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Travel Tips for the Budget Conscious

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Traveling the world experiencing different cultures is an expensive endeavor, right?

Not necessarily. Sure, you can spend a pretty penny when traveling abroad but, there are plenty of ways to experience the world without breaking the bank.

Of course, you’ll want to come up with a sound budget. You want to make sure you stick within your financial means while traveling, as you can easily spend far more than you initially intended to without one. But, as important as establishing and sticking to a budget may be, there are plenty of other tips that you can use when planning your trip to help you save money without sacrificing your experience.

The following tips can help you keep your travel costs on the lower end.

Travel During the Off-Season

Peak travel seasons often mean sky-high prices and travel prices tend to be at their highest when kids are out of school during spring break or over summer vacation.

If you can swing it, travel during the off-season when travel sites like Travelocity typically offer lower prices to attract more travelers. The best times to book your trip are usually between mid-September and early November or between mid-January and the end of March. Not only can you save quite a bit of money during those times, but you can avoid the crowds as well.

Be sure to do your research on what the exact low seasons are for your departure city and your travel destinations for a surefire way to find the lowest prices for your travel dates.

Avoid Baggage Fees

Paying for your checked luggage can feel like such a waste of money, yet more and more airlines are implementing these travel fees. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an airline that doesn’t charge baggage fees today.

If possible, try to limit the number of checked bags. Even better, avoid checked baggage completely and only take carry-ons with you. Reduce the number of items that you pack and consider doing laundry once or twice while you’re traveling so you can reuse the clothing you’ve packed rather than taking one outfit per day.

A great packing tip is to lay out everything that you plan to bring with you, then cut it in half. You’d be surprised at how little you need to travel abroad. When you do pack, make sure that you weigh your luggage before you head to the airport to avoid exceeding baggage weight limits (which will cost you).

Choose a Hotel with Free Breakfast

You can save anywhere between $10 to $20 on food if the hotel that you stay at includes breakfast in their nightly fees. Sites like Onetravel have plenty of options for hotels that offer complimentary breakfasts.

Travel deals can add up to quite a bit of money saved over the course of your trip. To save even more on hotels, you can install money-saving extensions to your browser, such as the JoinPiggy.com extension, which automatically finds lower rates and pays 15 percent cashback on the exact same hotel rooms you would find at Hotels.com, Expedia or Booking.com.

You can then use that saved cash to spend on something else along the vacation!

Use Photos as Souvenirs

When visiting any place outside of town, it’s typical to pick up a trinket that will remind you of your travels. But souvenirs can be pricey, and if you plan to pick up a few for your friends and family back home, the price tag can really add up.

Instead of spending your hard-earned money on souvenirs, consider taking photos of memorable spots that you explore. Not only is this a much more affordable option, but it also has more meaning because each picture represents a personal memory of a special place. Pick a handful of photos and create a scrapbook or digital album that you can reminisce on for years to come.  

Eat Street Food

One of the great things about traveling is that you get to experience culinary delights that you might not experience at home. Sure, you might have several ethnic eateries around where you live but, there’s no comparison to eating authentic dishes right from the source.

In order to help you save when eating abroad, eat like a local. Go for street food instead of eating at fast food restaurants or sit-down eateries where the prices will most likely be higher. Not only can eating street food help you save money, but it will also allow you to experience the local cuisine and vibrant culture of the place you’re visiting.

Use Public Transportation

No matter what country or city you happen to be in, car rental or taking a taxi can be expensive. But you have to get around somehow, so instead of relying solely on these means of transportation, consider taking public transit as much as possible. Be sure to do your homework on the public transportation offerings and routes of your destination before you head off.

Walking is also a great way to get around, and it’s free! In fact, walking might be an even better way to see the place that you’re visiting. When you walk you have the time to take it all in, including the small details that you might overlook from a vehicle. Again, researching the fastest and safest walking route before you leave is always a good idea.

Visit Free Attractions

Many attractions charge an entrance fee to get in, but there are plenty that are completely free of service charge.

A simple Google search will provide you with a list of free attractions and cultural sites across the globe. There are plenty of gardens, parks, and museums that don’t charge a price to get in. Before you travel, find out which local attractions are free.

Shop Off the Beaten Path

If you can keep your shopping sprees to a minimum, that’s a great way to save a lot of money. But if you must shop, consider shopping outside of tourist-laden areas where prices tend to be hiked up. Instead, visit the places where the locals go to get a bargain on great products. The items you buy will likely be cheaper and more authentic.

Final Thoughts

It’s nice to take a break from the daily grind by taking a trip, and it’s even nicer to be able to experience different scenery, weather, food, and culture in another part of the world. But as expensive as such an adventure may sound, it doesn’t have to be. Putting money-saving tips to good use can help you save without compromising your experience.

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