We don’t have to be in a recession to think about our travel budget. It is horrible not having enough cash for a vacation, however the economy is faring. Most of us want value for money irrespective of how much we are spending, and being able to make our money go further, or even, take us further is one of our happiness factors. If you fancy a vacation, but can’t afford a luxury all-inclusive stay, or expensive intercontinental airfares, there are ways of getting the most out of a meager travel budget. Here are 8 Ways to Stretch Your Travel Budget to the Max:
1. Save on Transport
Getting to a destination is always going to eat up a big chunk of the travel budget, but you don’t have to fly to find great places for a vacation. If you’re in Europe, Interailing is still a good cost effective way of getting around the continent, and elsewhere there are always offers on train fares. If you’re in the USA, Canada or Australia, make the most of cross country rail and get out and see your own marvelous countries. And, don’t forget buses too.
You may already heard of this. More than 1 million members have signed up to couchsurfing.com and there has been an estimated 5.6million couch surfing experiences to date. The website helps people all over the world to connect with willing hosts who put ‘surfers’ up in their own homes, and act as a personal local tour guide. It’s a fantastic way to see places with a limited travel budget and perfectly safe as there are vetting procedures and you have to be recommended and vouched for.
3. Out of Season
Unless you’re tied by kids of school age, going on vacation outside of high season is one sure way of making your travel budget go further. Everything in mid or low-season is much cheaper. Going off-peak doesn’t mean you don’t get the best weather. For example, late spring and late summer in Mediterranean countries means a very pleasant climate. If you’re traveling to places like India, don’t visit places when there are major festivals happening (there are multitudes of them), and unless you can afford the real blow out expense and are going there for the specific purpose, avoid destinations when there are major events on – such as the London Olympic Games, the Rio Carnival, Christmas in New York. This is when prices will be at a premium.
A limited travel budget can be made to stretch further by doing a little hard work yourself. Whilst it’s nice to find a good deal on a hotel with a few clicks of your mouse, you may well be very surprised by how much less you can get your room for if you book directly and negotiate the price. Don’t forget to check the websites of hotel directly for special offers as these will be different to the ‘bucket’ sites and bargains may be found. You might also like priceline.com which allows last minute bidding on flights and hotels.
5. Work It
One sure way of making up for lack of travel budget is to work overseas. It’s an excellent way to really get to know a country, but don’t take a job that leaves you no time for sightseeing and exploring. You don’t need any specific skills; at harvest time all around the world there’s always a demand for willing workers, there’s bar work, being an au pair, a tour rep, or even TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language). You will need to fall in line with working-holiday visa regulations so make sure you research these before planning.
6. Be Smart about Destinations and What You do
Your vacation money is obviously going to go further in some places than in others. Less wealthy countries are going to give you more bang for your buck as well as some truly interesting and rewarding experiences. In places like India, Bangladesh, Laos and Cambodia, your travel budget will go a lot further, and even more so if you avoid big cities. These countries are incredibly beautiful and many of their simple and greatest pleasures are free. Enjoy the scenery, walk, cycle or take inexpensive train rides, and laze on glorious beaches.
If you love the outdoors, why do you need a hotel room? You can make a camping trip great fun. Camping equipment is very sophisticated these days, so if you must have some home comforts you can. Camping gives you freedom, fresh air and exercise. Make each day an adventure, learn to cook on rudimentary equipment and even have singsongs around a camp fire (subject to permission). A tent and equipment is a great long-term investment, and you’ll always be able to afford a camping vacation, even if it’s only for a couple of days.
8. Self Catering
Holiday companies and tour operators have really played on our ideal vacation being one where we are pampered, and many of them now flog all-inclusive as if that’s the only option. It’s terrific if you can afford it, but when you have to stretch that vacation budget you should think about self catering. It may sound horrific at first; after all you go on vacation to get away from the daily grind. But, turn it into an adventure and you’ll see things differently. First of all, if it means you can afford to get away, then you’re already on to a winner. Secondly, staying in self-catering accommodation means you have complete freedom of doing what you want when you want and lastly, see it as the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local cuisine. Use local ingredients, try new foods, and maybe even catch your own food if there’s a fisherman in your party.
I hope these tips for getting more out of your travel budget provide you with food for thought, and maybe you’ll be able to afford that vacation after all.