Being a digital nomad has exposed me to the wonders of traveling, and the best part is, I get to discover different cultures, which is really fun. I’ve been to many countries while managing my dropshipping business, and, right now, I’m in Bali, enjoying life while writing this. So, based on my experience in traveling, I’ll be sharing with you exclusive tips on how you can practice budget travel.
It’s typical for travelers to set a specific budget for every trip. The problem here is that they mostly focus on the price tag rather than value. Yes, of course, you might be saving a few bucks in checking in a dorm or hostel, but you might be surprised to know that there’s a private room that you can book on airbnb for just about the same price. Essentially, budget travel is about having a strategy that allows you to get the best value for your money and not merely finding one that fits your budget.
What Is Budget Travel?
Budget Travel is more than just traveling within the budget. While it’s true that budget travelers are price and cost-conscious, there’s more to it than that. Budget Travel is more than just saving money. Instead, it entails traveling in the smartest, most exciting, and most efficient way that gives you the best value for money.
Budget Travel is not just about going for the cheapest available option. The way you should look at it is to get the best deal according to your preferences. Budget Travel doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only camp out or stay in dorms and hostels. You can still travel within your comfort zone and according to your interests – but it should be practical and within your means.
Best Practices in Budget Travel
1. Eat Local
Every country boasts a unique cuisine. This goes with the fact that every country has its version of street foods. And since you’re traveling on a budget, my recommendation is for you to try out street foods and dine in the famous diners, where locals love to eat. Here, it’s best if you do your research first, so you already know the hottest diners and food stops that you’d want to visit.
In planning your itinerary, the best practice is to incorporate the food establishments that you will visit for every tourist spot or activity. The chances are high that there’s a special delicacy for every spot you will visit; this way, you’ll be mapping out your schedule both for dining and touring – hence, maximizing your travel experience.
If you’re lucky enough, you may stumble upon a low-key and underrated local eatery that offers authentic local food at a low price. These are usually the diners that locals themselves go to. The lesson here is that – it also pays if you talk to a local who can point you to these hidden gems. Trust me; these hidden gems will not make you feel like you’re on a budget trip.
2. Pack Smart
Another thing to note in budget travel is that you need to pack smart and not pack light. This is not only because it allows you to move freely while traveling, but it also saves you a ton of money from paying hefty baggage allowances. Understandably, packing light is impossible for some people; that is why it’s more important to pack smart. But how exactly do you pack smart? One example is packing your stuff ahead of time, so you have enough time to plan what you need instead of packing your stuff at the last minute, which we all know eventually leads to you just stuffing in everything you see from your wardrobe.
Packing smart also means knowing the best hacks in packing from as simple as organizing your clothes in a rolled manner and not folded to wearing your heaviest clothes while in transit to save baggage space.
3. Never Underestimate Travel Insurance
If you’re a frequent traveler or a digital nomad like me, it’s always recommended that you have travel insurance. It will serve as your safety net in case of emergency, so you’re covered at all times. Travel insurance is beneficial, especially in times of unexpected medical expenses and emergencies that can ruin your entire trip. For instance, losing your passport while traveling abroad might be your biggest nightmare. The good thing about having travel insurance is that you get immediate assistance in requesting reissuance since they will guide and connect you to the local authorities. It works the same with other travel-related emergencies that may arise from your trip.
4. Get a Gig Abroad
If you’re planning to stay for at least a month in one place, then it would be nice to immerse yourself in the community by getting a job for easy money while traveling. There are a lot of gigs that you can take on temporarily while traveling. These include being a yoga teacher, surf instructor, hotel front desk, DJ, bartender, and more. These are just some of the coolest jobs that you can take on for the short-term while abroad. Even though these jobs don’t pay much, they can help ease some of your expenses, so you get to save more money while technically being on vacation. Many digital nomads do this, and it’s also a fun way to engage with the community.
5. Use Budget Platforms
Budget travel entails traveling with the lowest cost possible that likewise offers the best value. To do this, I recommend that you leverage travel apps that offer discounts and exclusive offers while traveling. For instance, there’s a Klook travel app that offers the best deals for activities, attractions, and tours, which you can use to save a few bucks instantly. It also allows you to be spared from the long lines in buying tickets to entrances like Disneyland since you pre-purchase these deals. It’s a simple, efficient, and practical choice if you want to do tours.
Another way to find the best deals is to use budget platforms that offer cheap accommodations and other essentials. These are your typical travel apps like airbnb, camp space, EatWith, and BlaBlaCar.
6. Use Public Transportation or Rent a Bike
Many countries have mastered their rail system, making it easy for anyone to travel from one point to another, like in Japan, South Korea, and most European countries. So, if you’re staying in one country for a while, then it’s best to get your rail passes so you can quickly get in and out of the trains without having to pay for a ticket every single time. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying tickets for individual trips.
In terms of traveling to certain areas, it would be smart to rent bikes that you can use to go around the place. This applies to cities like Amsterdam and in tropical islands like the Philippines.
7. Always Bring Your Water Bottle
This is probably the most trivial thing on this list. However, you’d be surprised by how much you spend on buying water bottles every single time. Always keep in mind that there’s no bottled water everywhere you go, especially in remote areas where access to clean water is rare. Plus, in some places, even a small bottle of water may cost you a fortune.
So, the best practice when traveling is to bring your bottle. This way, you can be sure that you have water anywhere you go and that you can easily refill it from cafes and restaurants. It’s also important to know when and where not to drink water for safety reasons. This tip is not only for budget travel but also for your comfort, safety, and convenience.
8. Take Free Walking Tours
If you want to learn more about a particular country’s history and culture but don’t want to spend on hefty museum entrance fees, then signing up for free tours is the perfect alternative. For instance, there are tons of walking tours that you can join for free. The best part is that these tours are usually the most informational ones since you learn insider information about the country/place from a local guide. These tours usually give the tourists a solid background of the city. Plus, you can take advantage of this opportunity to acquaint yourself with other tourists and locals.
Of course, while some tours are free, it’s always best to tip your guide at the end of the tour. These people are mostly doing it out of passion and love for history and culture, so a little appreciation will go a long way.
9. Book Your Flights On Sale
Since travel plans are already expensive, booking cheap flights is one way to lower your expenses. You lose the essence of budget travel if you pay too much for airfare. The key here is to always be on the lookout for the hottest deals. Airline tickets are fluctuating; they can soar high months before the actual flight, and gradually lower down the price weeks before the flight and increase again several days before; it depends. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to score yourself the cheapest flights.
- Book flights early in the morning; these are usually the ones between 1 am to 5 am.
- The cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, so choose your departure dates during these days.
- Check low-cost airlines individually (Use incognito mode)
- Sign up for price alerts
- Sign up for airline membership to earn points and exclusive privileges
10. Get Your Taxes Back
Every country has a different tax process, so make sure to investigate this if you will do your shopping abroad. Some countries allow you to get your taxes back from your purchases, which you can claim from the airports. Just imagine buying stuff without tax; you get instant cashback!
So, these are the things that you can do to enjoy budget travel. However, the most important thing to note before booking that flight is to make sure that you only travel to destinations that fit your budget. While these tips are certainly helpful, the primary consideration is still the cost of living in your chosen destination.
Overall, the best advice that I can give is to prepare and have an ample budget to make the most out of your travels. Remember that you shouldn’t worry much about budgeting. Instead, your focus must be on the experience. I’ll see you around!
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