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Nowadays, almost anyone can travel. Yes, the conditions may be different (accommodation, transportation etc.), but there are options for almost anyone. Different people want different things and accept different choices/opportunities. Some travel almost free, while others, like myself, do spend a reasonable amount of money on their travels. But, even if I do want some comfort and I have some personal requirements in terms of accommodation, what I want to visit, how much I want to spend, transportation, etc., I don’t want to break the bank every time I travel. I’d like to not have to worry about money while travelling, but that’s not the case.
You might have heard various tips on travelling cheap such as pick casual (temporary) work, get hired on a cruise ship, work at a hostel, choose hostels with shared rooms instead of hotels (which are pricier), hitchhike, house sit, volunteer or fundraise, house swap and other similar options.
But how do you manage to travel cheap when you DON’T want to do any of the things mentioned above? Is it possible?
Yes, it is. And here are some of my tips for travelling on a low budget but also enjoying comfort.
1. Research and only then book
Let’s say you want to visit London or Berlin. But not necessarily this year. If either of these cities are on your list (or any other city, for that matter), then start documenting. Do some research and find out when you can get the best offer in terms of flights, for instance. For that, you can check some booking websites – including those of the carriers – and see how the prices change in different periods of the year.
Go further and compare last minute offers with the “usual” ones and see if there are indeed some offers that are worth taking in consideration (which site/agency offers them, when, etc.)
2. Compare prices
Don’t go for the first offer: compare prices – online, from the various sites that offer booking services, agencies, etc. Take in consideration all the requirements you have (for instance, if I travel by car, I look for hotels that provide a parking place – preferably free; I also look for free Internet – I need it so that’s a must for me and so on.) As a funny story, while looking for a hotel in a city in Austria, I discovered that it was cheaper to stay at a four star hotel than at a three star one.
3. Find the best option in terms of local transportation
In some cities/countries, it may be cheaper to rent a car. In others, even if you got there by car, it may be easier and cheaper to travel using the public transportation (Vienna, for example.)
Also, try to find out more about the local passes. Some might be really useful (like the one in Vienna was for us), while other may not be the best choice for you (a three day pass for a 24 hours stay is definitely NOT a great option.) Do that when you pick public transportation tickets as well – calculate your route and decide: in Paris, with the subway, you’ll choose the right (and cheaper) ticket if you make a program in advance and know where you want to go.
4. Don’t eat in the fancy restaurants
If you don’t have the breakfast included, like in my case in Paris, you don’t have to eat it at the hotel (the price can be high.) Go out in the morning, buy a sandwich or something else – much cheaper. Yes, talking from experience (Paris.)
It’s the same for lunches and dinners. Try to find out in advance, online, if there are restaurants that have a happy-hour offer (there usually are) and make sure you note the addresses of those places. You don’t have to eat in the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Yes, the view is great, but you get the same view outside the restaurant as well. Maybe eat at the Donauturm in Vienna – that restaurant is indeed the only place to get a wonderful view over Vienna – the hallway not so much.
I’m giving examples of restaurants but yes, the cheapest solution is to have a place with a kitchen and make your own food. Like I said, I avoid that in my travels – I do it daily at home, several times a day, so I need a break while traveling.
5. Combine free with paid attractions
You might be tempted to visit only some places, but the budget might restrict you. For me, visiting implies the ticket, transportation and the possibility of buying some souvenirs, if I find something I like. So looking for free attractions in a city I visit is definitely on my pre-trip list.
6. Choose budget friendly cities/countries
Now, if you are not necessarily keen on visiting a specific city, then you can look for cheap holidays to start with. Choosing a city/country that can offer you great prices to start with is definitely an option. You can enjoy and have a great time and, above it all, spend as less as possible. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it’s not – just research various places in the world, read some articles and see which are the cheapest cities – see this list of the cheapest and most expensive cities to live in.
Like I said at the beginning, these are some of my tips for cheap travelling while maintain comfort. There are so many options, suitable for various preferences, ages, budgets, that almost all you have to do is decide where to go first. After that, who knows, maybe you won’t be able to stop 😉