“It’s better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times”
If one sentence were ever to capture the truth of the world, this one would rank pretty high. A simple truth, yet very poignant. We may read all about the beauties of a place, the mysteries it conceals, the aura it radiates. Words are powerful, but the experience has a magic of its own that is unmatched. While most of us would like to, we aren’t all that rich to support a lifestyle that includes traveling every month. So for people like you and me, who don’t have money pouring out of our every pore, there’s budgeted traveling. So here are some tips and suggestions that will help you support your wanderlust urges.
1. Cheap tickets
There are certain times of the day and certain days of the week when airline tickets are cheaper than the rest. The internet is a good place to do your research and ‘Google Baba’ will provide you with the right answer. Many online websites offer coupon codes for discounts, use those. Flight tickets aren’t as expensive an affair as you think.
2. Cheaper destinations
The world is filled with wonderful places to visit and Europe, London, the USA aren’t the only options. In the end, it’s always about the journey, not the destination. So pick a destination that is cheap, preferably cheaper than your currency, that way you’ll be able to enjoy more. Cambodia, Vietnam, Hungary, Bulgaria, Honduras generally fall in this category.
3. The night gathers
Hotels are generally an expensive affair, one that leaves you with a broken wallet. If you plan on meandering through the streets all day and using your hotel only for the nighttime, then a small bed and breakfast or a youth hostel will work just as well. CouchSurfing is another good and cheap option. Pick something with free wifi and included breakfast meal, it’ll go a long way in saving money.
4. Maps and Apps
Go old school, use maps, and find your way through the city/town/village/country. Getting lost is also an experience in itself. Make use of free apps. But make sure these apps work offline, because you may not have access to free wifi at all times, and using your internet will burn a hole in your pocket. Worst case scenario, ask a local for the right direction, it’s the best tried and tested formula.
5. No souvenirs
We all like to take back mementos of a place, something to remember the beautiful moments by. But souvenirs are a tourist trap and often overpriced. Avoid those. If you must, take back the ticket stub from your first train ride, or the leaf you found walking along the countryside. In hindsight they make for much better souvenirs, after all, they have a story attached to it, a memory.
6. Ride like the locals
Taxis are a big no-no, especially when you’re traveling internationally. Walking is often the best option as you get to walk through the place, breathing in its character and uniqueness. If your legs happen to tire, which they will eventually, opt for public transport. Trains, trams, buses, metros are much cheaper than taxis. If it’s a place you’re going to stick around for a month or so, you can even get a pass. Local transport will take you through the back alleys, and every vein of the city, things you might have otherwise missed.
7. Who are you gonna call?
Don’t make phone calls. International calls charge a bomb. Avoid it if you can. If in case you absolutely must, then get a local sim card. In the long run, it’ll prove to be cheaper. There was a time when people crossed the narrow seas without technology, so you’ll survive if you don’t use your phone for a few days.
8. Street food is streets ahead!
The best way to get a feel of the place is by going local. Sitting down and dining at a restaurant will become expensive. The best, if not better alternative to that is Street food. It’s cheaper, tastier, and will give you a taste of the place's authentic flavors, spices, and culture. An all-in-one experience you won’t get sitting in a restaurant.
9. It’s all about the time
Like it is important in most cases, timing is important for traveling too. Traveling during the off-season means everything is going to be cheaper. So before you fly off to any destination, check up on it. If it’s off-season you’re in luck, if it’s the time of the year, then you might have to shell out more.
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