A Brief Guide to Budget Travel

There’s a problem with budget travel tips, they are relative to the particular author offering the advice. One person’s budget is another’s excessive luxury, and yet others wouldn’t dream of lowering themselves to stay or dine in these ‘slums’. For example, staying in hostels would be unthinkable to many, but are the mainstay of the travel plans of many more. Therefore, despite being convinced Kate and William never miss a post on this site, it’s not likely this one will be of much interest to them.

Budget travel options, Local airline on the island of Cuba in the Caribbean on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography ain Mallory-300-65_charter_flight

Regional airlines maybe preferable to major ones

There are some obvious budget options, Couchsurfing, hitchhiking or house-sitting, using any of these can greatly reduce any travel expenditure, and if combined, can almost remove them altogether. However they suit a specific type of traveller, the aim of this post is to offer tips, which are more general.

Travelling off-season, outside of school or public holidays will offer the best chances of obtaining a good deal, on accommodation, transport and even sometimes in restaurants.

Booking in advance is now usually cheaper than last-minute, airlines and rail companies offer cheaper tickets when the booking in advance. Be ready to shop around, make a coffee or open a bottle of wine and browse the net looking for the best deals.

Flexibility is a traveller’s best friend when making bookings, those open to a variety of dates, departure airports or ports, accommodation and even destinations will have the greatest power when it comes finding the best deals.

Alternate airports are also recommended, most major cities have more than one airport, and regular flyers can make some impressive savings. Before booking however, consider additional costs of transport and possibly overnight accommodation, the savings maybe swallowed up by these extras.

Budget travel options; Lukla airport in the Khumbu region of Nepal, in the Himalaya on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-3_lukla_airport

Lukla Airport; choose alternate airports carefully

If researching online, before making final confirmation try telephoning the operator direct, often a direct negotiation can result in an even better deal.

Budget travel; Ferry service from Athens to the Saronic Islands of Greece on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_054011_greek_ferry

Check with cruiselines and ferry services

Enquire with air or cruise lines about availability of repositioning flights or cruises. Planes and ships need moving around occasionally, and booking passage on one of these is often cheaper, while still offering similar services to normal routes. It maybe necessary to allow more time for a repositioning cruise, they usually take longer than a traditional cruise. Flying or cruising, both are probably one-way, so be prepared to make your own way home.

Consider travelling to unfashionable destinations, places which most tourists would probably avoid. Travelling during periods of civil unrest or post natural disaster, may seem morbid and ensuring there aren’t any safety issues is imperative. However savings can available to the adventurous few ready to visit these destinations. Great importance is usually placed on attracting tourists back in the wake of such events and the offers available are often tempting.

Budget travel; The Rocky Mountaineer on the Vancouver to Whistler route in British Columbia, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-79_rocky_mountaineer

Search for early bird discounts

Being prepared to share will definitely cut accommodation costs, single occupancy rooms usually incur a surcharge, although this is slowly improving. However, renting a villa and sharing it with friends can work out remarkably cheap and let’s face it, who doesn’t fancy having their own beachside villa with personal swimming pool?

Experience the pleasure of mobility, choosing to travel in a caravan or mobile home may sound uncomfortable, and only suited to hippy types but it’s a fun option, and almost certainly cheaper than hotel accommodation. It offers real freedom, removing the need for a fixed itinerary, travellers can travel anywhere they choose, and stay as long as they wish. Don’t forget to factor in added expenses such as fuel, toll roads and insurance. You can get the latter from The Caravan Club, who are the go to experts for all things mobile accommodation. You can also find advice on renting and campsites.

Go self-catering, purchasing your own food will undoubtedly work out cheaper, maybe even healthier and will support the local economy. Most local supermarkets reduce their bakery and fresh produce in the evening, find out the best time to visit for buying top quality products at reduced prices. Pack a lunch each day and save dining out as an evening treat.

These budget tips may not help everybody’s favourite royal couple but hopefully some of you will find them useful. Many of you probably have a few tips of your own. Help complete the post and add your top tips for saving a few pennies.

Budget travel tips, Havana Club in a bar in Baracoa, Cuba in the Caribbean on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-207_havana_club

Stock up on local produce

Street market on the seafront in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-77_baracoa_cuba

Shop at the local store

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Comments 17

  1. fred mucai

    One travel tip i have found useful is to make sure i carry all i need to avoid small, annoying purchases e.g. phone charger, maps if necessary, suitable clothes for the destination etc. Some of these items take you unawares and eat into your budget.

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  2. Arianwen

    Great advice! I always stick to the cheap hostels and try not to eat out too much. For me, travel isn’t about where I sleep or eat. It’s the experiences that are on offer in that destination. I have to say, though, I often find that CouchSurfing or staying with friends doesn’t work out any cheaper because you end up getting them a thank you gift or offering to buy them dinner, etc. And because the host isn’t travelling on a budget too, they don’t try as hard as hostel friends might to find budget places to go. On the other hand, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in local lifestyle!

  3. colin

    Nice tips, when you start to look into flights to and from alternative, often much smaller airports prices can really come down. Don’t automatically assume that you’ll have to go from a major airport!

    And don’t get your travel money from the first place you come across… shop around – find the best rates! Can really make a difference.

  4. WorldSIM

    Very useful!…. A few more: eat street food, its yum and cheap and you get to sample the local cuisine. Get a travel SIM card for free international roaming, cheap data and calls. Download loads of offline apps like a torch, guidebook, maps and ebooks for free.

  5. Joe

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here Iain.

    Travel tips are massively subjective. It goes back to this week’s TTOT topic regarding reviews and how one person’s hell may be another’s joy.

    I suppose if people like what you say and do in general you’re offering the right advice for them at least eh?

    Great post by the way!

  6. jasonryaan

    Thanks for sharing such an informative things and also I want to say that Budget is one of the most important thing about which you should have to be think before going to travel.

  7. natan dotan

    during travel i try to take everything i can with me prior to leaving, i find it to be annoying just to find out that you have forgoten enough memory cards or flash battery just when you are in the midlle of nowhere…

  8. Nicholas

    If you are traveling on a budget then don’t forget that comparison car hire can really help you save money. Find a comparison site which helps you compare prices on car hire in the UK and anywhere else in the world, only from the best companies.

  9. Boston Logan Limo

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom I do come across a blogs that are both education and amusing. Thanks so much for providing these tips, you really made an important thing concerning the travel badget.

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