The vast majority of people want to travel in one way or another, whether it’s for a weekend away visiting family or a round-the-world, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Of course, the major stumbling block is money, particularly when the global economy isn’t in particularly good shape and many people are struggling financially. But the chances are that you can travel for a lot less than you think you can. You might have to put a little more effort in or make some small sacrifices, but it’s often said that the less you spend, the more you’ll see.
It’s well known that booking as far in advance as possible and travelling at inconvenient times are healthy options for your bank balance, and shopping around using any of the readily available price comparison sites can save you a considerable amount of money for very little extra effort. Choosing indirect flights can bring your travel costs down further as it is a little more inconvenient, but often this will only add a few hours to your travel time, and the savings can certainly be worth it. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for any inconsistencies in prices, especially when travelling by rail – sometimes paying for individual parts of your journey separately can be cheaper, and a little searching can often reveal a variety of discrepancies that you should definitely take advantage of if you have the chance.
Another way to minimize travel costs is to not actually travel anywhere. The ‘staycation’ has been gaining popularity recently. It involves staying at home, unhooking the phone, relaxing and doing all the things in your local area that you’ve always wanted to do but somehow never quite got around to. A house-swap with a friend is also a good option. This way you have no accommodation or transport costs, but still get to spend time relaxing and doing new things.
Admittedly the staycation isn’t for everyone, and if you do decide to travel further from home, it’s worth thinking about the old phrase, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Learn a little of the local language, find out where the locals eat in the evenings, how they get around their hometown and where they shop. You’ll make them happy and get to enjoy the same prices they do, just a few streets away from the far higher prices that tourists are often unwittingly subject to, especially in less developed countries. You also get a more authentic feel for the country you’re in, and will no doubt meet a range of interesting characters if you make the effort to talk to the locals in their own language.
If you’re planning on travelling for an extended period, it becomes more worthwhile to consider self-catering or camping, and cooking your own food, rather than staying in a hotel every night. It’s not as luxurious, but the savings can be astronomical over several months. Another option is to find casual work now and again, even if it’s just doing some cleaning in the kitchen in exchange for a bed for the night. Doing this a few times can save a lot of money.
Finally, there are the more extreme options. Hitchhiking and cycle touring are no longer restricted to students and teenagers with poor personal hygiene, as people of every generation realize what a fantastic way it can be to see the world on a shoestring budget, meet interesting people and really get to know a country. The world is generally a far safer place than the media would have us believe, and very few people have serious problems when travelling in this way. It does involve a few sacrifices, but for those who are willing to give it a shot, it often turns out to be the perfect solution.
So take a few chances and try something a little different – you may be surprised how much more fulfilling travelling for less can be. You really will get more of a feel for what the country you’re visiting is actually like, and you’ll see so much more than the average tourist gets to see.