As vaccinations increase and testing becomes easier, many parts of the world will soon be open to travel again.
After more than a year of restrictions and obstacles due to COVID, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It will not happen all at once, and what will happen is limited in the beginning. But, as the year goes by, more and more parts of the world are opening up and we will be able to do that thing that gives us so much joy: traveling.
But, even if the journey repeats itself, when you want food for time or money (or both), traveling can seem like a pipe dream. A wish that can never be granted, no matter what the world.
Fortunately, there have been a wave of positive developments for those who want to travel more: cheaper airline tickets, more websites to find bargains (and other information) online, free walks in more cities, and more opportunities to go around the traditional. travel infrastructure and connect directly to the local way of life through the sharing economy.
Most of that infrastructure will return to the world of post-COVID travel. Also, as travel companies need cash, there are also plenty of savings deals right now, which help make future travel affordable.
So, as the world begins to reopen so slowly, I want to share some tips and tricks on how to travel this year’s budget!
1. Change your mindset
Changing your mindset may not be a traditional budget heap, but it is still important. Remind yourself that travel is possible as you take concrete steps to make it happen. Action begets action, even if it’s only small steps.
Start with a “can I” mentality. Don’t think “I can’t travel” – think “What is one thing I can do today to make my journey closer to reality?”
Life is a mental game. Do one thing every day you go on your journey and you’ll find yourself building unstoppable momentum.
2. Develop a savings plan
Unless you’re Bill Gates, we all need to save more. But how is it done? Although life is expensive, I think there are always ways to save a little more. There is always something you can break. A few savings add up a lot over time.
Get into the habit of investing your travel fund on a regular basis, even if it’s only a few dollars a week. Every little penny will help. The more you save, the more you want to save. It becomes a kind of game. It’s no longer onerous.
3. Secure a flight contract
One of the things people always tell me that stops them from traveling more is the cost of flights. But let me tell you, there are a lot of offers right now.
The airlines are all looking to fill the planes and are currently offering many offers for summer travel and fall. After all, they need to make up for a lost year and are desperate to get people on planes.
The key to finding a cheap flight is to be flexible with dates and destinations. If you have the heart in “Paris in June” you will be forced to pay whatever the cost of the flight. But if you open it to “France in the summer” or even to Europe in the summer, you’ll be able to find much cheaper flights as you’ll have much more freedom to test dates and destinations.
I love using Google Flights and Skyscanner to browse through my options. I type in my city and then select “anywhere” as my destination. So I base my plans on where I can fly for the least amount of money.
However, if you don’t want to do this (I think it’s a perfect Friday night activity), you can check out and email some of the following websites looking for offers:
4. Get points!
Travel hacking, the art of collecting points and miles, is a great way to travel on a budget. By getting high-yield credit cards and using a few simple techniques, you can earn hundreds of thousands of miles, at no extra cost. These points can then be redeemed for free flights, free hotel stays and other travel rewards.
I have earned countless flights, upgrades, and hotel stays through travel hacking. By optimizing my spending and paying attention to which cards earn the most points and where, I’ve saved thousands of dollars – and you can too!
5. Use the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has led to a myriad of money-saving platforms and new community building that has made travel even more convenient, personalized and accessible. It has never been easier to get off the tourist track, connect with the locals and experience the pace of their lives. I live on these websites when I travel! You should too.
Here are some of the best sharing economy sites to get you started:
- Airbnb – The best platform for locals to find rooms, apartments and houses for rent.
- Sofa surfing – Great for finding free accommodation (often on people’s sofas) and meeting travelers / locals. The Hangout feature on the app is my favorite, because you can see who’s around to meet.
- Trusted Lodgers – The most comprehensive website for finding house gigs. You are looking at a vacation place while the home owner is on vacation.
- EatWith – Lets you eat homemade meals with the locals (it’s the Airbnb of food) It always leads to interesting encounters, so it’s one of my favorite things to do.
- BlaBlaCar – Racing sharing app that matches cyclists with checked locals who have a free seat in their car.
- RVShare – Allows you to rent RVs and RVs directly from the locals.
6. Find the free!
The world is full of amazing free travel resources (like this site) that can help you travel on a budget. No matter where you go, there is probably a blog post about what to do and see it for free or cheap. Someone’s been there and written about it! Make the most of them to help you plan your trip.
My favorite search term is “free things to do in X”. You will always get a result!
Also, don’t be afraid to walk into a hostel, even if you’re not there, and ask them what to do on the cheap. Their customers are budget-sensitive, so they always know what to do and where to go for some money.
Local tourism organizations will also have lots of information on free things to do.
7. Keep to public transport
If you’re on a budget, skip shared taxis and rides like Lyft or Uber. Unless you can cut costs by sharing a journey with other passengers, public transport will be the cheapest way to get around. Not only will it save you money, but you can also see how local people travel.
Google Maps can usually give you a basic overview of the public transport options and fares available. You can find information on day and / or multi-day tickets from local hostel / hotel staff (as well as from local tourist offices). For information on cheap intercity travel, check out Rome2Rio.
8. Use local tourist offices
Local tourist offices are a wealth of information. They exist only to provide information about what to see and what to do. They often have tons of discounts not found anywhere else and can also keep you up to date with local events, free trips, and the best places to eat. They can help you find discounts on public transport and / or even multi-day tickets.
Don’t skip the local tourist office! They are a resource that is seriously underused.
9. Secure cheap accommodation
Accommodation is one of the biggest fixed costs that travelers face, so reducing that cost can lead to big road savings. I’m sure many fans could be sleeping in a barn if it was the cheapest accommodation they could find! Heck, I slept in hammocks in national parks to save a dollar!
As you have to stay somewhere every night, reducing this cost can save you a lot of money on the total cost of your trip. Stay in hostels, use Couchsurfing, stay in empty college dorms, camp out or try Airbnb.
Since there are many ways to reduce your accommodation costs, here are my posts on how to get accommodation deals:
10. Eat cheaply
As well as accommodation, food is one of the biggest travel costs. After all, everyone needs to eat. But there are many ways to eat on the cheap:
- Go grocery shopping and prepare your meals
- Shopping at local markets
- Use apps to find deals (Yelp, Seamless, LaForchette, TasteCard, RiceBowl)
Also, use the five-block rule. There seems to be this magical wall that surrounds the tourist areas. Most people don’t come for it. It has been my experience that if you walk five blocks in any direction from a large tourist area, you will eventually lose the crowds and find the local restaurants.
In my experience, tourist restaurants don’t care about quality because those tourists are not coming back. Residents do care, so the places that provide for them have to be better and cheaper or they fail. These are the places you want to eat. Use the resources above to find out where the locals eat and avoid lousy food!