When we think of an epic vacation—or any vacation—it doesn’t take long to think: Cha-ching! Everyone says they want to travel more but pinching pennies day-to-day to save enough for a big trip isn’t always realistic. Budget travel, however, has evolved over the past decade—in big ways. While working your way around the world with a pack on your back is still an option, there are many more creative ideas for those traveling on a shoestring budget, whether solo or with a family.
From crossing exotic locales off the bucket list, to marking important milestones, such as graduation or engagement, there are lots of reasons to travel. Whether a simple weekend away or a trip through Indonesia, the perfect time for travel may be between jobs, schools or relationships—natural transitions in life when people feel the need to get away.
Before figuring out where to go and when, would-be travellers need to have an idea of what they’re willing to spend. A quick look at weekly routines can show where to trim. From a twice daily gourmet coffee habit to expensive lunches and drinks after work, there are always ways to reduce spending. Putting money aside for a rainy day may pay for a trip in just a few months.
Getting there and back can be the biggest expense of any vacation. If your destination isn’t far, driving can be cost-effective as long as you can afford the time. But between discount websites and booking in advance, there are ways to save on airfare too. Savvy shoppers save their credit card rewards points for months or years to pay for all their flights.
People on a budget (and who isn’t these days?) who manage to travel frequently know that accommodation can be expensive. But the place you rest your head isn’t necessarily where to spend the bulk of the budget. Hostels, bed and breakfasts, couch surfing or even camping are alternatives to more expensive hotels. Planning a longer stay? Try AirBNB rentals with a kitchen and offset per night costs by having breakfast or drinks at home.
Contrary to popular opinion, millennials are just as eager to experience new cultures as other generations. Especially when it comes to food. According to a recent travel study, millennials aim not only to avoid junk food when travelling (37%) but prefer to experience the exotic flavours, ingredients and cooking techniques of local cuisine (98%).
That attitude can pay off, literally, because eating like the locals is one of the best ways to save money on vacation. Eschew the tourist traps, hotels and big chains and look for local cafés and open air markets. Make lunch your biggest meal, since restaurant prices are more expensive during the dinner hour.
And local flavour doesn’t just mean food. For a completely immersive experience, ditch the car rentals, the cabs, Uber and Lyft and opt to walk, rent bicycles or rickshaws, or take public transportation. Not only is it a cheaper way to see a city or country, it’s a far more engaging way to really live in the places you’re visiting.
Looking to reach the shoestring traveller? From backpacks to hostels and couch surfing and caravans, we can help you illustrate the budget travel lifestyle.