Travel has always been my life’s investment. I’d choose a new destination over a new pair of shoes or bags any day. Despite having a modest travelling budget, I’m proud to say I’ve been on my fair share of adventures around the world. If you’re like me, you will find my list of things to prioritize while travelling on a budget useful. This will allow you to soak up the experience without draining your funds dry!
Before everything else, know that the biggest way of scoring savings is through budget flights to your chosen destinations. Be on the lookout for deals the easy way by signing up for alerts and promos sent to your mail. Booking flights six months in advance is also the best way to get the lowest fares around – this is how I was able to get a flight to Egypt from South East Asia (via Dubai) for less than $600.
So, here’s what you need to consider and prioritize:
1. Skip the hotels. Choose a serviced apartment or vacation rental to get a lot of class for less cash – compared to a hotel. Serviced apartments are high on style, given that owners want their units to be rented out to tourists and so they make it attractive. Bonus: since it’s fully equipped, you can save on meals out by buying fresh produce and cooking at home on some nights during your vacation. On my last trip to Paris, we booked a chic little apartment in Neuilly Sur Seine – logistically perfect (near the metros and family-friendly areas), spacious and full of art!
2. Try new experiences. Instead of the usual tourist groups, do something that is considered to be the heart and soul of a specific country or destination to really say you experienced taking part in the culture. On my trip to Tokyo, for example, I decided to skip the usual tour groups because it didn’t meet my rather meager budget. I could just see the pictures of the temples on the Internet, anyway. Instead, I pooled my resources and paid to take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It was half the cost of the entire tour profile I canvassed, but it’s one hundred percent Japanese. For those who like to soak up on culture, it was one for the books.
3. Spend on food and not shopping. With the world getting smaller and smaller, it’s easier than ever to order an authentic garment from Italy and have it shipped to your side of the world. But there’s nothing quite like tasting downright authentic cooking right in the country it originates from. In Barcelona, we skipped the popular Spanish fashion outlets and went straight for authentic Spanish cooking. At some point, you have to admit there is something indulgent about eating take out paella, sipping crisp white wine and chilling with good friends in the Barceloneta seaside – as opposed to frantically digging through the outlet bins and burning cash on more Spanish threads.
The bottom line: Spend on something that lasts forever – whether it’s the memory of good food, basking in the natural beauty of a region, or going the off-beaten path exploring the nooks and crannies of a quaint city.