A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR TRAVELING ON A BUDGET

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Post-COVID freedom

With the lifting of COVID pandemic restrictions in many countries in 2022 and 2023, traveling became trendy again. Ultimately even China, with its zero-covid policy, loosened most restrictions, allowing throngs of Chinese to take traditional home trips on Lunar New Year.

At the same time, in recent economic turmoil, with inflation and high prices, traveling on a budget is as relevant as ever. When combined, various price-forming factors will make your journey significantly affordable. The two most obvious things that come to mind are ticket price and accommodation. 

Air travel

Traveling by air is the most expensive one among other ways, and various websites let you compare airline ticket prices. Try to peruse them. Airline ticket prices may change rapidly within a day or so. As such, if there’s no urgency, try to fix your departure date to the date with the most affordable price. Booking a flight six months to a year in advance usually means the best price. At that time, supply is high, and demand is relatively flat, so the prices are shaped accordingly. As time passes by, demand rises, and so do prices. According to CyberGhost’s guide, airline websites use dynamic pricing to adjust ticket prices based on several factors. That includes demand but also may consist of your perceived ability—and willingness—to pay. If you have a track record of buying expensive last-minute flights, the airline may use that information to jack up the cost of the tickets they offer you.

A home abroad

As for accommodation, consider trying CouchSurfing, an online hospitality exchange service that lets you book an apartment or house in exchange for your apartment. Simply put, CouchSurfing users worldwide offer their apartments for free in exchange for the other side’s apartments for future travel. 

Just in case

Consider travel insurance too. While it may increase the ticket price, it will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong.

Out of tourist season

Another tip is traveling out of season if that’s possible. For example, avoid trips during the school holidays. Try traveling between the hot summer and the December holiday rush in the fall. That is called the “shoulder season”, where the sun may not shine quite as brightly, but it won’t be quite hot. Hotels and airlines lower their prices during such seasons to attract more customers.

Expenses in check

Once the above things are settled, plan your expenses at the destination point. If you’re planning to include sightseeing in your trip, know that the world’s most renowned museums typically have free hours or a day each week or month. Check that on their respective websites.

Packing

Also, pack yourself properly. Make sure you’re taking everything you need so that you don’t have to shop in your destination apart from souvenirs. No matter where you’re traveling, take at least one pair of long jeans, a warm hoodie, and a waterproof jacket for unpredictable and inclement weather.

Eating and drinking

Once you are there, drink and eat responsibly. Avoid eating at suspicious or expensively looking restaurants or bars. Generally, restaurants with bilingual menus cater to tourists and are more expensive. Also, their food may not even be as good as an authentic, local eatery. If you habitually drink beer after every meal, restrict it during vacation – your wallet and your belly will thank you.

Far away

If you’re planning an exotic vacation or simply a single-handed journey out of curiosity, there are tips even for remote countries. Nomadic Matt enumerates ten exotic places to travel on a budget. Among them are Thailand, Central America, and Cambodia. Matt writes that Thailand is the heart of backpacking in Southeast Asia, and you can get by on between $25-35 per day thanks to cheap guesthouses, budget street food, and the many cheap or free attractions. That, of course, doesn’t include the option of the islands besieged by tourists. Matt recommends  El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala for Central America. There you’ll find budget hotels for about $15-30 per night, meals for less than $5, and beer for as little as a dollar. In Cambodia, according to Matt, you can get a private, air-conditioned room for $25 and street food for between 2 and 5$. 

All in all, always take some time to plan your every journey. And Lady Luck will smile at you.

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