Okay, so you want to travel. Travelling is awesome! But, like myself you have a problem. Your skint. Or you want to go and do certain things or go to certain places, but your budget is restricting you. Stupid money. However it is possible to travel on a budget, seriously! I’ve drawn up a list of hints and tips that will hopefully be useful if you’re planning on travelling.
Maybe there’s a week you want to go, a week you have your heart set on. Unfortunately, if it’s an event you’re planning on going for you’re probably going to have to splash a little more cash than you normally would. Airlines and hotels etc will be aware this event is on, meaning that they know there will be a surge of people looking to book up. Ultimately leading them to put the price up. Real nice of them eh?
However, if you’re just looking to travel or go on a short holiday then flexibility may be your key to saving a fortune!
- I recently pondered buying a return ticket from Glasgow to Vilnius for less than £40, for a couple of days or even a month before it could have cost over £200… I know, not much of a difference eh? The secret is you have to be flexible with your dates, it can be the difference between a £1 and a few £100.
- Airlines are always chopping and changing their prices, booking in advance can save you some cash but so can leaving it to last minute. Be careful though with the latter as you may end up leaving it too late and the price may rise instead of dropping. Not exactly what your wanting.
- Try every option you can, look at nearby airports in or out of the country you’re planning on going. Say you want to visit Vienna, flights to and from maybe overly expensive and way out within your ideal budget. But say a flight to Budapest is pretty damn cheap. Budapest is 1hr 30 away from Vienna. There’s a direct train and a variety of buses that connect city to city. If you go down this route it may be a little extra hassle but if you’re saving a good deal of money it can certainly be worth it. Plus you can tick another city off your to do list!
- A great website for comparing flight prices for different airports on different days is www.Skyscanner.com. This is what I use when booking my flights, it is an actual life saver!
Depending on what city or country you’re visiting, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep. Unless you don’t sleep, in which case you need help. But I’ve made a wee list on the three main types of accommodation you should look into.
- Hotels – okay, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a 5 star hotel is probably going to cost a few bob more than a 1 star hotel. So if you’re looking to live a little lavish for the duration of your stay, depending on where you’re staying you may wish to rethink that. Hotels can be weird yet wonderful, the trick is to try and find one as soon as you can. Don’t leave it to last minute! Hotels in certain places can go like hotcakes, so you might find yourself on to plumbs if you hold off. A long story short, I paid €120 for a hotel in Dublin after a night out that (let’s just say) got a little wild. That was the cheapest accommodation available at that time, and I mean in the whole of Dublin city centre! If you’re going to a city such as Bucharest you can get a 4 star hotel for as little as €35 a night, or a 1 star from €18 and so on. The key is to find out if you’re willing to pay more for that little extra bit of quality, or you’re just happy having the basics in a hotel. But it just goes to show you can get good deals out there.
- Hostels – ahh, my favourite kind of accommodation. People can be very pessimistic about hostels, the thought of sharing a room with a whole bunch of strangers can be terrifying and unpleasant. In my experience however, it can be so much better and beneficial to stay in a hostel. Especially if you’re solo travelling. Like recently, I managed to find a hostel in the centre of Vilnius and for 3 nights it was €16. €16!!! That is like £12 for three nights, which is pretty freaking good! On the same date as I mentioned in the hotel section I searched for a hostel in Bucharest, one straight away came up for €6.24 for one night! If you’re wanting to save money and spend as little as you possibly can, hostels are the best way to do it. Sharing a room with a group of strangers can be daunting, but if you engage in conversation with them then you may end up with a friend for life. A lot of the people who stay in hostels are solo travellers from around the world. Different hostels have different activities you can partake in and get to meet new people, some people leave notes on notice boards looking for people to accompany them in either sightseeing or to the pub. If you want to meet new people or want to hang out with people during your stay then hostels are the best way for it. As well as sharing rooms, hostels also offer single rooms and double rooms and so on. The majority of these rooms are a lot cheaper than most hotels. Using Bucharest again, on the same date I found three hostels offering a double room for €22. Another wee tip for using hostels is if you’re travelling in a group of 4 or 6 or whatever, you can buy every bed available in a dorm if you can. This means you are all sharing a room with each other with no strangers, and for also a shed load less money.
- Alternative accommodation – Apart from hotels and hostels there are a wide majority of other types of accommodation. Websites such as http://www.homestay.com, http://www.onefinestay.com and many more offer you not only the opportunity to embrace the culture and get some valuable local knowledge but also offer you very cheap prices. www.helpx.net is my favourite alternative accommodation. HelpX offers you the chance to live with locals for free, as long as you’re willing to put in a bit of work. People from all over the world advertise on helpx. The tasks can vary from looking after a dog for a few hours, to working on a farm for a day. It is exciting as well as adventurous, plus it looks good on a cv!
Simple ways to save
There are many many ways you can save money whilst travelling or on holiday. I’ve put a few wee bullet points on different practices/methods below.
- Baggage – if you’re planning on going away for a few days then ask yourself “Do I really need a suitcase?”. If a simple bag with a few essentials is all you need then forget the suitcase and just use a decent sized bag. The majority of airlines allow you a generous amount of cabin luggage. If you just use a cabin bag then you can save yourself £30/£40 quid. Which is quite a lot of money.
- Research travel before you get there – when me and my friends arrived at El Prat airport in Barcelona the first time I went we realised we had a problem, None of us knew how to get to where our hostel was. We ended up getting a taxi which cost around €40. The second time I went I got a bus to the same part of the city which was only about €6. Search before you go to find the best travel methods, don’t rely on improvisation because you may end up scunnered if you do! A good wee tip is to use the tour buses that operate. The majority of them go to the major parts/landmarks of the city, so using it as a personal taxi can save you a fortune and the hassle of having to get individual forms of transport to and from where you want to go.
I have listed a few things that should (hopefully) help you save a few quid. The best advice however I can give to you is to research thoroughly the place you are going, all the information you need is online but unfortunately you may have to dig deep for it. I wish you all the best for your travels and if you have any additional tips or if any of what I have wrote has helped you then please leave a comment. Happy travelling!