Traveling on a budget: How to cut down cost when traveling

Dear Reader,
Everyone keeps putting traveling off because it is expensive and they cannot afford it. Ideally we would live in a world where money wouldn’t matter and everyone could do what they wanted to. However, unfortunately, that is still a bit away. So here are a few tips to cut down the cost to make traveling affordable.

Stay in Hostels

Evenring at a hostel in Barcelona

So hostels are a great discovery. If you do not know what they are, let me try to explain it to you. Remember when you were younger and went on field trips with your school? How you stayed in those rooms with multiple people, sharing a bathroom, and having so much fun? Well, that’s a hostel for you, expect that each bed is rented out separately and not to one class. So you are sharing a room with different strangers, who can easily become great friends. So since you are only paying for one bed, not a whole room, so they can be cheaper. Depends on the area you are traveling, they can be very helpful in saving cost. In Europe, you will probably pay between 20 to 30 Euros, while in areas such as Southeast Asia you can get them under 10 Euros most of the time.
Most hostels will have different sizes of room, and some also offer female and male rooms, if you feel more comfortable with that. If you don’t want to cram into a small room with other¬†strangers, you can also opt for a private room. They will be more expensive, but still cheaper than most hotels in the same area. Hostels also have the added benefit of providing you with a great group of other travelers who are all ready to talk and make friends, even just for one day. So next time you travel, check out if there are any hostels that peak your interest. Two good websites to use are Hostelworld and Hostelbookers.

Use Public Transport

Now, this may be a little intimidating, especially in a place where you are not quite sure how the system works. However, always taking a taxi or transportation designed for tourists can add up. Throughout my travels, I have found that there tend to be two different ways this system works.
The first one is the easiest where you just pay the driver of your transport directly for the distance you want to travel. I have seen this on busses in Spain, as well as some places in South America. This system is easy because you can just get on and that’s it.

The second is when you need some kind of ticket or card. This is the most common system throughout the world, especially in big cities. If they use a card, you have to purchase them somewhere beforehand. If there is a metro in the city, they will have booths to buy them at in almost every station. With the bus and tram stops, it can be a little tricky, since there is no guarantee which one has a machine, and which doesn’t.¬† If you only need a ticket for the public transport, most of the times, these are sold at the newspaper stands, or even directly with the driver (which may be more expensive). You normally have the option of buying just one or a whole block (which may be cheaper). Then you have to validate it once you get on the bus or train or right before. This method is convenient because it either tracks the distance by itself or the price is fixed regardless of distance.
The easiest way to find out how it works in the city you’re going to is to google it or ask the person at the reception once you get there. Many cities also have plans or apps that will help you navigate their public transport system. If you are still uncomfortable or unsure you can always stick to the metro if there is now, since they will never take an unexpected turn.

Eating Local

Amazing sandwuches in Laos

Part of traveling is discovering new cultures and experience new things. Many of the places you will visit have amazing local cuisines. Many countries have street foods and local eateries that will save you a lot of money. Eating in small local restaurants a little bit outside the tourist area are cheaper and will let you experience authentic local dishes. Some countries and cities are known for their street food, such as countries in Southeast Asia. You may want to be a little bit careful when eating these in regions that are known for questionable hygiene. However, if you are eating cooked food, avoid ice and milk, and know what your body can handle, you should be fine. In Laos, eating sandwiches from street booths was the best thing ever. They tasted amazing and were very cheap.
There are also markets that would offer foods all over Southeast Asia. In Europe, you will find small local restaurants to eat at. Eating local is not hard, just takes a little patience and searching. You will also come out of your adventure knowing more about the country and having experienced so much of the culture, then others who stuck to the things they know, such as fast food chains.

Fly budget airlines

This applies, especially in Europe. When you are trying to travel, but cut the cost saving on transportation can be huge, since it tends to be one of the most expensive parts. You should make friends with Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizzair, maybe even Vueling. These airlines will get you across Europe for less than 100 Euros. They connect some of the major cities and are a great tool. It is even worth the tiny seat, hidden extra costs to look out for (such as printing your boarding pass or overweight luggage), and no airline provided meal whatsoever. In the end you only spend about 4 hours max on that plane and it will be the least memorable part of your trip.

There you have my four tips to save money when traveling. It may seem like these are things that are obvious, but you should see how many people are not doing these. So next time you travel, just keep these in mind.

Have fun on your next adventure.



Ps. Check out my instagram for more pictures of my travels @lettersfromatravelinggirl

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