Balancing Travel and a Budget: How to Gain the Most Out of Your Adventure

Balancing Travel and a Budget: How to Gain the Most Out of Your Adventure
20 Dec 2021

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Image by Автошкола ТЕХНИКА from Pixabay

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), about 1.4 billion people travel around the world each year. Traveling is a great way to see the world, experience new cultures, and learn things you never could have imagined before. There’s a reason why so many people have the travel bug!

But one of the drawbacks of traveling, especially when going to a different country, is that it can get very expensive very quickly. And stressful. Even just planning a trip can be stressful if you’re on a budget because you don’t want to hold back on certain experiences.

Thankfully, you can still have incredible adventures all over the world, no matter what your budget might be. It all starts with planning ahead so you don’t run into any unexpected (and expensive) surprises! Then, by choosing the right way to travel, the best places to stay, and the most budget-friendly activities, you can create a trip to remember for you and your wallet.

Prepare by Planning Ahead

Planning ahead is one of the biggest keys to making sure you stay within your budget while traveling. Think of it as your “game strategy” to have a great time while saving money. First, make sure your budget includes the following:

• Transportation costs
• Lodging
• Food
• Activities/Experiences
• Incidentals (souvenirs, etc.)

It’s also a good idea to have a little extra “emergency” fund in your budget in case anything unexpected happens on your trip.

Obviously, one of the first things to consider is where you want to go. Looking at popular tourist destinations can be tempting, but they’re often the most expensive. Places like New York, Paris, and Tokyo are all among the most expensive travel destinations in the world. So while they’re popular for a reason, they’re also not the best for travelers on a budget. Thankfully, there are plenty of destinations that can help you to stay on a budget that are just as breathtaking. Some of the most incredible places in the world to visit that won’t break the bank include:

• Iceland
• Siena, Italy
• Montreal, Canada

These places are a bit more “off the grid,” but they each have their own memorable attractions.

Once you know where you want to go, it’s time to start making preparations for your trip. First, make sure everything is going to be taken care of at home. Talk to your employer about taking some time off of work — it’s considered professional to ask at least two weeks in advance, if not longer. If you’re planning a trip that’s longer than a couple of weeks, you could look into making money while you travel. These jobs would not only give you an outlet for elongating your trip, but they could also pay for many of your amenities.

Don’t forget to talk to a family member or friend about watching your house, pets, and checking your mail while you’re away. Knowing your furry friends are safe will help to put your mind at ease so you can actually enjoy your trip.

Creating a “to-do” list can help to ensure you’re not forgetting anything for your trip. On that list should be everything you plan on packing. What you pack will likely be influenced by the climate where you’re going and the activities you’re planning on. But no matter where you go, it’s a good idea to pack efficiently. You can often carry lighter bags onto flights to avoid baggage fees. To pack more efficiently, bring versatile clothing, use packing organizers, and try to forget about those “just in case” items once you have your essentials all packed.

If you’re going to a foreign country, you may have to exchange currency. That can be confusing and expensive when you’re somewhere with a different language. So work with your local bank ahead of time to see if they can provide you with the foreign currency. If not, check out ATMs and exchange kiosks to compare fees and rates.

Consider Your Transportation & Location

Air travel is the most expensive form of transportation. But it’s also often a necessity when you’re trying to get somewhere far away. Once you know where you want to go, be on the lookout for deals and compare prices from different airlines.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s equally important to choose your methods of transportation wisely. If you can, travel on foot as much as possible. Not only is it a great way to see the sights and experience the feel of the country, but it’s free, and it’s good for you! Many places also allow you to rent bicycles and scooters for an hourly rate, which is often cheaper than renting a car or even using a ridesharing app.

Public transportation can also be your budget-friendly solution when traveling somewhere new. Taking a trip across Europe? Why not take the train for an “unplugged” and relaxing experience cheaper than flying?

Where you stay when you’ve arrived will also impact your budget. While hotels are still one of the most popular places to rest your head, consider some cheaper alternatives, like:

• Hostels
• Airbnb
• Apartment rentals (for long-term stays)
• Religious housing
• Timeshares/vacation home rentals

Wherever you stay should be somewhere that makes you feel comfortable, and somewhere that allows you to keep your regular routine and have a schedule each day, so you can make the most of your trip.

Live Like a Local

Even in less expensive destinations, there are still plenty of tourist attractions. Unfortunately, those often cost the most money. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals what you can do that’s less expensive and just as memorable. Many times, people who live where you’re staying have the inside scoop on even better locations off the beaten path.

If you’re staying in a hotel, ask your concierge for the best experiences. Or email your Airbnb host to ask them ahead of time what activities you can’t miss.

The same goes for dining when you’re somewhere new. Eating out at a restaurant can be expensive, especially if it’s popular with other tourists. Head to local farmers’ markets or other marketplaces to shop like the locals do. It’s a great place to meet people and learn more about the culture. Shopping and eating locally are better for the environment and contribute to zero-waste living, a lifestyle that emphasizes creating as little waste as possible. Eating like a local is also better for the culture and better for you. Plus, many local vendors selling their products or foods are often more than willing to give you free samples.

If you do end up eating at restaurants throughout your trip, you can still save money by splitting meals, going for lunch instead of dinner, or going to buffet-style restaurants where you can be sure you’re getting the most bang for your exchanged buck.

There’s so much to do around the world that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Taking a trip is about enjoying yourself and taking part in new experiences. If you’re on a budget, a little bit of planning and creativity can go a long way, so you can have the adventure of a lifetime no matter what.


Indiana Lee

Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.

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