Traveling is an extremely popular hobby, and it aroused so much interest from some people that they chose to turn it into a profession. It is no coincidence that leisure travel expenses totaled $ 792.4 billion in 2019 in the United States. But whatever the motivation for the trip, it will certainly demand a considerable part of your budget. In fact, finding the best value for money when planning a trip is a complex equation because it depends on the following three D’s: destination, duration, and date. Even if you are willing to give up part of the benefit, the cost will also change according to these variables. The best time to travel cheaply will be defined by yourself, from the invaluable tips and useful tools below.
This is the first criterion you must consider, but don’t just look for cheap places to travel. Probably the farther your destination is, the more expensive the tickets will be. If you are in doubt about choosing your destination, count on a helping hand with Nomad List, Teleport Cities, and Forex map. The available transport infrastructure and the destination’s average cost of living also influence your trip’s price. If the place you intend to go to has a lower cost of living than your current one, it may be worth paying more for the ticket.
Are you going to move to another city, do a university exchange, or just want to visit for a few days? Each of these objectives involves a different duration and, therefore, a different price. In this case, you must stick to your goals, as staying more or less does not guarantee cheap travel. The expenses are not proportional to the length of stay. Whatever the duration, you should consider day-to-day spending, which should remain average. If your destination is cheaper, you can also save money. In some cases, even your plane ticket can be cheaper if your stay is longer.
With your travel itinerary well defined, try to understand the periods of parties and celebrations to avoid them and know your best time to travel. In general, prices increase a lot when the largest number of tourists is usually received at the place. There is no differentiation between low and high season in some places with tourist potential, as the number of visitors remains stable throughout the year. In that case, you should consider other factors like the cost comparison between the four seasons and the local currency variation.
The best tip to save on food during your trip is to interact with locals. Get out of your comfort zone, visit the local public areas, compare neighborhood bars and restaurants’ prices, and ask for directions. You can also search for reviews on the Internet to acquire a little knowledge before being in person at your destination. Buffets, outdoor vendors, and street food are always good ways to eat cheap around the world. If you can cook your own food, prioritize buying the ingredients in small markets and traders in the region.
Saving on travel expenses can be a matter of months or even weeks. If you book your accommodation in advance, you probably will get a good discount. So you are more likely to know the cheapest days to travel in time. To understand how and where to stay, set your priorities. Are you in the mood for comfort and safety, or do you want flexibility and autonomy? Did you know that it is possible not to pay financially for your accommodation and compensate in other ways? Check out more on the Airbnb, Booking.com, Trivago, and Couchsurfing platforms, four different ways to stay somewhere.
Buying a plane ticket was, for a long time, a bureaucratic, slow, and stressful experience. But several years ago, several platforms appeared that scan all airline websites and presented a list correlating price with duration, and from then on, traveling cheap became much easier. Some of these platforms offer the function of alert promotions so that you don’t miss the opportunity to save more money. If you’re flying, try Google Flights, Matrix, and Skyscanner searches. For buses, CheckMyBus is great. As for traveling by car in a shared way and making friends, Blablacar is the main reference.
Tours are an independent sector within the tourism market, as the options are endless. You can book with an agency over the Internet, hire a guide walking on the street, or create your own tour. Some sites have reviews made by locals, which gives greater authenticity to the tips. If you’re still asking how to travel cheaply, calculate the cost of what you plan to do during your stay. Tripadvisor, TravelLocal, tourradar, and GAFFL are platforms with varied and relevant reviews, including those made by locals.
Traveling cheap is not an exact science, but know-how that you learn from habit. But even if you have traveled little in your life, if you consider the three D’s as a criterion and explore the suggested tips, you will considerably reduce expenses. In this challenge, you have a little bit of advice and guidance from others and much more of your autonomy and determination to understand the cheapest time to travel. The ball is in your court!