Travel is an important part of life IMO. A few years ago I thought to really benefit from travelling and going abroad I would have to go to the other side of the world, but this isn’t remotely true. I also thought I would never be able to do it much because of money issues- mostly lack of it. However, I have travelled, road tripped, got away, and been on holidays a-plenty with a very modest budget and it has been just grand.
So if you want to get away, see some new things, get a bit of a tan and wear your new Primark sandals without freezing but think you simply can’t afford it, THINK AGAIN.
– Don’t be fussy about location. If you are open to going pretty much anywhere, then you’re at a huge advantage when it comes to flights. Go onto a site like skyscanner, put in dates of when you want to go (it’s good to be able to be a little flexible if you can) and just don’t enter a location. Essentially, you’re searching for anywhere. Yep, ANYWHERE, this is a real thing. Then just wait for the website to do it’s thing and VOILA: A selection of flights and locations. Pick the cheapest. You’re a fun person right? Good. Then you can have fun anywhere. (FYI I just did this and found a round trip to Ireland for £30, so tempting)
– When it comes to accommodation, think outside the box. Air b&b has caught on in a big way, and in certain cities you can truly snap up a bargain. Or for something a little different, consider house sitting. Staying in a house is better than a hotel in many ways I think, and MindMyHouse is a good place to start. Other Options to also look into are Couch Surfing and working abroad. You’ve likely heard of TEFL- Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and you can often get free accommodation from school placements. You can also, particularly in Asian countries, do home stays. You stay with a family, learn all about their life and help them out with work, gardening, their English, all manner of things, and it’s usually seriously cheap.
– Travel within your own country. I recently went away with a group of London friends to the Isle of Skye, and while I realise Scotland is it’s own country, you catch my drift. We split the petrol, went to Asda and did a massive foodshop, found an amazing house on air B&B and cooked every night. We extensively looked into free things to do while we were there and rarely spent more than £10 in a day. The whole 5 day trip cost around £150 each, and it was amazing. The house had a telescope, open fire, enormous kitchen, a garden that backed onto the sea and an outhouse. As good a travel experience as I have had anywhere AND it was utterly beautiful. There are plenty of places in the UK I haven’t been to that I want to, and with the help of advance train tickets and Premier Inn sales, I intend to start ticking them off.
-Use local rescources. If getting to your location eats up your budget, and you then assume you can’t go away because you don’t have spending money, just re-assess a bit. How much do you actually need? Can you find dirt cheap accomodation, do a home-stay, work on a farm/project/charity scheme and get put up for free in return? Also once you are away, STAY LOCAL in what you do. Eat the street food, go to local bars, book trips with smaller companies, go on free walking tours (available all over Europe), make packed lunches, ask if you can take free breakfast items with you in the morning and have it for lunch. It’s surprising how money savvy you can be when you really try. It’s also good to book excursions through local recommendation rather than a hotel.
-Avoid packages. This has always been a big money saver for me. The only time I have ever paid for a package holiday was straight after uni when I wasn’t that sussed. Now, Flights, hotels, transfers, excursions- all separate. Transfers are a killer on some packages, and you can get ripped off even by what car they send to pick you up. In Europe look up firms like Terravison, who do airport to city centre transfers for as cheap as chips, and can be booked online in advance. It might be more effort to do everything separately, but it can really pay off.
-Plan hard. Do loads of research. Tonnes. Make notes, record companies, deals you see online, speak to people in forums, go on Trip Advisor constantly. The more you know, the more you won’t pay out for stuff unnecessarily. If you want to do a lot flying, consider a credit card with air miles and pay for everything on it. Build them up, then cash them in. If you have less time and are booking things last minute, look at blogs and travel diaries online, particularly ones aimed at students, and take as much advice as possible.