Traveling is a double-edged sword if you’re budget-conscious. It’s enticing, but it also can be expensive, especially when it involves journeying abroad.
This is why sometimes you can be hard-pressed to strike the right balance between your budget and discovering new locations.
Here are some tips on how to do it while maximizing enjoyment based on my experiences.
1. Choose Your Experiences Carefully
This is No.1 on any budget traveler’s rulebook. You might have read about some hyped-up restaurant that everyone’s dying to know. Beforehand, do a little research. Ask a local that speaks your language or the front-desk person at your hotel. You can even check out Tripadvisor or a site like that.
You might end up overpaying for a lackluster experience, which’ll leave you with even less money to enjoy other things. Of course, not everything is the same, and some experiences are worth their price. Still, you might want to explore cheaper alternatives to be on the safe side.
Let’s say you are in Canada and you want to take a break from being a tourist and just relax. One of things you like to do is gamble online, so you can check out a site such as bonus.ca to find good deals.
No matter what you like to do, make sure you do your homework to see if it is within your budget. For example, let’s say you’re in Rome. It may be a good idea to pick a smaller restaurant outside the city center instead of going to the most famous trattorias. You’ll not only likely enjoy some great food, but you’ll also get a feel for how the locals like to eat and enjoy their time.
2. Buy Local, Real Local
Everyone wants something that acts as a symbol of their travels. And many have relatives and friends who’d like a memento or souvenir from somewhere else. This is something that, you guessed right, vendors take advantage of, demanding exorbitant prices for souvenirs for travelers.
Go to a vendor or shop and check the prices. If they are too high, try to bargain. If it is a no-go, try somewhere else. There are places where you can find local things at a good price where you will not be taken advantage of.
It is more likely these places will be off the beaten path and not in tourist-filled locations. By doing this, it also makes you less prone to scams. I was once sold a ceramic figure supposedly confected by the local population in Ecuador and later discovered the same thing labeled as being “Made in China.”
3. Bring the Necessary Stuff
A great lifesaver in budget traveling is bringing the vital stuff yourself. It can save you money, and you’ll be better prepared to tackle unexpected situations.
In any budget travelers’ kit, there should be first aid articles, clothing to fit the weather, good walking shoes, and communication devices with connectivity (roaming included).
This way, you’d be adept at tackling different situations without requiring outside help, often costing you extra.
4. Don’t Overdo It
This point has helped me develop a culture of strictly taking what’s necessary and not much else. If you tend to carry everything you can imagine, you will pay extra for baggage transportation and perhaps storage.
On top of that when traveling you want to pack lite to avoid lugging around things that are not really needed. It also prevents you from moving from place to place easily.
For instance, staying in different towns in the same country is much more difficult, as you’ll need to arrange transportation for all your stuff or pay for baggage storage.
5. Use the Local Public Transport
It’s very convenient to rent a car and go wherever you want, but there are two major disadvantages. First, it’s generally more expensive than using local transport. You may also have restrictions such as being unable to cross borders and simply not being used to the locale you are at.
It’s also an isolated experience. You’re in your vehicle bubble, disconnected from the rest of society. Using local transport is much more inclusive. You get a glimpse of what everyday life is like for people there, and you also travel to chosen destinations at a fraction of the cost.