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Budget Travel Tips: 7 Ways to Keep Costs Low on Your Next Adventure

One of the biggest things that prohibits people from traveling is money. When you combine airfare, food, hotels, and other expenses, traveling can get really expensive really fast. However, money doesn’t have to stop you

Travel on a budget is possible; it just takes a little extra planning and perseverance. There are ways to reduce the costs of all aspects of travel, so check out our budget travel tips to figure out how you can save money on your next trip.

  1. Air Travel

Nowadays, everyone wants to get a better deal on the rising cost of airfare. If you think that airfare prices are rising every time you look at a website, you’re not crazy. Always search for flights by using your browser’s private browsing mode. Otherwise, websites will be able to track multiple searches for a flight, and they’ll raise the price to scare you into buying. Searching in private browsing mode will ensure that the site shows the actual lowest price.

You should also try using budget travel sites that scour different airlines to find the best deals. Sites like SkyScanner have no extra fees and guarantee to find you the cheapest route to your destination. Instead of booking through one airline, these sites can combine multiple airlines on your trip in order to get the cheapest fare.

While direct flights are more convenient, consider taking a cheaper flight that includes stops. As long as the layovers aren’t too inconvenient, you could save a big chunk of change simply by sacrificing an hour or two at another airport.

  1. Food

Restaurants in tourist-heavy areas are going to have higher prices than restaurants in lesser-known neighborhoods. Get off the beaten path for you food; try asking locals for recommendations.

Restaurants in tourist-heavy areasIf you want to avoid pricey restaurants altogether, check out local grocery stores. Shopping in local grocery stories is a fun cultural experience since you can see what kind of food local people eat. You can pack yourself a picnic, eat outside, and enjoy the surroundings of your travel destination.

Always carry a reusable water bottle with you. Chances are, you’re going to get thirsty throughout the day, and if you keep buying water bottles or other drinks, those will add up. Find a good water bottle and fill it up whenever you get the chance.

  1. Car Rental

If you rent a car, be careful with the details. One way car rentals (where the pickup and dropoff locations are different) tend to be way more expensive than picking up and dropping off the car in the same place. If you can swing it, always go for the standard rental. It may be less convenient, but it can save you a cool couple hundred dollars.

Before you pay for the insurance that the rental place offers, check to see if you’re already covered. Some personal insurances and credit cards actually cover car rental insurance, so there’s no need to pay for what you’re already covered for.

It’s best to opt out of services that offer to fill the car’s tank for you. No matter how much gas is left in the car when you return it, you’ll still get charged for the price of a full tank of gas.

  1. Ground Transportation

In Europe, many railways offer multi-day discounts if you’re going to be traveling a lot. Always do your research beforehand to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If the night train is an option, they tend to be significantly cheaper than the regular train.

Slower transportation methods like buses are often cheaper than their faster alternatives. Compare prices before you decide which method of transportation to take, and remember that you can always use long trips to catch up on sleep.

While traveling around a city, opt for mass public transit instead of taxis. It might take a little bit of extra work to figure out the subway or buses, but mass transit is generally significantly cheaper than taking a cab.

If you’re traveling to a destination that you’re able to reach by car, consider driving. Even if it means taking an 8-hour road trip, chances are it will be cheaper, especially if you’re traveling in a group. It also means that you’ll have a car when you arrive at your destination, and that means you can save mean on taxis or public transport.

  1. Currency

Traveling to a country with a different currency adds another level of trickiness to budget travel. Keep a careful eye on exchange rates, and try to plan your trip when the exchange rate is most in your favor.

When you arrive in the country, try not to exchange currency right away. Often, the exchange rates are skewed to your detriment since they know that just-arrived travelers often want to exchange their currency right away. Search the internet to find out where the best exchange rates are so you don’t lose money for no reason.

Since currency exchange rates are always changing, prices on international websites can be inaccurate and may be costing you more than necessary. To be sure that you’re getting the best price, try using the local version of the website. You can exchange your currency into the local currency when you check out, using the most up-to-date exchange rate.

  1. Accommodations

If you’re traveling to a big tourist destination like New York or Paris, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a truly cheap place to stay. Consider looking for a hotel somewhere just outside the city. There are many places that have easy access to big cities via public transport, so as long as you don’t mind the commute, you can save a lot of money.

With the rise of Airbnb, travelers have a new option for travel accommodations. Before you book a stay at a hotel, see if you can book a local apartment. You may find a much cheaper place in an even more desirable location.

Many hotel chains offer rewards for members. If you’re planning to travel a lot, consider staying at the same hotel chain in multiple locations. Your multiple bookings will help you rack up points that can equate to extra discounts or even free nights. Members often get smaller perks as well, like free internet.

For travelers willing to sacrifice the luxury of a private hotel room, hostels are a great way to save money and meet other travelers. Hostels tend to have large bedrooms that you’ll share with other travelers, as well as shared bathrooms and common areas. While they’re generally not as fancy as a hotel, they’re excellent choices for travel on a budget. A night at a hostel is usually a fraction of the price of a hotel. Sites like HostelWorld make it easy to see how hostels around the world compare.

  1. General Tips

While there are probably certain things you feel like you have to see in a certain city, try to look for low-cost or free attractions. The most popular attractions tend to have really high prices because people will pay them anyway. It may be better to skip the big name item and see four or five lesser-known attractions to get more bang for your buck.

If you qualify, discounts are a really easy way to save money with no effort. If you’re a student, always check to see if a student discount is offered. So many places offer discounts to students, and this doesn’t just include transportation and hotels — you’ll find that museums and attractions often have special student rates. Carry your student ID with you everywhere and ask just in case. The same goes for other groups: senior citizens and children often qualify for discounted rates.

Group discounts are available at a lot of places, whether it’s for hotels, attractions, or tours. If your friends are into traveling, it may be worth getting a group together to see what kind of discounts are available to a larger group of people.

If you’re able to, consider visiting destinations when it’s not peak season. Everyone wants to go to the Caribbean in the summer or visit the Alps in the winter, and so everything from airfare to hotels tends to be more expensive during those times. If you schedule your trip during the off season, prices won’t be hiked up.

Another great budget travel tip is searching for coupons. The internet is full of useful discounts for almost everything, so before you buy, take a few minutes to do a quick Google search. Typing in “x coupon” can take you to sites that have discount codes and coupons that can save you easy money.

Make Travel Better Today

Money doesn’t have to prevent you from traveling. While it may take more planning, budget travel is definitely achievable. Give yourself a good chunk of time to look out for the best deals, and you’ll save hundreds on things like airfare and hotels. No matter where you go or how you get there, make sure you bring your Cabeau travel pillow and travel accessories so you can be sure to arrive refreshed and ready for adventure!

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