Many people believe that travelling the world will automatically come at a huge expense, but really there are many simple steps that can help to make any getaway more affordable. From booking flights early to planning itineraries in advance, the trick is to get the detail correct while at the same time retaining a degree of flexibility.
With the opportunity to explore new cultures and places you have never been before, the wonder of travel lies in its ability to open the mind and deliver lifelong memories that all those involved will cherish forever.
- Save, save, save: Travelling is not something you can do on the spur of the moment. It takes months of careful planning and preparation, with saving one of the most important aspects of ensuring any extended getaway does not come to a premature end when you run out of funds.
- Pre-book flights as early as possible: There are just some things that remain true no matter the year, people get older, and flights get more expensive the closer they get to the departure date. Being organised and booking a seat as early as possible when travelling by air is therefore essential.
- Be organised: Research really can make all the difference in keeping costs down when travelling, so invest some time and effort into researching destinations before you arrive and plan ahead accordingly.
- Free attractions are amazing: Many cities that travellers visit will offer some form of free entertainment, be that a trip to the park or some of the most cultural attractions that the destination has to offer. Many of the best sights to see are free around the world, so make use of this fact when planning where to go and what to see.
- Apply for funding: For those who are travelling with a specific purpose in mind (rather than simply for leisure), travellers should look into the possibility of receiving paid support while they are out there. You might be surprised by the breadth of government and NGO funding that is available for those who know how to secure it.
- Use public transport (or even better, walk): One of the cheapest ways to travel when exploring a new destination is to either jump on the bus or Underground network. Even better, travellers should be prepared to walk, as this enables them to get a much better feel for the place and is also free!
- Watch the locals: Knowing where to get the best food at the cheapest prices or to enjoy cheap drinks on a night out is an essential part of keeping costs down when travelling. With this in mind, try to find out where it is that the locals eat and head out, as these will often be the best (and usually most affordable) places in town.
- Don’t withdraw money abroad: Banks will often charge a premium to people using their services in a foreign country. It is therefore advised for travellers to avoid taking out money at ATMs overseas. If you have to though, take out a larger sum and avoid the need for multiple transaction fees.
- Don’t exchange currency at airports: The airport is often the first port of call for any visitor to a foreign country, but exchanging money here is one of the worst ideas for those keen to keep costs to a minimum. Airport exchange rates are often highly loaded in comparison to spot rates, making them some of the places offering the worst value for money for visitors from abroad.
- Avoid city centres: Heading outside the city centre can be an excellent way to keep costs down for travellers, as often these areas will be more highly-priced than similar places just outside of the most popular, touristy destinations.
- Cook for yourself: Eating in fabulous restaurants can be a real treat, but it’s not something you can do every day when travelling. Instead, you need to be able to feed yourself, so brushing up on some basic cookery skills before heading off on a new adventure will be time and effort well spent.
- Picnics are great: A perfect way to eat out without breaking the bank is to pack a picnic and head to the nearest outdoor space. Many parks and public areas allow people to simply set up a blanket and enjoy a light bite to eat, so take advantage of these opportunities when you can.
- Look out for taster menus: Another great way to enjoy a meal for less is to be on the lookout for sample or taster menus at restaurants. They might not come complete with all the accoutrements of the finished article, but tasters can still be delicious and are often a much more affordable dining option.
- Invest in an Oyster Card: Specifically for visitors to London, the Oyster Card is an essential piece of kit to help travellers get around the city with the minimum of fuss and cost. Able to be pre-paid with fares for use on bus and Underground services, the card enables travellers to hop on and off of public transport at discounted rates.
Berry Delicious Cocktail at Shaftesbury Grand Royal
- Look out for Happy Hours: Everyone likes to enjoy a cheap cocktail (they don’t even have to be alcoholic), so keep a lookout for bars and restaurants offering Happy Hour deals – these can be some of the best ways to enjoy cut-price drinks, while also being an opportunity to socialise with the locals.
- Book attractions online: In the modern world, nearly all attractions will now operate a website and in many cases, operators offer discount codes to visitors who book advance and online.
- Find free Wi-Fi: One of the most important aspects of travelling on a budget is the ability to research on the fly, so keep a lookout for places that offer free Wi-Fi and make use of these facilities when you can.
- Travel on weekdays (except Friday): To enjoy cheaper fares, travellers should aim to move from destination to destination during off-peak hours and this normally means on weekdays or late in the evening/early morning.
- Sign up for rewards programmes: A great way to make savings before embarking on an adventure is to sign up to rewards programmes like air miles or loyalty schemes. In this way, travellers can gain points as they travel, which potentially could open up new options and cut-price deals for them as their plans unfold.
- Work (if you are able to): This might not be possible for everyone, as entry into some countries specifically prohibits visitors working, but if you should have the opportunity to earn a little extra cash during a getaway then this can often be extremely advantageous in topping up the funds.
- Choose the right destination: Ultimately, organisation is key to enjoying a cut-price travelling experience and this means researching every aspect of the country you plan to visit. Here too though travellers can make savings, as by picking those destinations that are traditionally less expensive, visitors can make their money go further and have less fear that they’ll be left high and dry without the funds to carry on.