Tips & Tricks on how to stretch your travel budget
If you’re anything like me, you wish that could buy a round the world ticket and travel indefinitely. But then the real world smacks you in the face and you realize that you have bills to pay. (UGH. Adulthood.) But if you suffer from the travel bug (trust, I’ve had it for three years now), there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget, so you can see more of the world. Take a read below for some of our favourite cash-saving tips:
Get a travel backpack
This is probably the best advice I can give you: Buy. A. Travel. Backpack. You’ll avoid those sneaky checked baggage fees from airlines. Embrace the art of being a light packer. It’s way cheaper (and easier) to get around.
Embrace the low season
This summer (August – September) I backpacked through Central America. I’m not going to lie, my travel buddy was nervous to travel during this time as we were going in the middle of “rainy season.” However, this worked to our advantage. Not only were flights dirt cheap, accommodations were are a lot less expensive.
Find a hostel with a kitchen
One of the best lessons I’ve learned while backpacking on a budget is looking for hostels with a kitchen. Many hostels won’t offer a place to cook because they want you to buy your meals from their restaurant. (Smart business model.) I have stayed at a few of these places, and although they are beautiful and clean, your final bill is a lot more than expected.
TBF: Travel Buds Forever
One of the best things you can do is to travel with a friend or group. Not only will you split common travel costs like a taxi and accommodations, you’ll also share the good times! Take advantage of SocialTravellers (yes, yes, shameless plug here) but the more people you travel with, the cheaper it gets.
Cash or credit?
One of the best things I have ever done was get a travel rewards credit card. (I use it for almost every purchase I make.) You won’t believe how quickly you’ll accumulate points. Plus, a lot of these cards also allow you to redeem them for flights or hotels during peak travel times. Long story short: get a points card. You won’t regret it.
Six weeks later…
I always thought this was a rumour, but there is actual data that proves that the cheapest time to buy a flight is six weeks (or 45 days) before your departure. It’s actual science. Also try to leave on a weekday (Tuesday – Thursday) as flights are the cheapest.
Protect yourself…before you wreck yourself
One of the best things you can do is buy travel insurance. You might feel invincible, but if you get hurt or sick, let me tell you, it ain’t cheap. At least with insurance you’ll be fully protected. You might not want to cough up the money at the beginning, but as my mother always said: “Rather be safe than sorry.” (Thanks, mom!)
Always pack extra sunscreen
Honestly, this is one of the best things you can do: pack extra sunscreen. You won’t believe how expensive SPF is while you’re abroad. I was in Costa Rica and didn’t pack enough. I went to the local pharmacy and a small bottle of SPF cost me $30 bucks (AMERICAN!) Now I pack at least three bottles.
There are plenty of ways to travel on the cheap. The best thing you can do before you leave is research. You won’t believe all the creative ways to save some cash while you’re on the road.