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Globetrotting on a budget: 10 budget travel tips

Globetrotting on a budget: 10 budget travel tips

We’ve all got that friend who seems to be jetting off on holiday every other week. Their social media feeds are filled with exotic beaches, rooftop pools and scenic mountains. But how are they affording it!?

Travelling is expensive but what if I told you you don’t need to win a lottery jackpot in order to travel the world?

There are so many ways to travel on a budget and see the world without breaking the bank.

Here are my top tips to save money on your travels…

1. Travel Hack

 One thing we Brits don’t take advantage of enough is travel hacking. Travel hacking is where you collect points through your everyday spending and then use those points to pay for flights, hotels and experiences.

Points are usually collected using credit cards but you can also collect using loyalty schemes such as hotel rewards schemes or even the more everyday loyalty schemes like Nectar Cards.

Travel hacking takes time and those points may add up slowly but you’ll get there eventually. It may take a year or two but you’ll get a ‘free’ holiday!

Travel Hack Tip: If you’re collecting points via a credit card, you’ll often get bonus points if you sign up and spend x-amount within a few months. So if you’ve got any big purchases to make, research the best credit cards before you buy anything. 

Read more: A beginner’s guide to collecting Avios

2. Visit cheap destinations

This is an obvious one but it’s something most people overlook. If you’re travelling on a budget, go to cheap places!

Cities such as Prague, Budapest and Krakow, for example, are much cheaper than Paris, Barcelona or Rome.

You’ll need to do some research to find which destinations are actually ‘cheap’. For me, I like to look at the price of flights, accommodation and the number of free activities available.

3. Make sure you have free activities in your itinerary

You’re going to spend a fortune if you’re jumping from one expensive activity to another.

Most destinations have lots of free activities so mix them up with any paid things you’re doing and try to bulk up your days with free things!

Read more: Free things to do in every city

4. Travel off season / mid week

Different tourist destinations have their off seasons and peak seasons depending on factors like weather, events, festivals, and holidays. Do a bit of research to find when their off season is so you can save on food, accommodation, and transport. 

Not only is it going to be cheaper to travel in the off-season but it’s also much quieter and easier to get around.

If you don’t like the idea of travelling in the off-season (it’s not much fun taking a beach holiday when it’s cold and rainy!) then consider the shoulder season. For much of Europe that’s around May and September when things are cheaper and quieter, but the weather is still glorious.

The same applies for travelling mid-week. If you’re just away for a few days then aim to go mid week rather than at the weekend as it’s normally much quieter and cheaper.

5. Pack light with just hand luggage or free luggage

The days of getting luggage included in the price of your ticket are long gone. If you’re booking cheap flights you’ll often find that your luggage can be just as expensive as your ticket!

So leave the bulky luggage at home and travel with just hand luggage. Or, better yet, just take a small ‘free’ bag which goes under the seat in front of you.

It seems like a challenge at first but once you’ve travelled with just a small bag you’ll never look back!

Read more of my packing tips to travel light.

6. Eat like a local

Avoid touristy restaurants and head to local restaurants. 

It can feel intimidating at first, especially if you don’t speak the local language, but the food will be better and it’s much cheaper!

It’s also a much better experience to get an insight into the local culture and traditions of your travel destinations. 

To find the best local restaurants I like to ask my hotel receptionist. If you’re staying in an Airbnb you can message your host.

7. Book in advance

It’s usually much cheaper to book in advance. Not only is it cheaper but it makes it easier to budget. 

When I go away with my friends I arrange it where we’ll book our flights one month, then our accommodation the next, then pay for activities the next, then I’ll put our spends into a kitty the next. Paying for it over 4-5 months makes it much easier for everyone.

8. Use public transport

Depending on your destination, you can save a fortune by using public transport rather than hiring cars or taking taxis.

Google Maps is brilliant for navigating public transport systems so don’t be put off! You may need to do some research as to how you pay for public transport/buy tickets as this always seems to be the trickiest part!

9. Opt for group travels 

I love my annual girls holiday and that’s partly because travelling in a group makes everything so much cheaper. We hire a large apartment which is so much cheaper when split 5-6 ways. Everything else from airport parking to taxis to hire cars to tours is also cheaper when split between you.

If you don’t already have a big group of friends or family to travel with then opt for group trips.

10. Avoid the unncessary extras

The ‘unnecessary extras’ will be different for everyone.

My unnecessary extras include:

  • Buying souvenirs – I’d rather print photos as mementos once I’m home
  • Buying new clothes for my trip – It’s nice but not necssary
  • Spending lots at the airport – Champagne at the airport, a 3-course meal and all the snacks onboard aren’t needed!
  • More drinks than needed – I love a few drinks on a rooftop bar but I don’t need to stay out drinking cocktails until 4am!