Traveling can be fun even when you’re on a tight budget. The internet has made pricing competitive and affordable for us when it comes to travel. Gone are the days of forking over hard-earned cash for the vacation of a lifetime.
Trips can be enjoyed for much less money, and more frequently too. As a matter of fact, some of the best trips involve spending little or no money on activities. All you need is a little creativity and careful planning.
In this post, you’ll find some great ways to score cheap flights, affordable places to stay, and free activities.
How to Book a Low-Cost Flight
Websites and apps like Skyscanner, Hipmunk, and Hopper have taken the low-fare search to the next level. With Skyscanner, you don’t even need to choose a place to go. It tells you where the best deals are for your chosen dates. This can save time on planning trips because you don’t have to research prices of different destinations. It can also expose you to ideas and opportunities you never thought of before.
The Hopper app can predict the best time to buy your flight, based on past fares. Paying attention to what day you look for flights is always a good idea. Fridays and weekends tend to be more expensive, while Tuesdays will give you lower rates.
Rumor has it that the more you look for a trip online, the more expensive that flight becomes, so you may want to clear your cookies before you get ready to buy.
How to Stay Cheap or Free
The absolute cheapest way to stay is to Couchsurf. Couchsurfing means you can go to any city in the world and stay for free. It’s a great chance to meet locals and live as they do. Experiencing local life without spending money on touristy activities will save you money.
If you’re not so willing to sleep on a stranger’s couch, an alternative is hosteling. A hostel will allow you to pay a nominal fee for a warm bed, shower, and kitchen privileges. Some hostels even serve free breakfast in the mornings.
The only caveat to hosteling is that you need to share a room unless you pay money for a private bed. It’s another great way to meet other people and make the trip more exciting, but you’ll need to be cautious about your valuables and call ahead to make sure you can lock them away. Many hostels come equipped with lockers. For comprehensive hostel listings, check out Hostels or Hostel World.
Spend Less While You’re There
One of the best ways to shave expenses from your trip is to plan what you’ll do before you get there. If you research free and inexpensive things to do before the trip, you won’t be caught off guard with high tourist prices. Here are some low-cost and free activities that work in almost any major city in the world:
Check Out the Local Market. The great thing about couchsurfing and hosteling is that you have access to a kitchen. This can make your trip more fun. If you’re a foodie, try going to a local market instead of eating out. A trip to the grocery store or ethnic market could entertain you for hours if you consider that you’ll also learn to cook local dishes. Grocery shopping is a good way to experience what local people are like too.
Go to a Stunning Library. A lot of people forget about these gems. There are thousands of breathtaking libraries around the world, and most of them are free. Some cities even have more than one jaw-dropping library and may have one historical and one modern. Mental Floss has a list of just a few, with pictures. Check ahead to find out about hours, as not all libraries stay open late.
Free Museums. Almost every major city has a free art museum that you can visit. Some are free daily, and others are free on certain days. London has the National Gallery, where you’ll find Michelangelo and Van Gogh free every day. Le Louvre in Paris is free on the first Sunday of the month. Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial is a free, but valuable experience. Besides the world-renown museums, many cities will have an excellent collection of other free attractions and monuments. The key is to do your research, budget the money you’ll spend ahead of time, and map all free activities before you arrive.
Traveling on a budget can be fun if you book a cheap flight, stay as a local, and explore the many free things each city offers.
Now it’s your turn to discuss. Do you have any tips on how to travel well on a budget?