There’s no doubt that travel can be expensive, particularly when coupled with a weak dollar, as has been the case in Australia in recent months. But travelling on a budget is possible, allowing you to see the world without paying the world for it. Here is, Better Traveller’s guide to travelling on a budget.
Plan your trip
Before you step foot outside of the country there are ways to save money. Depending on your destination, do your research to find out the peak seasons, and then choose to travel on dates outside of that, such as during the rain season. From there, be sure to book well in advance to avoid the escalating flight and accommodation costs that come with booking too close to your date of travel, and keep an eye out for specials, which most airlines tend to offer a year in advance. And while it’s advisable to seek the advice of a travel agent, be sure to shop around for the most competitive prices, even if that means booking things yourself.
Use public transport
When abroad, opt for public transport or eco-friendly travel, such as cycling, rather than costly taxis or rental cars. Not only will you be getting fit and minimising your carbon footprint, but you’re more likely to strike up conversation with and meet locals.
Do your research
If you’re making a journey abroad, you no doubt want to see the best the destination has to offer, but museums, galleries and many historical sites have costly entry fees that can make your sightseeing an expensive adventure. Do your research beforehand and find out about special entry days and times. The Museum of Modern Art [MoMA] in New York offers free entry on Friday nights, for instance, while the Louvre in Paris offers free admission on the first Sunday of each month through the winter months.
If you break down your regular monthly expenses, food turns up at the top of the list, and it’s no different—and often more so—when travelling, as you don’t often have the chance to cook for yourself and you’re more often than not spending time out socialising. Do so, but opt for street food vendors or cheaper family restaurants rather than fine dining venues or those in the tourist-centric parts of town. If you’re planning a day trip, pack a lunch, snacks and bottled water. And try to limit your alcoholic intake, or if you’re planning a night out, avoid imported liquors and beers in favour of local brews which are usually better for your budget.
Use your student card
You paid the university fees, so why not get the most out of being a student? Most cultural institutions, tourist attractions and transport systems offer a discount to those with a valid student card.
Get off the beaten track
By all means visit a city or country’s main attractions, but let yourself get off the beaten track, too, where you’ll have a chance to really experience the local culture. Businesses surrounding a destination’s tourist hubs generally hike up their prices to take advantage of foreigners. And if you’re in a country where it’s customary to do so, don’t be afraid of haggling, asking the vendor if something is their best price.
Image: Money by Martina TR 2015