The words ,,cheap traveling” mean something different for everyone. It depends on the location/country of choice and the financial capabilities of the traveler. And while there are definitely cheap traveling destinations, there are also Norway and Switzerland. You simply can’t go to those two countries on a budget, no matter what. Especially if you plan to go to Oslo, Norway. It’s called ,,once in a lifetime experience” for a reason – because you can only go there once. Anyways, I’m not here to offer you cheap destination ideas, but something better. Something universal. Little tricks and hacks you can use to save a buck here and there, no matter where you choose to go. Yes, even to Norway and Switzerland.
Plan Early! Like, Really Early!
Like I said in my article How To Travel Wherever You Go Smartly , it’s all about planning in advance. This is essential to cheap traveling. Experienced travelers sometimes make arrangements entire year in advance. While it’s a bit too extreme, because you never know what might happen that far, booking several months in advance is a wise move. From hotels, AirBnBs, to plane tickets, car rentals, special train and bus tours and museum visitations. It always comes cheaper in the end, if you’ve booked early. Especially if you’re planning to visit on a peak tourist season or holidays, such as Christmas and New year. Then, it’s a must! In addition to that, you get to have all the plane/bus/train seats, hotel rooms and apartments on awesome locations to choose from. Because that early, almost no one has already booked. Be the wiser and plan early!
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Food is one of the things we love to try when we visit a foreign country or culture. But food can be damn right budget bursting. Especially in the typical tourist zones in the large cities or famous resorts. An advice from me and other people I’ve talked about this topic is this: When you’re browsing for a hotel, try looking for ones who offer a free breakfast. This way, If you eat solid breakfast and then perhaps want to try the local cuisine for lunch, you won’t be starving for a large dinner. And dinners can be hugely expensive. In Europe in particular, in the more metropolitan western cities, a dinner for a small family, you’ll be giving AT LEAST 50 euros.
Another money saving hack for food is – Supermarkets! Yes. You have no idea how cheaply you can feed yourself and your family by just visiting the local Super. You may find it strange, but on top of that, you get to experience the culture and the local cuisine just by going there. Seeing what’s for sale, what kind of food do the locals eat, foods you haven’t seen before, really immerses you in the experience of visiting that particular country.
You Don’t Have To Visit Everything…
Now, don’t be quick to throw stones at me. While it’s true, that we all are excited when we want to visit somewhere new and see everything… we mostly can’t. Unless we are super rich and have a lot of time. But most of us are not that fortunate souls and it’s a pill we must swallow. And If you are reading this, it’s very likely that you’d like to save some money and still get to enjoy at the same time. So make your research in advance. Because, trust me, not everything is worth your time and money.
For example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. That is my own personal view, but I’d very much rather go and see neighbouring city of Lucca or beautiful Tuscany, than that. It may be fun for the kids with the pictures and all, but… it’s not much worth it. I personally was a bit disappointed.
Anyways, you should pinpoint in advance the sights/museums you REALLY are interested in seeing. And keep up to the plan, because it’ll definitely blow up your budget. This is a cheap travelling tip I value a lot when it comes to saving money.
For Those Of You, Who Want To See Multiple Countries…
It’s very common for people, who visit Europe for example, to want to see multiple countries. And it’s understandable. Europe is awesome and bursting with diverse culture and beautiful sights. That of course applies to other places as well. But I’m giving Europe as an example, because it’s famous for removing the skin off, financially, of adventurous tourists who want to wander around as well. While there isn’t anything cheap about cross-country travel in Europe, unless you’re going for the East and South-East, there ARE ways to slightly reduce your spendings.
I’ve seen people, who plan to visit the continent, making a list of travel destinations. For example: ,,First, we’ll go to Paris, then Geneva, then Berlin, then London, then Stockholm and end in Helsinki!”
A sound plan! But for a ,,backpacker budget”? Slaughterhouse. Their budgets simply can’t handle the high standards of living – one of whom, being the prices. Also, take in mind the heavy variations in prices for different items across the continent. Let’s take beer for example. In Bulgaria, 500ml (16.907 oz.) could cost you like 1-2 euros. But in Oslo, Norway, it could cost you more than 8 euros. Also, a 3-4 days stay in Luxembourg, can be 1-2 weeks stay in Eastern Europe. That’s something you must research and plan your expenses.
My personal advice for those, who’d like to explore multiple nations in Europe, is this. You could use Barcelona, or some of the wonderful Polish cities like Krakow or the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv and Sunny beach resort (all of them cheaper) as starting destinations. And then visit one or two (depending on your budget) more major western cities. Like Amsterdam, Zürich, etc. And vice-versa. This way you’ll get to have a very diverse and multicultural experience. And also – more gentle to your budget.
Use public transportation
One of the keys to cheap traveling is Public transportation. Anything from busses, metros, trains to tramways. Wherever you go, using them will be far more cheaper than taxi and Uber services. Also, here applies the first rule. The planning in advance. If you’re planning to do cross-city travels with trains or busses, make sure you book early. Sometimes you can get 50% cheaper deals! Here i’ll give you a tipp inside a tipp. And that is – don’t think, that if you book somewhere in the countryside, instead of the big cities, you’ll get a cheaper deal. It may offer cheaper rooms, but if you have to constantly travel from there to the city and back, it’ll get much more expensive than if you had booked in a local city hotel.
I’ve tackled this subject before in my other post. And since it’s a useful cheap traveling tipp, I’ll share with you how I proceed on this subject. How I try to resist the overwhelming desire to buy, buy, buy things that I don’t need for myself and others. Wherever I’ve gone, to properly remember a place where I’ve really had a great time in, I always choose to buy quality over quantity. I am a pipe smoker and collector. What does that have to do, you might ask? Well, since I consider this to be my passion and something I love, I tend to buy myself a pipe or tobacco from wherever nice place I visit. This way, I’ve bought something, that I’ll definitely use AND serve me as a token of remembrance to the place I’ve visited.
This applies to other things too. For example – paintings. Not only do you support the local street artists, but you also get to hang a beautiful, cultural artwork on your wall, which you can admire, or just show off. Same goes for furniture, although that could be pricy to send back home. Also, nice boutique clothes, traditional garbs and folk clothes… if you’re planning to wear them or you’re a collector, that is. Otherwise it’s not worth it.
Overall, spend your money on things you’ll have some practical or cultural use of. Don’t aim for useless things, that will collect dust on someone’s shelf or cellar, because, that’s on what souvenir shops are counting mostly. They know that you are new there, excited and happy, ready to buy under the spell of your own emotional excitement. Be wary, folks!
Always Try To Find The Best Deal
This is as essential and important to cheap traveling, as was the first tipp I gave here – Early Planning. From sites and apps that offer wide arrange of hotels and apartments, to sites who are all about plane, train, bus tickets. Always look for your personal best ratio of cost and comfort. But make sure you double check from other sites, read forums, talk with experienced people or folks, that’ve already visited your destination of choice. There’s always a possibility to find a better deal for something. Especially if you are on a budget and want to experience a lot in the same time. It’d be a shame if you find out you had given more of your hard-earned money where you could’ve given less.
Services such as AirBnB are your best friends here. You have no idea how many perks people get if they choose to rent apartments over hotels. Now this varies a lot between people and what they are looking for. If you want a place with dozens of services you can use, like spa, fitness, room service, swimming pools, etc, then hotels are better choices for you. But if you just want somewhere to stay cheaply, without any special extras, an apartment is the better choice. Especially if you come with an entire family. Some hotels can’t host 4-5 people in one room, you’ll need to pay for an extra. And that is really budget booming.
Also, If you stay in an apartment, you can do you own laundry and in terms of food, you can buy your own products from the supermarket (here kicks in the second tipp) and cook yourself. Which will most likely be cheaper than a fancy dinner at the hotel restaurant. And being in one, gives you the flexibility to do daytravels to nearby cities and sights, without having the need to rush back to catch up dinner or lunch time. Neither having to wake up early so you don’t miss breakfast. That’s something I hate to do, especially after a whole day traveling the day before.
Those were some of the cheap traveling tricks I’ve used and could think of so far. I hope they come in handy during your next travel!
Have you used some of these tipps before? Do they work for you?
We’d be glad if you also share with us other hacks you’ve used on your trips!
And until next time,
Happy travels from OwlKnow!