but what is the use of fighting it too. If you are getting harassed by policemen, ask politely whether you have to pay a fine or a tax. Pay what is asked for and don’t ask for a receipt or you could land up paying double but take the officers name just in case you get harassed again.

Travel tip # 20– No matter what you are buying, you are allowed to bargain. It’s the way people have fun. You should be polite though and don’t make fun of the vendors goods. Pretend to have only half the price that the vendor is selling and then walk away. More often than not the vendor will call you back! If not then work the price upward till it’s acceptable on both sides. Try to avoid harassing the really poor people; if you have a fair and cheap rate in dollars pay it and get the goods. You don’t need to cheat anyone to below cost value.

Budget travel can be easy and you have to know how and where you can cut costs. Once you get the hang of finding and doing things cheaply; the sky is the limit!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Renee Huddy January 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I just love this blog. I found you guys on bing. I actually agree a lot with most of the things that I have read here.This is kinda rare with all the bad information that is out there.financial decisions have to be made with knowledge.I will definately be back to visit this site again.


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