It’s the holiday season. While many stay home and celebrate with their families, this is also one of the busiest tourism seasons of the year. Traveling during this time of year will also gobble up your budget much quicker than traveling during other times of the year. I’m here to share a few tips and tricks to help you stretch your money a little bit further.
I am no expert. However, I have travelled quite a bit, even though I am by no means a wealthy woman. So I wanted to share with you my version of budget friendly travel. I promise, you won’t regret it!
- Take a road/rail trip instead. Air travel is expensive, and it limits you (schedule, location). Take or rent an auto or take a train pass (Euro rail for non-Eu citizens is a great incentive!). You have the freedom to go wherever the wind carries you and you can always find your way back home! Not to mention, the scenery is magnificent!
*Ok, so sometimes you get to spend the night like this…but totally worth it if you get to see this ->!
*Am I right, or am I right?!
- Make sure you have a good quality bag that you can easily carry with you. Please, take it from someone who has been there: When you find yourself in a situation where you are walking to your sleeping place, there is nothing worse than rolling a overstuffed cumbersome suitcase along a cobblestone road. Be practical! You don’t need much. Put it in a small overnighter that’s easy to carry. You’ll thank me later!
- Always have water and some snacks with you. Even if its just a small water bottle and a couple protein bars – having these on hand will keep the hangry at bay so you can enjoy your day!
- Consider Hostels. Oh, I know – the mere thought makes your skin crawl. But believe it or not, hostels can actually be really amazing! (Yes, some of them are…blech.) Many luxury hotels will lease out 1 floor of suites as hostels (Amsterdam), just to ensure that the hotel stays booked. Some places that don’t normally lease out at all will make their rooms available as hostels off-season (see the marble encased University dorm in Poland which leased out their rooms during the summer months.!) Also, Andorra has an incredible log-cabin luxury hotel which rents out some of their unbelievable suites as hostel rooms -at a hostel price!
- Go with the flow! Allowing yourself to get stressed-out or overly adhered to your perceived schedule. Firstly, things will NEVER go according to plan. Secondly, you will happen upon the most memorable experiences when you least expect it. So, be open to change…welcome it!
*Suffering a royal hangover, we walked around and discovered the Wielicki salt mines, a Unesco World Heritage site and thought ‘why not?’. It was a great day spent there and I will never forget what an incredible place it was!
- Ask around where the locals go, and go there. You will find some of the most amazing food places, and even better – great prices! Also, leave your diet at home. It’s no fun traveling with someone who’s on some kooky weight loss regime where they can eat only raw meat, kale and walnuts – or whatever the latest fad is. Let loose and enjoy!
*Fish & Chips at Beshoff Bros
*The donuts in Dublin were the size of my face! I think you know we had to sample some of these beauties! 😉 (Nom nom nom!)
- Make sure you are insured. Travel insurance isn’t tremendously expensive. But you will thank me for it if you fall ill!
- Take the time to enjoy a local Brew. In some places, you will find yourself in an unbelievable setting. In others, you will realize that a local beer costs less than a canned soda! (Poland, I’m talking to you!)
- Be reasonable with your tourism. 5 star restaurant? I wouldn’t. Oldest Pub in the country? Yes, definitely!
- Refrain from the souvenir hunt. I’ve watched people jump from store to store looking for junk and it just isn’t worth it. My policy is to purchase myself 1 item only, so I try to make it really special. A small something for family is ok too. But its a huge waste of money searching for cheap crap. I mean really, it’s most likely not even made in the country you’re visiting anyway!
- Spend the day at museums! Many museums, including Natural history, are free in the EU. When we were in Ireland, we spent an entire day visiting museums and it cost us: ZERO! A great way to be a tourist on the cheap!
- Check out the free attractions in the area you are visiting. Most places have a tourism office/website. They will usually list any public events/festivals/showings that are happening for free. Why not go out and do something fun? Public art/book/food festivals are great fun and you can’t beat the price!
- If you are really saving hard for a trip – especially a road trip – and every cent counts, try this tactic: Take 1 small envelope for every day that you plan to be away from home (including leaving and returning days). So, 14 days = 14 envelopes. Divide your funds evenly across each envelope and it will help you to see whether or not you actually have enough for the trip. The most affordable hostel I’ve ever stayed in was 20€ per night. Do some internet research, but make sure to leave some wiggle room, because sometimes they are full and you just have to manage other sleeping arrangements. Factor in food (market bought, or eating out), gasoline/train tickets, entrance fees to attractions (easily found online) and emergency coffee stops. You won’t need as much as you may think you do, if you just budget well. Good luck!
I hope that you have enjoyed this post as much as I’ve enjoyed making it!