Traveling on a budget can be just as fun as traveling with a million dollars… well close anyway 😉 I recently went to Iceland on a solo journey through the volcanic lands of the northern island of the Atlantic. Iceland is expensive. I went on a tight budget and still managed to have a blast! Doing a little research before you go is key to having fun without spending your retirement on one vacation. Here are my 10 tips & tricks for traveling almost anywhere on a budget:
Join travel groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Getting to know people through social media is the new coffee house date. Jump in there and start commenting and posting on all of the travel groups you join. Locals will talk about their favorite places and many times these are restaurants and bars have reasonable prices. Ask questions like, “what do you do for fun as a local?” or “What are some free adventures or traditions does your area offer?” Locals usually love where they are from and take pride in their cultural traditions, just as you do, and they will share these traditions with you if you ask! Use the web to your advantage and search the internet for people just like you, you never know what you’ll learn or how you’ll save until you try.
Eat all of the street food.
If you are looking for a healthy tip just keep on scrolling’… street food defines many places around the world and the prices are usually pretty cheap compared to a full-service restaurant. They may not have fresh kale rolls for a dollar but you will find the staples, like hot dogs and pancakes and tempura and much much more! Take Iceland for example, super expensive meals at restaurants may sound enticing but stop in at a local hot dog stand and ask for a dog all the way and you’ve got yourself 5 stars smothered in sweet mustard! This may not be for everyone but this saved me a buck or two every meal and was well worth the tastiness I got out of the deal. Look online and ask your travel groups (that you obviously joined immediately after reading my #1 tip right?) what is their favorite street food? You’ll receive back a plethora of options all of which are recommended by actual people who have been there to taste test for you.
Take city transportation, whatever form that may come in. If you are traveling to a country that has city buses or rails, take them. This cuts travel cost down extensively and make for an adventure you can’t get any other way. You will experience life like a true local rather than a ritzy tourist and this type of experience is what world travel is all about. Get your hands dirty and buy that bus ticket! Some countries have bikes for rent or even free! There are many apps you can download for bus schedules and even ticket purchases, just remember if you are using your phone make sure to keep it charged, bring an extra battery or a chord with you at all times when traveling!
Meet people and ride share. In many countries including the U.S meeting people and ride sharing is something super easy to do. If you are like me you plan on hitting up a few bars and chatting with locals. Use this time to plan adventures with them! Ask them recommendations and invite them along, chip in a few bucks for gas or offer to take some photos of the adventure in exchange for a ride. These friendships have the potential to last a lifetime and that is something every traveler wants. Can you imagine having friends all over the world? You’ll learn more than you ever dreamed of and get to experience different cultures first hand by simply being social. Don’t forget you save money when you share experiences with others!
Go grocery shopping. If your hotel room has a fridge even better but you don’t really need a fridge or microwave to get groceries. Non-perishables like peanut butter and honey sandwiches or crackers and fruit like apples or bananas. You can get creative and once again ASK THE LOCALS what they recommend. Some places have things like canned herring and a loaf of rye bread and your eating what they eat every day. Running around in a foreign grocery store is probably one of the most fun adventures you’ll have during your vacation. It’s always the small things in life that bring the greatest joy. Seeing different foods and packaging and trying new fun flavors is something every human should do at least once in their life! This will save you a ton on food, who needs to eat out three meals a day? Not me! Bring on the sandwich!
Hike the Terrain. This is a no brainer. Walking is free and seeing the landscape close up is where the magic happens. Remember when you were a kid and you would pick up rocks and twigs and leaves you thought were cool? All of that nostalgia comes rushing back when you place yourself in a foreign wilderness. A sense of inspiration is bound to take over and there you’ll be creating moments you can’t wait to tell others about. Find the charm wherever you are, it’s there waiting to be discovered and doesn’t cost you a dime!
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons! Just because you weren’t born there doesn’t mean you can save like a local! Almost every place in the world has coupons of some form. It’s a quick and easy search online or grab a few free coupon books while you’re walking the city streets. Whether it’s for fast food or fine dining, your saving wherever you go.
Put aside one day to stay around the hotel. Usually, there is a free breakfast and some places offer a free dinner as well. Plan a day by the pool or a day bar hopping around the hotel, whatever your style you’ll be close to the free food and won’t spend anything on transportation for that day. Try choosing a hotel near simpler adventures like walks on the beach or boutique shopping. It’s like a Sunday for your vacation week. It’s nice to have a day to think about nothing, a day without planning or timing anything. Flow with the wind and have a chill day, you’ll get more out of this kind of day than you can imagine.
Travel with a group. Sharing is caring… for your wallet at least! Get a group of four to eight and travel in style by splitting the cost of the hotel, and food. This gives you the freedom to spend on what you really want and you’ll be sharing that experience with your friends. Don’t have any friends that can go with you? Try posting on that travel group page I mentioned in tip #1 and see if you can plan a trip with new friends! Make sure you keep an eye out for fraud, never send money to anyone, there are other ways to get the job done when making travel reservations. Some websites even let you use multiple forms of payments making it easy to split the bill with whomever you please.
Home cooked meals. If you are lucky you will meet new friends and one of them will invite you to their home for dinner. This is something we have all seen on shows like Anthony Bourdain and others. I know when traveling to Cuba this is the preferred method of vacationing, staying with a family and eating home cooked meals daily. Many other countries welcome guest into their homes and enjoy sharing new culinary delights close to their hearts. Experience family recipes passed down from generations and dinner table talk that still happens across the globe every night. Be a part of something special and join a family for a week. Find social media sites that offer these types of services like www.casaparticular.com if you happen to be traveling to Cuba or www.homestay.com for worldwide family accommodations. These methods are usually cheaper than hotels and give you an unmatched experience to take home.
Until Next Time,