Anyone who has ever been bitten by the travel bug knows that all-too-familiar longing for undiscovered destinations. Every once in a while we all come across stories of people who gave up cushy jobs and plush lifestyles to travel the world and are filled with an envious desire to follow suit. If there weren’t bills to be paid and responsibilities to be met, a lot of us would just live out of a backpack, wandering around the world.
If that sounds like the story of your life, we have some pro tips that can help actualise your dream of travelling frequently without going broke:
Set Up a Travel Fund
Setting aside some money each month for your escapades means not having to put off a travel plan for want of funds. Of course, whatever you save may or may not suffice for footing the bill of an entire trip but it serves as a great launch pad. Divide your monthly savings in two halves and direct one toward your travel fund. Soaking up on experiences is a lot more valuable than having a hefty bank balance anyway.
If your lifestyle permits you that kind of certainty, planning a trip ahead of time is a very good idea to cut down on travel and lodging expenses. Booking your tickets in advance can save you a great deal of money that you can use to load up on experiences. They say six weeks before your travel date is when your chances of finding highly discounted tickets are the highest. As for the hotels, even if you are booking in advance, see if you have the option to pay at check out, otherwise it best to divide your stay between different hotels, staying no longer than two nights in one, so that if the accommodation isn’t to your liking, you don’t have to suffer it for long. Also, that way you get to explore different types of hospitality avenues. If you can, try to book a range of options, from thrifty hostels to luxury hotels.
Look for Organise Tours
A lot of travellers I know prefer dodging organised tours because they feel ‘organised fun’ is no fun at all. You know having to keep up with a schedule even on holiday takes the joy out of the whole experience. Contrary to this belief, organised tours can be a lot of fun, provided you choose the right ones. If you are a solo traveller on a family-oriented tour, of course, you’d feel like pulling your hair out by the end of it all, but if you find fun tours catering to like-minded travellers, these can turn out to be fun way to explore new places. Also, organised tours are often the most affordable and convenient way of seeing new places, as cabs are often too expensive and public transport too complex for an outsider to get a hang of. Besides, you don’t really have to keep up the bus schedule at all times, as the option to take the next one is always open.
Define Your Travel Style Ahead of a Trip
Your travel preferences are a personal choice that can vary from trip to trip, destination to destination, depending on the kind of experience you are looking for, and more importantly, the dough you can dish out. Some travellers like to keep their escapades basic in terms of amenities and focus on the experiences, others like to unwind in the lap of luxury, and then there are those who are flexible about their travel style. If you are the third kind, it is important to define your travel style before every holiday to make sure you can have fun within your means.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Credit cards can seem like a boon for the regular traveller. These are accepted almost everywhere, and so, you don’t have to worry about currency exchange and all that. But depending solely on your credit card is a surefire way of overshooting your budget manifold and landing in debt. Getting an internationally accepted travel debit card linked to your bank account is a great alternative for keeping your spending under check. As an extra security measure, getting one on a secondary account – the one you are using to build a travel fund, may be? – is recommended, so you don’t risk losing all your money in case of loss or theft in a foreign destination.
Chart Out Your Splurges
Splurges and travelling go hand in hand. Even if you are travelling on a budget, there are bound to be experiences you’d be drawn to despite their price tag. Don’t let money restraints hold you back from indulging in something you have always dreamt of but plan your splurges wisely. Attend that concert, dine at that Michelin Star restaurant, take that hot balloon ride, go scuba diving or bungee-jumping, if it has been on your bucket list. When you factor in these little splurges ahead of time, you’ll be able to work the rest of you budget around them.
Load Up on the Free Experiences
Heritage walks, walking city tours, mountain hikes, art gallery visits, these are the kind of experiences that enrich you without costing a dime. It’s a great way to explore a new place, understand its culture and character, especially when you are travelling on a shoe-string budget.
Do Local Things, Talk to the Natives
Travelling isn’t just about checking the boxes on an itinerary drawn up on basis of what the travel guides recommend. If you really want a place to become a part of you forever, you’ll must wade into unexplored territories. The small neighbourhoods, the local parks and shops, the cultural trivia, these are the things that make you aware of the true ethos of a place and the only way to discover them is to wander off into those unassuming nooks and crannies of your destination. Talk to natives, cook with the local ingredients, eat at those obscure little cafes, shop at the local markets.
Shed Your Inhibitions
The one thing that is standing between your dream of travelling the world and your ability to do so are you inhibitions. The fear of the unknown, the apprehension of it being too big a risk, the breaking away from you comfort zone. The logistics, the finances will fall in place or you’ll find a way to work around them once you decide to pack up your bags and leave. So, shed your inhibitions and go.