People often think you need lots of money to be able to travel. Or, if you’re on a tight budget, it will take away from having an amazing travel experience. We think like that because our timelines are regularly hit with a barrage of pictures from friends travelling the world, and it’s hard not to be envious.
However, if your finances can’t bear the weight of an extravagant trip right now, there are many ways to travel affordably. All you need is a little out of the box thinking. With a bit of time and good planning, you could be the one posting enviable pictures of your next adventure.
1.Travel during off-peak season
Off-peak season in South Africa is usually during the winter months (May to August) as no one really wants to travel during cold weather. Tourist season does vary by destination, but generally speaking, travelling during the summer months or during school holiday means paying more for flights, petrol, and accommodations. This is actually a perfect time to travel and, as an added bonus, you will benefit from less crowded attractions and have a less stressful overall experience.
2. Lookout for deals/sales
Make sure to subscribe to flight newsletters or accommodation sites. Most travel websites regularly offer deals on flight prices, and accommodations tend to lower their costs throughout the year.
3. Eat out less
A lot of times we spend vast amounts of our travel budget on food. Rather dine in local restaurants which aren’t all that fancy and expensive. Trust me; these are the places that offer you authentic local food rather than the glamorous food-joints. Try out local street food and cook for yourself when possible.
4. Go with a Group
If you know of friends or family members wanting to go on a trip, think about making it a joint effort. Group rates for hotels, flights, and attractions are common and can result in a 10-15% discount.
Many group rates start at 10 people. However, if you are going by plane, you will likely have to call the reservation centre to book. You can also score group rates if you’re booking several rooms at the same accommodation. You just have to ask when you call, since online reservations don’t always offer the best group rates.
5. Plan a shorter trip
We all travel for different reasons; whether it be for relaxation or exploration. You don’t need to jet off for weeks at a time to get the experience you want. Shorter travel blocks offer the same benefits as extended vacations, and they can cost much less.
Plenty of shorter trips can help you recharge, explore different areas, and experience something new – even if it’s in your own backyard. Travelling to your own province, visiting a nearby National Park or camping site, or going to a museum or local theme parks can all be done within your set budget.
As an added bonus, planning shorter, closer-to-home trips means you can drive instead of fly, saving the money you would have spent on a plane ticket.
6. Lookout for budget-friendly accommodations
I know we all would love to stay in 5-star hotels, but realistically, they are often overpriced. Instead, go for inexpensive options such as self-catering places, campsites, or B&Bs. These places usually offer great deals during off-seasons. Invest some time doing thorough research and you’ll reap the rewards.
7. Save on transportation
Road trips still seem to be the cheapest form of getting around. But if you’re in a different country, transport can be a considerable expense. Spend a few minutes familiarising yourself with public transportation options which can save you a lot of money over taking taxis. I recommend researching the best location to stay in so you can walk wherever you need to go. It’s free.
8. Spend less on attractions
When you visit a new place, you don’t want to stay in your hotel room – you want to visit the main attractions. In popular touristic cities, most famous attractions are often very crowded and very expensive. Ask locals for advice or research free activities in the area.
9. Enjoy your budget travel
The biggest tip for travelling on a budget is to go slow. You can save so much money by taking your time. This doesn’t just save money on transport costs, but you can find better accommodation deals when you stay somewhere longer. You also become better at figuring out cheap eating deals and will also have the time to self-cater.
If travel is something you love to do, it’s always a challenge when your budget doesn’t agree. However, by adjusting your priorities and being willing to compromise you might be able to find a little wiggle room in your budget. Regardless of what social media tells you, travel doesn’t always have to be four-star resorts and top-notch dining. For some, the experience of exploring a new locale is enough.