Tips and Tricks: Traveling on a Budget (Part 2)

Yesterday, I started sharing some of our favorite tricks to traveling on a budget. Today’s tips revolve around how to save once you get to the location.

Upon Arrival:
  • When you finally get to your destination, take public transportation. Bus, metro, shuttle, subway, they are all great modes of getting one place to another. And, if all else fails, walk! Exercise is good for you. Just make sure to pack good shoes.
  • Have a plan but don’t be too caught up in it to miss out on having exciting spontaneous experiences. When we were in India, we only had a few minutes to see a beautiful ancient tomb. In our rush, we almost missed seeing a snake charmer doing what he does best, just outside of the tomb gates. If not for a member of our tour group stopping, we would have missed out on that really cool experience.
  • Follow the locals to avoid tourist traps. High traffic areas will be more pricey than those off the beaten path.  Locals will know where to go to get the best bang for your buck. This can also help you find hidden gems that you may not see otherwise. I discovered where to get delicious Italian food, in Prague, solely from the recommendation of a local shop owner.
  • I can’t emphasize this one enough. Realize that there are people who are going to try to rip you off.  These people see tourists and come running. Just use your best judgement to decipher if that person seems trustworthy. Sadly, I had to learn this the hard way but it is a lesson well learned.
  • Use those coupons. I feel a bit silly when I whip out my envelope of clippings but hey, it saves us money every time. Often, brochure booths at airports or train stations will have discount coupons, so never pass them by thinking you already have your plan.
  • Don’t miss out on those once in a lifetime experiences. Budget for at least one splurge of the trip. Try rappelling down the edge of a waterfall, going on a whale watching tour, pay for the expensive ticket to see a wonder of the world. These are experiences that you won’t be able to repeat at home. Make it worth your while. After all, you have traveled to see that place. Really see it!
  • Eating out every meal can get pricey. We like to find hotels that serve breakfast, then carry around homemade trail mix, fresh produce, or granola bars that can tide us over before we get a big meal in the afternoon. However, don’t forget to try the local cuisine. That’s one of the best parts of traveling.
  • Take advantage of your connections by staying a night with friends and/or family. Chances are, they really want to see you. Make sure help around the house, clean up after yourself, and leave a thank you card and gift, so you don’t come across as an ungrateful guest. In return, make sure you keep your house open for visitors.
  • Try camping to save on hotel fare. When hotel prices are sky high, and there is a camp ground nearby, we choose to camp. If you are well stocked up on camping supplies, like us, you can decrease the amount you pay per night by much more than half. And then  you get to enjoy the great out doors.
  • If that doesn’t float your boat, try staying in hostels. I haven’t personally done this, but Kyle has, and he would do it again in a heart beat. Hostels have anything from private rooms to large shared rooms. Get whatever fits your budget and comfort level, but any room will be less than at a hotel. This also gives you the opportunity to meet people and develop new friendships.

Ultimately, just save those pennies. Forgo buying that big screen TV for a few more years. Experiencing a culture is more exciting than watching one (this is why we have a 20 year old TV with bunny ears that I inherited from a roommate). Also, take advantage of where you are living. When Kyle and I lived in Arkansas for a summer, we drove to the surrounding states for weekend sight seeing. It was relatively inexpensive, close, and we didn’t have to take off any work because it was from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. Even now, living in Minnesota, we are continuously researching different nearby locations that we can visit over weekends. We won’t live here for long, so we might as well see what there is to see.

I hope this helps to inspire some new travel destinations. There is so much to see out in the world. Don’t let silly excuses stop you. Happy travels!

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