Summers are approaching, which means the travel sector is going to see a spike in tourists – both inbound and outbound. For the outbound ones, the planning (and the trip itself) will be time consuming, if you’re going out of your country, you might as well see everything the place has to offer, right? Most people are too busy with their jobs to take time out. But this is not what stops most people from travelling abroad. The thing that stops people is the impression that international travel is expensive and something only the rich have the means to enjoy. This is not true at all.
People who frequently travel abroad are those who have mastered the art of budget travel, willing to take the time and effort to plan a trip at low cost, and trade luxury for the chance to see the world. If you’re low on cash but still dream of travelling abroad, all it takes is a determination to make it work and some extra effort to realise your dreams! Here are a few tips to help you plan your international vacation.
While waking up one day and making a spontaneous travel plan is fun in its own way, it is nearly impossible for international travel, not to mention expensive even if all the details fall into place.
If you’re low on cash, the best way to budget travel is to go to a place where you’re likely to spend less. Research the cost of living in different countries and the value of their currency against yours.
So if your goal is to see the world, you can start by visiting inexpensive countries first, and progress to the more expensive ones when you have more money.
This is one of the most important aspects to remember while planning an international trip with limited cash. If you don’t have a set budget, you’re unlikely to control your spending. However, if you set your limit according to the amount of money you actually have, you have a goal to stick to and if your projected expenses exceed your budget, you can always come up with ways to cut down. If your expenses seem like they’ll exceed your budget by a large margin, then you need to cancel some parts of your trip or look for cheaper alternatives to curtail your spending.
Last-minute bookings are always more expensive than tickets booked in advance, no matter what season it is. In fact, if it’s peak season, you may not even get any tickets at the last minute. Don’t book your tickets much in advance, because tickets are not exactly cheap months before the date. The ideal time to make bookings is around 2 months before your travel dates. Keep an eye out for deals and discounts, and subscribe to promotional mailing lists. Though annoying, the deals offered are often attractive and reduce expenditure by a large margin.
It may seem odd that a tip about travelling cheap is asking you to spend extra money, but travel insurance can end up saving you plenty of money in case something goes wrong. A typical travel insurance policy protects you against illness, accidents, theft and cancellation during your travel. It covers your medical costs and reimburses you in case of theft, which is often very important since medical care in most countries is not exactly cheap. Spend money on travel insurance, because if something goes wrong, this is what will save you the most money.
There are multiple work travel arrangements available nowadays, with the increase in people wanting to travel. Work abroad programs let you use your skills and offer free food and board in exchange for your time and effort, rather than paying you. WWOOF is an organisation which allows you to help out on a farm in exchange for free accommodation. You can also try teaching jobs, house-sitting or helping out your hosts in some other ways. The advantages of such arrangements are two-fold, you get to save money and get an in-depth experience of the local culture.
Compromise on accommodation and trade luxury hotels to hostels and large dormitories. Shared accommodation is always a great deal cheaper than luxury hotels, and you would end up saving a lot of money by simply staying at a hostel. You would also get to meet people from different cultures which would otherwise not be possible. Homestays are another option if you want a cheap place to stay and get to know the locals, too. Camping is another way to save money, and if the place you’re visiting supports that, tents are much cheaper than any room.
Popular restaurants near tourist spots are often expensive due to the great tourist demand in those areas. Restaurants that locals frequent, on the other hand, are usually much easier on the pockets. The best food to be had is, of course, the food on the street. Street food is the best way to get a taste of the traditional foods of the place you visit, not to mention it’s quite cheap as well. Of course, if you’re really low on cash, you may not even be able to afford this food, and the best way to save money is then to either carry food from home or cook for yourself if you have the means to do so.
The best way to experience the culture and traditions of any place is to do it like a local. If you’re staying at a hotel, ask the minor hotel staff to suggest places you should visit. If you’re staying at a homestay, befriend your hosts and ask them to show you around the place. They know the place much better than you and can guide you in ways to spend less much better than anyone else. If you take them shopping with you, they can get you things for cheap as no one else can. There’s also the added advantage of language because you’re likely to face language issues if you’re going abroad.
Local transport is not as expensive as accommodation or travelling to and from the place, but it tends to add up over time. Travelling everywhere by cab is never economical. Instead, prefer public transportation since it’s much cheaper. Most places offer daily rail or bus passes to make your local travels more affordable, and this is one of the best ways to save money on local transport. Of course, if you wish to save even more money, the best thing to do is to rent a bicycle (most places are now offering bicycles for rent at very reasonable rates), or simply walk around (walking is, after all, free). Major European cities offer free bus tours and walking tours around the place, which is the best way to get a feel of the place with little to no expenditure.If you’re still struggling to meet your budget even after following all these tips and find yourself low on cash, you can always avail a travel loan at low-interest rates through apps like Fibe, who approve your loan requests instantly and require minimal documentation to grant you the loan.