Traveling is Doable- Even On a Budget!
Miseducated girls know that one of the best parts of life is getting out of your every day cycle and exploring what the world has to offer. Unfortunately, leaving your abode and venturing out into the unknown can be a little pricey. Never fear, though, there are plenty of ways you can cut down on the cost of traveling, whether your plans involve a simple (but awesome) road trip or venturing across national territories.
Pack your own food
Airplane food is mega expensive so it’s advised that you avoid it at all costs. Pack yourself enough for 1-2 meals and carry it onto the plane with you. You’ll use up food in your refrigerator (it will go bad anyway!) and save quite a bit of money. Also pack snacks (I promise you’ll get hungry later) for the plane ride and if you have room, enough for the duration of your vacation.
Eat breakfast at your hostel/hotel
Many hotels and hostels offer a free, continental breakfast. Take advantage of this! Don’t feel guilty taking a few rolls or fruits for the road – often times food is thrown out because hotels/hostels make more than what they need.
Don’t eat out for every meal
Don’t get me wrong – going out to eat is one of my all time favorite ways to spend money, but it can get very expensive. Buy your meals like a local would by going to the grocery store. This is especially great if you’re abroad. Many markets and grocery stores are set up different to your own and you’re sure to find some peculiar items!
Book at the right time
This goes for plane tickets and hotels. When booking, try your very best to avoid booking during peak season. That would be holidays, the summer and other random events (like the Super bowl, for instance). Not only will you save money, but you’re more likely to find yourself in overwhelmingly crowded tourist destinations. Also, many airlines offer drastically reduced ticket prices for last-minute bookings. This is because the airplane wants to fill their plane to full capacity.
Stay at a hostel (or with a friend!)
Don’t let the movie, “Hostel,” scare you. Hostels used to be more of a European thing, but they are quite popular all over the world, including the United States. Hostels are great because they are drastically cheaper (any where from $10-30 a night), you meet people from all over the world and they come in a variety of shapes and forms. There are upgraded hostels that are very similar to hotels, so if sleeping with 4-10 other people in the same room bothers you, keep that option in mind. Also, hostels provide lots of excursion activities. Check out hostels.com for hostel reviews and locations.
Avoid booking on weekends
If it’s possible for your schedule, book on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The most popular days to fly are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The most popular days to stay at a hotel are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You will notice quite a difference in the prices if you do this.
Go to free events
You can often find discounted days and times for various events you have in mind. For example, some museums offer free (or cheaper) admission on certain days that are normally slow. Also, visit parks and other landmarks that don’t require an entry fee. Ask your hotel/hostel attendant and locals for advice. Also do research online before you leave.
Shop around and spend wisely
Depending on where you vacation, you can find a lot of great deals. Avoid malls, where items are often mass produced and over priced. You can find some really unique keep sakes and trinkets (often hand made by artisans themselves) by going to street markets and vendors. If you’re vacationing in a big city that does not have markets like these, save money by window shopping just like you would at home!
If you’re driving…
The biggest way for you to save money is to cut the cost of gas prices. How do you do that? Make sure that your tires are in great shape. Have the rotated and fill them with air if necessary. Also, change your oil. The $30 you spend doing this could save you much much more in the end. Also, don’t forget to pack a lot of your own food. This is especially easy for you!
Use your debit card to get money out of ATM’s/pay for items if you are traveling abroad. Since the payment is electronic, you will get the best exchange rate. Also, it’s much safer to travel with a debit or credit card because if it’s stolen you can report it’s missing right away. When cash is gone, it’s gone. Also, I have found that travelers checks are often not accepted and are more of a hassle than anything.
Lastly, exchange money before you go abroad and never at the airport. It’s much more expensive at the airport and you’ll save money if you exchange elsewhere.
Good luck and happy adventures!