Archive for the ‘Budget Travel’ Category

Photo By kokorowashinjin

Photo By kokorowashinjin

Picture this. You are sitting back in your all inclusive hotel and relaxing in the sun when you notice an exclusive snorkeling excursion offered that will take you around the island, provide you with a romantic dinner, and show you a number of exclusive sights that normal tourists do not get to see.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

The problem is that the opportunity is only going to be perfect if you planned to have enough money to make it happen.

And that isn’t always as simple as we thought.

The last thing you want after a big vacation is to feel like you missed out on something, have any regrets, or be dealing with credit crunching debt. This is especially true if you end up traveling somewhere in a group and all your friends can afford an excursion while you can’t.

For many, the days of traveling on a bare bones budget with barely enough to survive are over. Living off of food scraps, sleeping in seedy accommodations and skipping out on luxuries used to be the epitome of a good time.
Things certainly do change over time don’t they?

Thankfully, it is possible to have your cake and eat it to when it comes to budgeting and traveling for pleasure. If you plan ahead, search for bargains, and cut out some overpriced tourist luxuries, then there are ways to afford an excellent vacation on a reasonable budget.

All you need to realize is that budgets aren’t always as much of a downer as people think. Do it right and the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks.

So let’s get our travel budget done.

Not All Destinations are Equal

If we want to create a travel budget properly then the first thing we have to do is accept the fact that not all destinations are equal, or even affordable. One week in certain destinations in Europe can cost exponentially more than an entire month in a South American destination. The fact that most of South and Central America is more affordable makes planning a little bit easier, but there are still noticeable variables all around.

To budget properly for a vacation means to be prepared. While your dream may be to sit in a quaint coffee shop in Paris and watch the sunset, you need to ask yourself whether you would rather pay the same price for a cup of coffee in France as you could for an entire night’s stay in a Latin American hotel.

While traveling is all about personal preference and choice, you need to really think about the global financial situation. Back in the 1960’s Europe was easy to do and see on less than $5 USD a day. Now you would be lucky to find one, classy alcoholic beverage for less than $15. This price difference is especially glaring if you have a flair for luxury. You can settle down in a 3 or even 4 star hotel in places like India and Argentina for $50 a night. However, if you walked into a hotel in Madrid and slapped down a $50 bill you would be laughed out of town.

Thus, the best way to begin a budget is to figure out how much you can spend, and then compare what that money will get you in different places of the world. If your budget is $1,000 and it means you can only stay in a place like Norway for 2-3 days maximum is it really worth it?

Starting your Travel Budget like a True Financial Expert

Start off planning your budget by sitting down and figuring out the maximum amount of money that you would be ok with spending on your vacation. The good news here is that you can usually bump that figure up a bit because of all the money you are saving by not being at home. For example, food costs, utilities, your phone bill, and so on.
So if you decide that you have a maximum of $2,000 to spend on your vacation, then you begin by subtracting the price of airfare from your budget. If your flight costs $800 then you have $1,200 to spend while you are in the chosen destination. If you plan on spending two weeks away from home, then you now have just over $85 to spend per day including food and accommodations.

That is more than enough cash for some places, but far from enough in others. You may notice that some destinations you seemed “destined” to see just are not meant to be. Does this mean that you are forced to sit at home and do nothing again this winter?

Absolutely not.

The Dreamer’s Budget

This is the style of budget for people who simply want to make things happen. If you want it bad enough there are always ways to get it.

Sit down and look at your dream destination and try to calculate how long you will need to stay there. How long will it take to see everything you want to see and do everything you want to do? Next, figure out how much it is going to cost to see and do all of those things and stay in your destination for X amount of days.

All that is left to do is to convince yourself to spend that much money. If you simply cannot come up with the money, then try to lower your expectations for accommodations or plan the trip in the offseason. Even try cutting down on costs at home for a month or two beforehand. If you want that vacation bad enough, you will find a way to get it.

Putting Together your Travel Budget

Once you have decided where you are going, and have a good idea of how much you have to spend, it is time to get into the actual budgeting.

It may not be fun and it may not be easy, but it is the best way to make sure you make the most out of your dream getaway.

Here is how you can come up with the total cost of what you think your vacation is going to end up setting you back. (Or forward if you are a positive thinker)

1- Pre-Vacation Costs

These are the costs of everything that you will be purchasing before the vacation. This includes any visas you need to get, new clothes, sunscreen, a new camera, or anything you may be investing in to make the trip that much better.

2- Air Travel

Look online and come up with an approximate cost for airfare for the specific time of year you are traveling. Be sure to sign up with a site such as to ensure you get the best deals.

3- Miscellaneous Transportation

This part of the trip cost includes taxis, buses and other ways of getting around that you will be using for your trip. You can utilize guidebooks to give you a good idea of cost and the itinerary of the attractions you want to see will give you information on what transportation you will be using.

4- Accommodations and Meals

The best way to estimate the cost of your accommodations and food over the course of your vacation is to use the internet and up to date guidebooks. While it is pretty impossible to come up with exact figures, there is more than enough information out there to give you an excellent guesstimate.

Keep in mind that there may be fluctuation in pricing while you are there and since other tourists have been there. If you plan something such as $50 a night for accommodations for 2 weeks, be sure to add about 10-15 percent to keep you safe in case there have been changes. So if you calculated that 2 weeks for accommodations will be $700 be sure to $100 just to be safe.

The same goes for meals.

5- Extra Activities

If you do not plan ahead and budget for extra excursions and fun activities then they can destroy your budget. These experiences are things such as sailing, rafting, snorkeling, fishing, and so on. Chances are that these opportunities are going to be all around you and you won’t even know you can do them until you get there.

So once again to be on the safe side you should check guidebooks and the internet as well as call travel agents to see what sort of activities are abound in the area. These resources can give you a good idea of what different excursions will cost and which you are interested in. However, it is also a good idea to always budget a little extra for this part of your trip as you never know what opportunities you will come across or what sort of deals you will stumble upon.

6- Miscellaneous Purchases

This is the category of your travel budget that you want to add a little extra money to. This will cover things like any clothing or souvenirs you buy, beverages, postcards, tips and a whole host of other things. Whatever you think is an appropriate number to add into this section, add at least 25% more to it.

Putting it All Together

The key when it comes to budgeting for travel is to overestimate. One of the safest ways to budget is to add up all of the money in these categories and then once again add an additional 10% to 15%. When you are not at home you simply never know when unexpected expenses will arise, or what temptations may surface.

You are far better off over exaggerating your travel budget than underestimating it. If you end up coming home from your dream vacation with extra money in your pocket, that will be a definite bonus. However if you come home from your dream vacation to an unbearable credit card bill, then your wonderful vacation memories can often fade.

If you have finished creating your budget and find that the grand total is out of your reach it doesn’t have to mean the end of your vacation plans. The principle of a budget is to figure out what you have and what you can afford. If it looks like your trip is going to shift your bank account into overdraft then reconsider a few purchases, items or attractions. You still have time to cut down on costs and alter the plan to fit your lifestyle and your budget.

Lastly, avoid budgets that take into account only the basics. Not only will you often have less fun but you will often end up spending far more money than you originally planned to. Take into account what you can afford, leave some room for leeway, and make your dream vacation happen.

If you want it that badly, you will find a way to get it.

Viking Cave Photo By Fitri.Agung

Viking Cave Photo By Fitri.Agung

Simply put, the cost of living in Thailand is astronomically lower than the majority of cities within Europe, North America and most of the world. There are an exponential amount of expats that are finding out how easy it is to get by on as little as $10 a day. The better news is that if you take advantage of these tips for living cheap in Thailand you may even be able to live on even less than that. Sounds like the perfect escape doesn’t it?

Well it can be.

This type of living isn’t for everyone, and there are many people in Thailand that spend an incredible amount of money per month in order to live affluently. However, if you are considering moving abroad to save money or are interested in finding an affordable vacation then this is the article for you. All you need to do is use common sense and cut a few corners here and there, and you may save more money than you even realize.

Where and When to Visit Thailand

One of the best ways to save money when traveling to Thailand is to plan your trip according to the low season. This is between May and November and means that prices for absolutely everything from airfare to hotels and even food at classy restaurants are a lot cheaper. You can even rent scooters for a better price and get discounts on attractions, drinks and shows.


An added advantage to the low season in Thailand is the fact that there are fewer tourists in the area, which means better access to a number of places and events for you. On top of that most business owners will be dropping prices and throwing in amenities and bonuses in order to compete for your valued money.

Steer Clear of Touristy Areas

Places such as Phuket and Ko Samui are known as top tourist destinations in Thailand, which means they come with extreme prices and are full of merchants looking to take the most money out of your pocket as possible. If you want to save money and connect with the “real” Thailand then try and head to the South and North Eastern parts of the country.

Cut Down on Island Living

The islands of Thailand are incredibly impressive and well worth a visit, but expenses can really stack up in these areas. Everything in the area needs to be imported which means prices for food, drinks and even services are much higher than on the mainland. You will definitely want to tour the islands, but leave your wallet at home and stick to souvenirs and restaurants in cheaper areas.

Overnight Traveling

Hotels and accommodations are probably going to be the most expensive part of your stay in Thailand, but you can eliminate part of that cost by taking overnight buses and trains. You can travel to an all new part of Thailand and get a decent sleep as many of the trains in the country are quite comfortable. While there are a number of overnight buses, trains are considered to be quite a lot safer, and far more comfortable.

Dining and Sleeping in Thailand

A good tip for traveling in Thailand is to never feel bad when locals, or anyone for that matter, offer you free things. Many Thai families are more than willing to share what they have and it is a part of their culture to display their kindness and ability to host. Turning down an invite to dinner may seem ruder than simply accepting and counting your blessings. Who knows, a family dinner may even lead to a free place to crash for the night. Now that’s what we call traveling cheap.

While you may not need to fork over any money, you should always be willing to give what you can when dining in someone else’s home or crashing on their couch. Simply offering to do the dishes or run some errands can go along way, and help you feel more welcome during your stay.

Find Free Water

You may not realize how expensive purchasing bottled water every day can get, especially when you are used to your Brita filter or just drinking from the tap. Instead, give this idea a try. Purchase large bottles of water, which are cheaper in the long run anyways, and then feel free to refill them in your hotel lobby before you head out for the day. It is quite a common occurrence for people to do so and you will not get the weird glances in your direction like you may if you did the same at home.

Fight your Urge to Tip

A lot of people see a lack of tipping as rude, but that is simply not the case in Thailand. While a lot of us have been raised and taught to tip based on good service, it is simply not expected in Thailand. Locals do not tip and foreigners are not relied upon to either. In fact, in some instances tipping is seen as a rude and unnecessary display of wealth.

Indulge in Local Cuisine

Surely you have had your fill of western food before heading to Thailand. To be honest, the imported foreign food in Thailand does not even taste the same or as good as the stuff at home, so why not just skip out on it altogether?
Thai food is delicious, cheap and diverse. The best part is that you will never be more than 5 minutes away from a food cart or a cheap restaurant where you can grab a quick bite to eat.

Leave the Alcohol in the Mini Fridge

There is more than enough whisky and beer available at the supermarket and it is extremely cheap when compared to bars and the mini fridge at your hotel. If you really want to cut down on costs then you can stick to cheap Thai Whisky, but it may leave you useless for the whole day after.

Added Tips about Thailand Law

Police in Thailand are more than willing to dish out fines for people not wearing seatbelts on the road and motorcyclists who opt not to wear a helmet. Just because the locals do it doesn’t mean that you are going to get away with it either.

Littering is taken pretty seriously in Thailand and a tossed cigarette or throwing an empty beer bottle in the street can lead to a fine if the police see you do it. This is another law that locals tend to get away with breaking but where foreigners and expats are fined all the time. Thai people may be welcoming and friendly, but they do not want tourists coming in and making a mess of their streets or beaches.

Employment in Thailand

There are quite a few jobs that are available where you can get paid under the table in Thailand, however it is illegal. Teachers and anyone planning on doing business within the country should make sure they go through the Visa process and fill out all the right paperwork. If you want to simply earn a little cash on the side while touring the area by all means go for it, but be aware that there are consequences for breaking the law if you are caught.

Thailand has always been a popular vacation destination and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular places where expats head to in order to work abroad and save money. However, just like with any other destination in the world it is possible to blow all of your cash here if you try to live a certain way. Use common sense, try to keep tabs on your spending and make a budget, and get caught up in the local flavours and culture.

The Land of Smiles has become the Land of Opportunity for many, whether they are looking for a brief getaway or a new life abroad in Thailand. It is up to you to make the most of this unique and dazzling paradise and these tips should help you along the way.

Photo By Swami Stream

Photo By Swami Stream

Guest Article By Arjun Nanda

India is the second name of unity in diversity. India, versatility like nowhere else, you sure can’t find so many places worth watching, under one roof. India is the land of yoga, Ayurveda,  Kumbh Mela, meditation and much more. You name it and India has it. From the great Himalayas, to the seventh wonder of the world, sun kissed beaches, cold and hot deserts, jungle safaris, a wide range of flora and fauna and much more, a visit to India shall leave you gasping for more.

India offers you a blend of multiple cultures, colourful festivals, beautiful architecture, a variety of legends and hospitality like no place else. A huge beautiful blend of heritage, culture, religion, adventure, wildlife and hospitability, yes, this is what India is like.

In India you have beautiful hill stations like Srinagar, Shimla, Dahlousie, Dharamshala, Musoorie, Kullu , Manali, Darjeeling, Ooty, Mt. Abu and many others. Srinagar is even known as the only paradise on earth, owing to its serenity. Musoorie was named the queen of the hills by the Britishers. The climate and the natural beauty here is something that you’ll fall in love with. Also, not to forget that the north boasts a lot of beautiful temples in remote areas far from the routine haphazard life namely the temples of Amaranth, Srikhand, Kinnar Kailash, Mani Mahesh and Man Sarovar lake.

Then comes the belt of Haridwar, Rishikesh etc these places are not only famous for thousands of years old cultural heritage and temples but also for the adventure side like jungle safaris, such as the Jim Corbett park and river rafting. In the north other places worth a visit are Chandigarh and Amritsar. Amritsar is famous for the historical heritage and also the Golden temple. Then comes Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Jaipur and Junagarh. These places boast a lot of royal heritage and architecture in the form of their traditions and architecture. India also boasts one of the seven wonders of the world, that is the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra.

India has beautiful beaches to flaunt and you can have a glimpse of them at Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Gujarat, given the long coast line of India.

The architectural beauty is at its peak in India. The fine examples of such work of beauty are Dilwara jain temple, Konark Temple, Qutub Minar, Lal killa, Char Minar, Konark temple, Sun temple, Mahabalipuram, Khujrao, Ajanta and Ellora caves, Fatehpur Sikri and the forts of Rajasthan. There is no dearth of adventure such as the angling, camel safari, beach sports, Himalayan trekking, paragliding, jeep safari, scuba diving, skiing, polo, rock climbing, Thar desert, hot air ballooning and the fun in kerala backwaters.

The adventure cities of India are Port Blair, Leh Ladhak, Gangtok and Jaisalmer.  The wildlife is available in plenty, and India makes sure to present it to you in the form of Gir national park, Kaziranga national park, Sundarbans, Periyar and the Bharatgarh wild park. India is also famous for its road tricks and legends. The national currency of India is Rupee, with 45 INR equaling to about 1 USD. The national language of India is Hindi but English is the official language, so that reduces a lot of trouble for the foreigners. India is a multi ethnic state and has a lot of religions prevailing in its territory, namely Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, Muslim and Parsi cult. Thus with this kind of cosmopolitan approach India sure is making progress leaps and bounds.

Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata are the four metropolitans of India. These cities are a perfect glimpse of modern India. One on side they have a lot of historical heritage to boast and on the other side they have developed into being one of the most developed cities not only in India but also in the world. Besides, these four cities there are cities like Hyderabad, Banglore, Ahemdabad, Surat, Luckhnow and Gurgaon which are the technological hub of India.

Today, India is the next big thing in technology and is emerging as the strongest economic power of Asia and of the world. India is also making a lot of progress in Education with it producing the maximum number of professionals in various fields such as information and technology, engineering, management, science and defense.

India is producing a lot of job opportunities and is definitely being seen as the next superpower of the world. The BPO’s, LPO’s, the tourism industry, pharmacy, medical sciences and the human resources expats can fetch jobs in all the above said niches. The online work has flourished like nowhere else in India. The USD is easily and readily accepted in India and those who earn in dollars make good money in India as USD converts really well to INR. Though most of the Indian population is farming, there has been a rapid shift to technical jobs in the recent past. For anyone interested in owning a farm and spending a life of ease in countryside, India is the place to be.

In India the cost of living may vary from region to region because the cost of living here depends directly on your salary and generally where the cost of living is high you manage yourself higher salary provided you are skilled at your profession. The cost of living in India can be said to be in between 35 to 40 % of your salary. Housing is not bound to be a problem provided you are ready to pay the money. There is not a scarcity in the housing but it can be a little expensive, especially in the metropolitans. A lot depends on your local contacts because a lot of negotiation is possible before finalizing the price. In the end you may find yourself in the accommodation that you had just wanted and also on the price that wouldn’t pinch you much but all depends on the right type of contacts and yes, luck!

If you are considering moving to India then there was never a better time to do so than right now. India is a booming power in today’s world and there is a lot of opportunity available here, given the increase in its foreign trade and the infrastructural development at the pace of light. India is no wonder going to serve you as the best investment ever because in the times to come the world shall see India shining.

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Photo By Ma1974

Photo By Ma1974

Most Americans and Canadians look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas mainly because these are among the few times of the year they get to spend with their families. The combination of family reunions and delicious food makes these holidays truly enjoyable. Probably the only spoiler for the festive mood is the expensive cost of airfare around these days.

Fortunately, there are ways by which you can avoid spending too much and still manage to fly home to spend the holidays with your loved ones. Here are some tips that can help you save money on air travel during the holidays.

1. Book your Flight Early

You usually can get great discounts if you book a flight at the very last minute. In order to fill up all empty seats, airlines offer lower prices on tickets in the last few hours before a flight’s departure. Obviously, this is not going to be the case during holidays. In fact, it will be practically impossible to book a last-minute flight during these times. Make your holiday plans and book your flight as early as you can. This will give you more options and ensure that you do get home for the holidays. In addition, you can avail of early bird discounts that some airlines offer.

2. Wait for Airline Promos and Discounts

In some cases, early booking does not always mean better deals. For this reason, it pays to observe the airfare rates of the airline you are planning to fly with. You can monitor the ticket prices online and you can easily see if the prices are going down or not. Get your timing right and make an online booking when you see that the prices are not going to get any lower.

3. Volunteer to Get Bumped

During the holidays, it is very common for flights to be overbooked. In these situations, some passengers may have to be bumped to a later flight. Obviously, this can be a huge hassle but if you are not on a strict schedule, you can take this as an opportunity to save on airfare. You can volunteer to be bumped and negotiate for something in return. It can be a free first class upgrade or a nice discount on your next airfare. Most airlines will be very willing to accommodate whatever request you may have.

4. Consider Alternate Flights

You may be used to flying with certain airlines or arriving in certain airports but it wouldn’t hurt to check out other options. For example, there might be another flight that lands in a nearby airport. The drive from the airport may be longer but if the flight costs considerably less, that is certainly an option you should consider.

5. Arrive Early

The closer it is to the actual holiday, the more expensive the tickets get. So if you can fly home earlier, the better for you financially. Plus, this will give you a little more time with your family.

6. Bring your own Snacks

In the flurry of packing and rushing home during the holidays, few people take the time to pack food for the flight home. They end up buying expensive food on the plane or in the airport. To avoid this unnecessary expense, you can simply pack your own food and save a huge amount of money.

Find Cheap Hotels | 10 City Breaks to Find Budget Accommodation

Posted by Drew On September - 29 - 2009
Photo By taiyofj

Photo By taiyofj

Remember how your mother always told you to look for the silver lining in every cloud? It sounded a little naive at the time, but in reality there always does seem to be a bright spot just when things look to be at their worst.

Sure money is tight and the economy is struggling. The good news is that you aren’t the only one dealing with financial woes and trying to save money. This means that major companies and businesses have to do whatever it takes to attract more business, and persuade savvy and budget travelers to once again pack their bags.


What does this mean for you right now? The price of a vacation is going down, airlines are having sales every month and even hotels are starting to become a little bit more affordable. recently completed and published a report stating that the average price of hotels in a number of cities is steadily on the decline.

So forget cramming into a hostel and forget spending your next vacation at home. Instead take a look these 10 cities where the price of hotel rooms is drastically on the decline.

#10- Find Cheap Hotel Rooms in Frankfurt, London, Vienna and Beijing


Each of these 4 vacation hotspots have had a 12 percent drop in hotel pricing recently. This places them all a couple notches higher on traveler’s wish lists. It also means that this just may be the right time to take in the aftermath of the Olympics in Beijing or try to grab a cup of tea with the Queen.

#9- Find Cheap Hotel Rooms in Riga, Latvia


Thanks to a recent 13 percent drop in the average cost of the city’s hotel rooms, Riga comes in at #9 on this list. While the city isn’t always atop every traveler’s list of dream vacation spots, it really should be. Riga is the home of delightful local beers, festivals, entertaining events and is adorned with all kinds of elegant and modern architecture.

#8- Find Cheap Hotel Rooms in Barcelona, Spain


On average, the price of hotel rooms in Barcelona has dropped a pretty impressive 14 percent. Sparkling sights, succulent cuisine, and an affordable view of the Mediterranean are just a few of the things you can find in Barcelona hotel rooms, and they are now more affordable than they have been in a long time.


#7- Find Cheap Hotel Rooms in Singapore

Singapore is the home of incredible nightlife and the place to be if you are looking for an exciting vacation. Looking for an inexpensive city within Singapore in particular? You may not find one. The entire country has seen an impressive 15% reduction in hotel pricing. What that means is more money to spend shopping on Orchard Road and a few extra Singapore Slings every night. Be sure to mind the hangover.

#6- Find Cheap Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada


Now this isn’t to say that Las Vegas is necessarily the best place to go if you are looking to save money, but the city has seen a 17% decrease in hotel rates. In the end this probably means more money into the slot machines, but hey, that is more fun than spending all your cash on the hotel anyways. Everyone has to head to Vegas at least once, and it looks like right now may be the best time to bask in the glory that is Sin City.


#5- Find Cheap Hotels in Oslo, Norway


Oslo comes in at #5 on this list as it tied Las Vegas with a 17 percent drop in the cost of hotels. If the temptations within Vegas seem to be a little much for you then Oslo may be the perfect place to get away. It offers natural beauty and is the ideal spot for outdoor lovers, swimmers, cyclists and boaters.

You are sure to love laying your head down on a discount hotel bed after a long day spent in the great outdoors.


#4- Find Cheap Hotels in Marrakech, Morocco


Now some of you might be thinking,”excuse me…where”? Just because you haven’t heard of Marrakech doesn’t mean that it doesn’t offer the ideal vacation you might be looking for. Thanks to a 20% drop in hotel rates within this stunning city, Marrakech may just start quickly moving up on a number of travelers’ to do lists.

The city is crammed with African culture and is surrounded with stunning waterfalls, towering mountains, deep valleys, and crystal clear rivers which may have you never wanted to actually return to your hotel room. Good thing you found a discounted room.

#3- Find Cheap Hotels in Mexico City, Mexico


If you are looking for a vacation in a hot, exciting and popular destination then you are going to love the fact that Mexico City has seen its hotel rates drop by up to 23%. Tie that price drop in along with the hustle and bustle of the city, the exciting nightlife, the exotic flavours, and the affordable price of tequila, and you have the perfect getaway wrapped up into a neat little box.


#2- Find Cheap Hotels in Belfast, Northern Ireland

To be honest tourists really do not need any more reasons to visit Belfast, but now they do anyways. Hotel rates in the city have dropped by a staggering 29 per cent which means there really is no reason not to visit the heart of Edwardian architecture and the home to a number of medieval castles.

Now you can wrap yourself up in the history and folklore of Belfast for a fraction of the price.


#1- Find Cheap Hotels in  Moscow, Russia


The city that has seen the most significant decrease in hotel room pricing is Moscow. According to the city has seen a 36% drop in hotel rates which means that you have more money to stock up on winter gloves, fur boots and vodka than ever before.

Everything else aside, Moscow really is overlooked by a lot of tourists and it shouldn’t be. Hopefully now that hotels are so affordable people will start to realize just how much there is to do in the constantly evolving and increasingly modern city.

10 Free Travel Tips to Help you Getaway for Less

Posted by Drew On September - 26 - 2009
Photo By JonRawlinson

Photo By JonRawlinson

In a lot of ways the internet has somewhat become a brothel of sleazy information, a cesspool of hidden scams, and is full of stories of moments that are simply too good to be true. The good news is that it isn’t all about lies or blatant self promotion. There are ways to find great deals, cut down on the costs of traveling and simply enjoy what the world has to offer.


So what good news do you have to tell me?


I’m here to let you in on a little bit of a secret. Free travel is actually a possibility. Is it easy and are you going to be handed a round trip ticket to see the world just by sitting home on your couch and sulking about the economy? Not a chance. However you can put yourself in the right position, surround yourself with the right people, and increase your chances of encountering opportunities for free travel.


Your success when it comes to free travel is going to revolve around your own skills, abilities and personality. As with anything, networking is a key when it comes to free travel and the more you are able to open up and connect with other people, the cheaper your getaway will be.


Here are 10 free travel tips that can you put you onto the path of seeing the world, for free.


Free Travel Tip #1- Plan, Prepare and Ponder


The internet is by far your best resource when it comes to finding ways to travel for free. While there are many backpackers who will tell you how opportunities often just present themselves when you are traveling, there are many that will only arise through proper planning. 


Opportunities such as house sitting and couch surfing allow you to take a bit of control and avoid what can be an overwhelming reliance on spontaneity. Look into where you want to go, research possible opportunities, and connect with the right people before you pack your bags and go.


Free Travel Tip #2-Learn New Languages


As mentioned, networking and meeting the right people is your key to opening the door to free travel. What is the best way to do that? Broaden your horizons and learn new languages. The easier it is for you to communicate with people from around the world, the easier it will be to connect and develop strong relationships.


Who would be willing to invite you into their home if you cannot even offer to wash the dishes in the local language?


Free Travel Tip #3- Cut Costs and Get Back to the Basics


The less you need to live comfortably, the less money you need overall. It’s pretty simple when you think about it. Isn’t it becoming pretty obvious that all the necessities and comforts we have become used to in the western world still are not making us happy, or sane?


If you can learn to really understand what a necessity is, and what is just a desire, you will have a lot less baggage when living at home and when traveling abroad, emotionally and physically. The less stuff you have the easier it is to pick up and take off when a great free travel opportunity presents itself.


Free Travel Tip #4- Utilize Social Networking


The days of penpals seem to be long over thanks to the internet, but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t make an effort to connect with people from all over the world. By connecting and building relationships with internet chat pals you can create opportunities to stay for free all over the world. Depending upon how well you connect with these friends, and how strong your friendship is, you will have the opportunity to stay in places for much longer than couchsurfing arrangements would allow for.


Of course you shouldn’t be making friends just for these reasons, and you have to be willing to offer the same opportunities to others as you would expect to receive. It should also go without saying that you need to be safe online and make sure you are truly comfortable with people before expecting to be allowed into their home. Play it safe, be genuine, and be respectable, and the opportunities will present themselves.


Free Travel Tip #5-Become as Self-Reliant as Possible


Budget travel isn’t always going to be easy. However, there are opportunities to save money in every situation that you encounter and in every city in the world. The more you learn to curb your dependence on others, the less money you will ultimately have to spend.


You can learn all sorts of skills that will help you to cut down on costs, such as cooking simple and efficient food, washing clothes by hand, starting a fire, or even how to sanitize water on your own. Sounds more like tools you would need for living in the deep woods, but all of these skills can give you a boost when it comes to free travel.


Free Travel Tip #6- Slow Down when Traveling


A lot of travelers focus on jumping from place to place and holding true to their schedule as much, and as quickly, as possible. The truth is that the slower you travel the better your chances are of finding great deals and cutting down on travel costs. On top of that, the longer you stay in one spot the easier it becomes to network and find free travel opportunities and even employment abroad.


While it is fun to see all the tourist hot spots and all the attractions in one destination, there is a lot to be said for not sticking tight and rushing around to keep up with an itinerary. It is up to you to decide what is more important. Seeing absolutely everything there is to offer in a few quick glances or actually building meaningful memories with people and cultures by slowing down?


Free Travel Tip #7- Do Unto Others…….


The term free travel is associated with saving as much money as possible while vacationing and cutting down on costs. However, whatever you save in terms of finances you have to be willing to give back in other ways. Life is all about exchanging in some way or another, and that is especially true when you are on the road.


Bartering is something that has and never will go out of style. Trade services such as yard work, babysitting, or even run errands for other favors. If you are staying in someone else’s home then offer to do the dishes or help out in any way possible. Sometimes just offering good company is enough but just make sure you are doing your fair share, even if you don’t possess a fair share of money.


Free Travel Tip #8- Learn How to make Money Abroad


Just because you are not at home doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities to make money. Free travel is a lot easier if you are working while traveling, and the more money you make the longer you will be able to stay abroad. The more you diversify the way you make money the better as well. If you can make small amounts of money doing a variety of different jobs it will feel like you are working less.


The internet provides a plethora of part time opportunities that can ease the financial stress of travel. Look into graphic design, freelance writing or even consulting online. The options are there, you just have to find them.


Free Travel Tip #9- Start from Home


Truly free travel is all about you, what you are willing to do, and how much you are willing to put in. The best way to start is to open up your mind and embrace a positive attitude. It also helps to start small. Try to plan a free trip in or around where you live so you can get an idea of what you are getting yourself into.


A 6 month backpacking excursion through Southeast Asia may be on your to do list, but it shouldn’t always be the first step that you take. Warm up, prepare yourself and get into the traveling mindset before you embark on a life changing vacation.


Free Travel Tip #10- Believe in Yourself


There are always going to be people who tell you to do things a certain way, no matter where you are in the world. Research is key and networking will get you far, but in the end you have to believe in yourself and trust your own decisions. Relying solely on the advice of others will limit your opportunities for free travel and prevent you from creating your own unique experiences.


You are the one traveling. You are the one who is going to be affected by your decisions. Forget about the people that tell you that free travel is impossible and make your own path around the world.


This doesn’t mean you should jump into situations without preparing. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advice from others. And it doesn’t mean you will always make the right choices. However, the more you trust yourself the more capable of making the right decisions and meeting the right people you will be.


The world is your oyster. Embrace it. Accept Challenges. Make Mistakes. Grasp opportunity and get out there and see the world.


That is often the only way you are going to realize what it is that truly makes you happy.


Cheers to happy travels and a happy life.