Have you been bitten by the traveling bug? The desire to explore new places is a common one. However, it can be nigh impossible to find money in your budget for all of your expenses (like that candy bar after a long day or asking for some help with the homework on https://sky-writer.com when you’re on your last leg). But, with some creative budgeting, anything is possible!
1. Stay in a Hostel or AirBnB
Sure, having a hotel room all to yourself is great. But that room comes at a price. Even the cheapest hotel rooms will likely cost more than a hostel. If you have a traveling buddy, you might even be able to book a private room in some places. Of course, hostels aren’t always available. Check AirBnB or similar services. If you’re willing to share a room, you can save quite a bit on your accommodations.
2. Ditch the Car
If you’re looking for things to scratch off your list, a rental car should be the first to go. Hopping in a rental car might feel like freedom, but, in a city, it’s very much a ball-and-chain. Besides the rental expenses themselves (which may not seem like a lot), parking in most cities is expensive. And you can’t forget buying gas or getting stuck in traffic jams. So keep the car at home, and you’ll probably lower your bill by a third.
3. Invest in a Travel Card
Just because you can’t travel by car doesn’t mean you have to walk! Instead, travel like the locals do. Almost every mid- to large-sized city will have some form of local transportation available. Buying a bus pass or metro card you don’t live in might seem ridiculous at first, but it’s a cost-saving alternative to taxis, ride-sharing apps, or, as mentioned above, renting a car. Just make sure to weigh your options carefully: You don’t need to buy a more expensive plan that lasts a month if you are there only for a week.
4. Rent a Bike
Another great (and greener) alternative to a rental car is a bike. It is a cheap and easy way to get around big cities. It might take a little longer, and run on your own power, you save a significant amount of money. Bike rental agencies are usually fairly cheap, and, if you bought a metro card or something similar, you might get a discount. Want to take public transportation, too? Many allow bikes to be brought with you to cut down on your ride. And don’t forget your helmet!
5. Avoid Expensive Restaurants
Food is one of the reasons people travel. But think twice before making reservations at that five-star restaurant. There are plenty of places where you can get good, cheap food while traveling. If you feel like eating out, look for little, hole-in-the-wall places. Pubs, bakeries, taverns, and cafes are just as good as famous black-tie restaurants. Up for a little cooking? Hit a farmer’s market. (Yes, cities have those, too.) If you just want a meal, and you want it cheap, go to a grocery store. Many offer takeaway options such as salads, sandwiches, or full meals.
6. Pack Lightly
If you’re traveling by plane, you already know that you need to pack lightly. Extra baggage is expensive when you’re on a shoestring budget. While it might be tempting to bring everything you could possibly need, it’s cumbersome and will cost you money in the end. And don’t forget: If you pack it in, you’ll need to bring it back. Along with the souvenirs, you’ll probably splurge on. It’s better to pack lightly before you hit the road.
7. Communicate Online
In the old days, you had to worry about buying a phone card or calling collect hoping someone on the other end would accept the charges. And who could forget roaming? Now, it’s cheap and easy to keep connected using the internet. There are numerous free messaging apps, most of which include voice- and video-calls. Want to reach out to the entire family or friend circle at once? Tweet, post to Facebook, Snapchat it, whatever you want. Haven’t joined social media? Emails are as fast as a text.
8. Avoid Tourist Traps
This might be one of the hardest rules to follow. After all, most cities have numerous attractions that are billed as “must-sees”. And, sure, if you’re in New York, you’ll want to see the Statue of Liberty, in Rome – the Colosseum, Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But don’t plan your trip around standard sight-seeing tours. Such package tours can be expensive, too.
Check the prices before going somewhere. Connect with the locals and ask for alternative places to visit or entrance fees to pay if there is a sight or two you really want to see. As for the souvenirs that come with tourist traps, avoid them. They’re not usually made in the area, and you could order the same thing online. Not worth the money or the effort of bringing home. Save your cash for a worthwhile keepsake.
There are many ways to travel cheaply. If you’re willing to go off the beaten track and sacrifice a few creature comfort or two, you can travel on the tightest budget. So pack your bag (with essentials only), grab your metro card, double-check your AirBnB or hostel, and hit the road!
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org