How to Find the Best Places to Travel to When on a Budget
Planning a trip can be a pain in the you know what, especially when you have so many factors to consider and so many decisions to make. It used to be that you could just decide to go on a trip one day, call and reserve a ticket, pack a bag, and off you were. But in today’s busy world, it’s becoming increasingly harder to go on vacation. Deciding where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to do, what to take with you, and even when to go, are all questions that have been bothering folks in recent years. Not to mention, going on vacation or holiday is more expensive than ever. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, fun trips, but many people balk at the costs when they start planning; and for good reason. The average price of a domestic vacation or trip, even within the continental United States, has been steadily increasing for decades. With international travel, people have been experiencing even more increase. So it comes as no surprise that many would-be travelers have been deciding to cancel or postpone their plans when they see an estimate of the immense spending they’ll have to do in order to go on vacation. After all, not everyone can afford a two week getaway to Hawaii or the south of France. So what exactly are students, larger families, and people on a budget meant to do? Well, that’s why we’ve written up this guide for you. This guide is our gift to you, which is designed to help you discover how to find the best places to travel to when on a budget.
It’s true that travelling and going on holiday has become quite an expensive proposition. The cost of travel aside, we have to consider the spending on room and board, food, commuting, entertainment, souvenirs, and a laundry list of other associated expenses. Travelling with friends and family means spending even more. If you want to stay at a nice hotel, you’ll end up having to pay quite a bit more for your rooms. Often, the finer cuisines and local delicacies are pricy so you’ll have to consider those as well. And all else aside, there is the fact that the worlds’ most popular tourist spots and locations have been inflating prices and cost of visiting for years. Where once you could pay a small fee to gain access to a popular site or attraction, today you have to fork over outrageous sums of money to be able to visit. Indeed, the world has seen an unprecedented increase in the average cost of a vacation. But that need not mean you should just cancel or postpone your trip. In fact, we are here to tell you that there are a number of options you can consider if you are a bit short of funds or are just budget conscious.
So today, we’ll be going over just a few of the tips, tricks, and industry secrets that globe trotters have availed for decades in order to travel the world and go on amazing journeys without breaking the bank in the process. Some of these recommendations might seem so blatantly obvious that you say to yourself: My goodness, what an idea! Why didn’t I think of that?! Let’s start with some great recommendations that will enable you to go on a fantastic journey and save you some money as well.
1. Visit Places Close to Home.
The first thing you can do to limit spending and still have fun, is visit some cool and interesting locations and sites that are a bit closer to home. To start with, grab a pen and paper and make a quick list of all the cities, landmarks, cultural sites, and other tourist attractions you have seen within your own country or even state. Now, make a separate list of the most popular tourist sites and other attractions in your country. Comparing the two lists, you might find that the list you’ve compiled of the places you’ve been to does no justice to the wide variety of places to visit within your very own country or even state. For most people, odds are they’ve only really been to a handful of places outside their hometown. It’s perfectly normal for the vast majority of people to never even have set foot outside their home state or even city. Therefore, we highly suggest looking for places to visit close by. We often end up neglecting a perfectly good spot to check out that is just a few hours’ drive from our house.
When asked about their travel history, many of our friends and colleagues were surprised to find that they had never even ventured outside their own state, or if they had, only for work or business, with little time left aside for exploring the places they were in. It’s amazing to think that many folks have never even seen the wonderful sites and locations in their own countries that many foreigners pay good money to travel to and see. But don’t take our word for it. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. We have some very good statistics and numbers to back up our claim that the average American doesn’t travel nearly as much as you might think. In a recent study, surveyors found that in a sample size of 2000 residents of the United States from all over the country, eleven percent of respondents had never even traveled outside the state in which they were born. Even more surprising still, more than half (a whopping fifty four percent!) of the participants revealed that they had only visited ten or fewer states other than the one in which they were born. In fact, forty percent of the people asked said that they had never even left the country. Many respondents even said that the purpose of their visits was usually related to work rather than for taking time off.
All this has been in an attempt to say that maybe you should consider travelling to one of the many great locations that are in your neighboring states or at the very least in your own country. After all, millions flock to the United States every year looking for a good time, so surely you can find something to do here as well.
2. Travel to Less Visited Countries.
If you are in the mood for a trip to exotic and foreign lands, and want to explore new and vibrant cultures, you have a varied selection of some very nice places. While it’s true that most people gravitate to places they saw or heard of in movies, TV Shows, or from friends and family who travelled there, these are far from the only locations in the wide world. The most famous tourist destinations are obviously places like France, Spain, Italy, Malaysia, Hong Kong and others that have become hubs of international trade and commerce over the years. But these represent just a small fraction of the world’s countries. There are entire continents that have fewer visitors than just a few American states put together. And yet, they offer some of the most stunning locations, the most exotic cuisine, the richest histories, and the most amazing people on the planet. But as a result of the fewer tourists, we see these locations offering much more affordable and reasonable prices and rates. Developing countries such as in Eastern Europe, South America, part Asia and Africa all offer some of the cheapest and most budget friendly travel options. And yet, these amazing places don’t lack in beautiful scenery, cutting edge architecture, fine local cuisine options, and hospitable people and locals.
So, travellers often overlook some of the most amazing tourist attractions in the world in favor of the more popular destinations which were recommended by close friends or seen on TV and film. This however is good news for those of us who wish to spend less and enjoy more. Many options exist for lesser known tourist spots all over the world. An added benefit of travelling to these locations is the exclusivity and allure of a new place that you just won’t find in all the popular tourist traps. Fewer people visiting, means better deals and lower costs. Not to mention, the sense of discovery and awe that comes from going to a less visited place.
Every country in the world has its own distinct collection of historic sites, customs and traditions, culture, food, and tourist attractions. That means no matter where you go you are sure to find some interesting things to see and do. You don’t have to spend gobs and gobs of money to find places worth visiting. It can seem daunting to try out a new place that you haven’t seen or heard of before, but what matters is that you have fun and do so in the most economical way.
3. Watch Out for Steeply Priced Tourist Traps!
We are all too familiar with the sight. An unknowing tourist, wowed by bright lights and insistent locals, convinced to visit a place, only to discover that a gazillion other people had the exact same idea. ‘A place that attracts many tourists and where goods and services are more expensive than normal.’ That is the literally the definition of the phrase ‘tourist trap’, when you search for it online. We have all seen it happen, or have experienced it firsthand ourselves. You go somewhere a bunch of people seem to be gathering together. Many are tourists, much like yourself; snapping photos, trying out the local eateries, others are locals, manning shops and stalls, happy to sell you trinkets and souvenirs for inflated prices. It seems everyone is caught up in a web, where you can shift and move around, but it’s almost impossible for you to get out. Everything is purposefully designed to keep you (and your wallet) there for as long as possible. Congratulations. You have just been trapped.
The fact of the matter is that people on vacation need, nay, want to spend money and the people who work near the world’s most popular tourist destinations are more than happy to enable them in that pursuit. Expensive food, pricy clothing, shiny memorabilia that will break the second you get back home. All of these are just a few of the things you should watch out for if you wish to save some money on your trip. Sure, you’re on vacation. You came prepared to spend money and spend money you shall. BUT FIVE DOLLARS FOR A BOTTLE OF WATER!?!?!?! That is just absurd.
This theme of taking advantage of unsuspecting foreigners is prevalent in any city, town, or locale that thrives on the tourism industry. We highly recommend being vigilant and proactive against these types of scams. Just because the crowds gather in one place, shouldn’t mean you need to go there as well. As the age old saying goes, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Instead of taking your business to an obviously overpriced restaurant that is geared towards attracting tourists, opt instead for a more traditional establishment that the locals themselves are going to. Instead of going in blind to buy some local goods and depending on the better nature of the vendor, do your research beforehand to make sure you are not getting ripped off. Review services like ‘Yelp!’ or other such review platforms are a highly useful tool when travelling. They help you get an idea of the quality and price range of a lot of restaurants, bars, shops, businesses, and other things you’ll encounter on your journey. It’s always good practice to do as much research about a place as you can before taking your business there.
4. Go to Public Parks, Landmarks, and Other Cost-Free Locations.
Vacations can be expensive due to many different factors. The cost of food, room and board, entertainment, commuting, and buying absolutely essential goods and commodities such as snow globes and comically large hats (-_-) can add up to quite a large sum. But another contributing factor is the outrageous price of admission charged by some sites and even landmarks.
Many places that are popular tourist spots have made a business of charging big money for tickets and passes. This is another pitfall of visiting these places that get thousands and thousands of visitors every year. Frugal tourists should take care not to fall for these insane ticket prices and cover charges.
Instead, we would like to recommend that you visit sites and landmarks that have been classified as public property and therefore do not require you to pay any fees or charges simply to gain access. Every country in the world has examples of such places that will only require a nominal price of admission, if any at all. These often include public parks, recreation centers, some historic sites that do not require payment for access, cultural exhibits and museums that are open to the public and many others. By doing so, you will be able to cut spending while still enjoying some great experiences and places to visit.
5. Plan a Trip with Your School / College / Office
Another cost cutting measure when travelling, is to plan your trip with your school, your college, or even your office. This is a particularly great way to save on some money. Essentially, the idea is that your school or college administration, or you employer, have had to arrange trips and getaways in the past and do so frequently for different groups of people. This allows them to have many industry ties and connections, meaning they can get much better prices and accommodation options. The fact that they might also be sending multiple groups to the same location further allows them to have more bargaining power and leverage with the travel agencies, hotels, tour organizers, and other related services.
Organizing a trip with peers also makes the trip undoubtedly more fun and exciting while also giving you the freedom to participate in more group activities. Another perk of travelling with friends is the strength in numbers that is characteristic of large parties. While it may not seem like much, having a large number of people with you is a good thing when travelling. Travelling in groups affords you more security while travelling abroad in less safe localities and regions of the world. Also, having many people in your party means you have the compounded experience of all participants. Some may be fluent in the language, others may have visited the destination in the past, and of course there is always that one person who, despite not knowing the language or customs, knows how to talk to anyone and is invaluable in a sticky situation. As a last bonus tip, we would like to recommend visiting certain places during what is considered the off season. This is the time of year when the destination gets fewer tourists, and the weather may not be as agreeable as at other times of the year. However, off seasons allow for some great savings in terms of cost of hotel rooms, trips to restaurants, and even in the activities you can get into. Armed with these tips and recommendations for finding the best places to travel to when on a budget, we hope you too can find a great place to visit and make some everlasting memories.