Photo: Unsplash/John McArthur
Travel is open, but it might as well still be closed considering how much it costs to travel abroad these days! Every dollar counts, so while you’re probably still planning a short break there might be a few useful tips that can help you save as much money as possible by avoiding unnecessary extra expenses.
Try these smart planning strategies as you plan to see the world:
1. Plan your travel budget
Unless you just won the lottery (in which case you don’t need to read this article), you need to plan a travel budget before you actually travel. What is a travel budget? Calculate how much money it will cost you to travel, how much you will have to spend on food and accommodation, how much flash money you can still afford for shopping and other things, and whether you need health or travel insurance.
2. Plan shorter stays
The longer the trip, the more it will cost. If you’re planning a shorter trip you might not be able to put everything you want to see and do on your list, but hopefully the trade-off is that you’ll be able to afford another vacation sooner rather than later.
3. Travel in the off-season
If you can travel anytime, choose the low season. Not only is the journey cheaper, the destination itself costs less. In addition, fewer people should be on vacation there at the same time.
4. Get off the beaten track
Go somewhere not so obvious. It’s quieter, cheaper and less touristy. Popular places rank high because high demand means high prices. Make your international travel affordable and enjoyable in equal measure by traveling to a more obscure destination for a one-of-a-kind adventure that not many people can brag about.
5. Be flexible with your flights
The cost of a flight can vary greatly depending on when and how you buy it. Letting the price dictate the days you fly can save you tremendously on your budget. So be as flexible with flights as your schedule allows. Flexible travel dates also give you the freedom to search for flights using the “Low Fare Calendar” search features that many airlines offer, which show the cheapest days to fly (weekday and Saturday night travel can save money). Also visit flight comparison websites to get a good deal. If you book through one of these sites, be sure to read the fine print. Your change or cancellation policy may not be as flexible as you need and could cost you more than you save.
6. Fly strategically
Not many people enjoy flights that are not direct, where they are forced to change planes multiple times or have to spend hours in airports waiting with ridiculous wait times for their next flight. But such flights are often the cheapest flights, so make them work for you. Look for flights with stopovers in places you want to see and choose those that give you at least five hours of transit time to get out of the airport and explore the city. Uncheck the “direct flights only” box when purchasing flights and you will be surprised at how much cheaper multi-route flights are compared to their direct counterparts. Tip: In some cases, it can also be cheaper to buy separate, indirect flights to your destination, so do some research before you buy the first ticket you see.
7. Discover unusual accommodation options
Aside from typical lodging like hotels, motels, or AirBnBs, consider staying at a local monastery or trying a farm stay for a different experience. Depending on where you’re traveling to, check out quirky accommodation options that tend to be both inexpensive and add to the uniqueness of your overseas adventure.
8. Take advantage of free attractions
Walking tours are a great way to see a city’s sights. Many cities offer free walking tours to local museums and attractions, pub crawls, and walking trails, so you can save tons of money walking around the city instead of paying for taxis.
9. Look for Bundles and Packages
Social media is a great way to keep an eye out for packages and discounts on entrance fees and ticket prices for places and attractions you want to visit. Book tours, excursions and experiences you want to do before you leave to take advantage of all pre-booking discounts.
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