Just about everyone loves to travel, and travel is one of the most intriguing and fun activities one can engage in. Travel provides the remarkable ability to see the world from a whole new perspective, and I for one believe that if people traveled more outside their country there would be far less war and trouble in the world.
When asked why they do not travel, one of the most frequently cited reasons is lack of money. Lack of funds, however, does not need to be a barrier to traveling the world. Obviously if you’re flat broke you may not be able to travel as you wish, but most people have at least some disposable income, and it can be surprisingly inexpensive to travel to many places.
One of the primary considerations for any budget minded traveler is where to stay. Fortunately, there are many budget friendly options when it comes to putting a roof over your head for the night. For solo travelers, hostels can provide, clean safe accommodations and the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world. Best of all, the prices are almost impossible to beat. For instance, most hostels in major U.S. cities range from $20 to $30 a night, when a hotel room would set you back a cool $150-$200 or even more.
In Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, hostel accommodations are even cheaper, with many charging the equivalent of $5 a night or even less. The key is to check the internet and see what is available in your destination. Many hostels even provide online booking, so you can arrive with your lodging issues already taken care of.
For couples, a budget hotel can be a great choice. There are many such hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, located all around the world. Again, many of them are on the internet, and like hostels many can be booked online before you leave home.
Another great way to save money while still having a great vacation is to use the public transportation system. Most destinations in Europe, and many in the United States and Canada as well, have excellent, fast, reliable, and cheap public transportation systems. You can probably by a weekly bus pass for less than what you would pay to rent a car for a single day. And public transportation also frees you from the hassles of parking the car, keeping it gassed up and learning your way around.
Another important key to traveling cheap is traveling light. Trekking around Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or the Americas does not require a mountain of luggage. If you are unsure whether to pack it, chances are it is best left at home. It is best to take a couple of sturdy and versatile outfits, and a good pair of walking shoes, and leave the rest at home.
Getting the best airfare, along with finding the cheapest place to stay, is one of the essential cornerstones of successful budget travel. There are a number of strategies for getting the best deal on airfare, from using credit cards to rack up frequent flier miles, to using discount airlines, to traveling in the off or shoulder season. The strategy that is best for you depends on your individual needs, and on the location you choose.
Keeping the money you do have for travel safe and secure is always a concern when traveling. Most seasoned travelers have learned to use a hidden money belt to carry passports, plane tickets and the majority of their cash. Using an in room safe is also a good idea. It is generally best to use credit cards for major purchases, and keep only a small amount of cash on hand for incidental purchases. Not only do credit cards provide the best exchange rates, but you are not liable for fraudulent purchases as long as you report the card stolen in a timely fashion.
Travel does not have to be out of reach, even for the most budget minded traveler. The key is to shop wisely, focus on your priorities and get the most out of the money you do spend.