How to Travel on a Budget – Our Top Cheap Travel Tips
Part 3: How to travel for Cheap
If you want to travel on a budget the best way is to do it independently.
All-inclusive resorts may be easier but you are paying for the convenience and really, don’t you want to sample the local culture?
Travel During Off-Peak Times
It’s well known that travel during high season is expensive.
But what isn’t so well known is that traveling in the offseason or shoulder season can be just as fulfilling as traveling at peak times.
We’ve been to Santorini when it was close to closing for the season and had balmy weather. We also got a steal on a luxury hotel with infinity pool.
Off Peak is Different Everywhere
But remember, what is “off-peak” seasons change around the world.
The Caribbean travel may be low season in the summer months of June – August, but it is high season in South America during these times.
Do your research to find out when the best time to travel to a destination is and then look for shoulder season deals.
We spent shoulder season on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and had incredible accommodation and car rental deals while still enjoying excellent weather and fewer crowds.
Hire local guides
We booked our treks to each mountain once we arrived in the country.
By hiring a local guide, we know that all the money we spend goes to them instead of the tour company.
Eat at local restaurants
If you want a truly authentic experience, eat where the locals eat.
If a place is filled with local people, you can be sure that the food is fresh, delicious and affordable.
Shop at Local Markets
Forget shopping at Duty-Free stores or boutiques, shop at local markets for handcraft designs and handmade clothing.
We have walked away with amazing works of art for bargain basement prices that have been conversations pieces for years when on display in our home. (well, when we had a home)
Shopping at the local markets not only save you money, but you contribute to the local economy.
Make sure to be ready to barter, it’s all part of the fun.
Take Local Transport or Walk
Booking tours from your hotel is expensive.
We’ve gone outside, hailed a taxi or tuk-tuk and asked them how much to be hired for the day.
Or you can go downtown and find a local travel agent and ask them how much to hire a guide and driver for the day. They can take you on a tour and you’ll see a different side of the city.
Or grab a map and a guide book and walk yourself, hire a bicycle or hop into a rickshaw.
You’ll have way more fun sightseeing locally than from behind the glass of a tour bus.
Take Advantage of Free Attractions
After taking advantage of all the free attractions, museums, and discounts, we barely spent anything on our European vacation.
Many cities in Europe offer discounts at museums after a certain hour or even have many free attractions.
Many museums in cities are free.
Most cities offer free walking tours where the guides depend on tips.
Check with the website of the local tourist board when you arrive or look online to see what things are free in each city.
City passes help to save a lot of money as well. Just do a simple google search like “Free Things to do in Paris.”
Travel to Europe can be very expensive but you can eat gourmet meals by shopping at the supermarket.
We’ve eaten like royalty after visiting a market and buying a nice bottle of wine for €2-€4 while indulging in fresh meats and cheeses for next to nothing.
Bring a blanket and a basket to one of the stunning parks on the continent and enjoy a real European experience.