Our Editor’s Top 10 Secrets To Ultra-Cheap Travel
With a few handy tips and tricks, it’s possible to travel on the cheap, without spoiling your holiday by counting pennies every hour. It does take a little bit of forward planning, but that’s half the fun of the adventure! Here’s a look at 10 secrets to ultra-cheap travel.
1. Research The Cheapest Times To Travel
The day of the week, month and season you travel in really does have a huge impact on prices for flights, accommodation, activities and even food. Weekends tend to be more expensive than weekdays, school holidays will send prices soaring and seasonal holidays will see you pay twice as much than off-season. Best of all, when you travel off-peak, you’ll get a speck of sand to yourself!
2. Look At Indirect Flight Routes For Long-Haul Travel
Providing you have the time to spare, looking at flights with indirect routes to your destination will save you a lot of money. Most people like to fly direct, so those routes are generally more expensive. If you can’t stand the thought of excess travel time, try to view it as a great opportunity to get out of your seat, get some exercise and explore some of the world’s wonderful airports – you might be surprised at what you discover!
3. Take Your Own Food On Flights
Many budget airlines these days offer food onboard, but at an extra cost. The prices are generally increased by more than 50%, for items you can buy at the local supermarket, such as noodles and sandwiches. Providing local customs laws allow for it, pack your own food for your flights and save that money for delicious, traditional meals at your destination.
4. Eradicate Baggage Fees
Packing light not only ensures ease of travel throughout your holiday, it allows you to beat dreaded baggage fees. Investing in smart hand-luggage, with roller wheels, compartments and easy-to-pack segments, might just save you having to take check-in luggage at all. You can also wear heavy items, such as jackets or buy a luggage jacket with ample space to store various items that might weigh down your suitcase. If you do have check-in luggage, make sure you weigh it before you leave, so you know you’re complying with the specified allowance, to avoid excess baggage fees.
5. Investigate Different Accommodation Options
Hotels are fabulous, but they’re often not the cheapest accommodation option. Other avenues to explore include house swaps, private rooms in hostels, B&B’s and home stays, especially in countries that provide a cultural difference that may be better explored from a local’s point of view.
6. Eat The Local Food
If you’re a fussy eater and you always look for the closest option to home for your meals, chances are you’re paying twice as much as the locals. Often, venturing just one street back from a main harbour, promenade or street gives you access to the local eateries. If you’re concerned about hygiene, ask at your hotel or tour desk for recommendations, only eat at restaurants that seem busy and vibrant, stick to cooked food, avoid ice and salads and check for overall cleanliness in restaurants.
7. Get Your Walking Shoes On
As long as you have a good pair of walking shoes, the world is your proverbial oyster. When you first arrive in a new place, the size of it can be daunting, but, just like your local area, there’ll be shortcuts walkers can take, that taxis can’t. You’ll see more, discover unusual quirks, meet people and really get to delve into the area. Check out the local transport system too, rather than only relying on taxis or shuttles.
8. Take A Daypack
It’s often all the little things that add up, when you’re on holidays. For example, you get lost and end up walking much further than you thought, so you have to buy bottled water, a meal and maybe some Band-Aids for your blisters. Taking a daypack with all the basic necessities and a few snacks will save you loads on unexpected incidentals.
9. Do Your Research
Before you leave home and while you’re there, research all the best local eateries, hangouts, activities, transport systems and neighbourhoods in your destination, as the best way to ensure you make the most of your travel budget. While you might be staying in an expensive tourist area, a fabulous district might be just a few streets away, with much cheaper shopping for souvenirs, great value food and affordable activities.
10. Change Your Mindset
Travelling on a budget doesn’t have to mean missing out. Once you set your travel budget and implement the tips and tricks to stick to it, you’ll find you’ll have more money left over for enjoying all the fun of a holiday; without breaking the bank.