Editor's note: This article was written and submitted to Global Young Voices by Jason Greenhalgh, a blogger at Total Discounts.
Young people who are just beginning to travel may find it scary to go about the world on a limited budget, and that’s understandable. From the security of life at home, where every need is seen to and every comfort provided, youngsters now venture out to places where things are totally different—and seemingly expensive.
But there are lessons you can learn during a journey while becoming budget travel-savvy along the way. A slim wallet shouldn’t constrain you from enjoying the adventure away from home, and here are the secrets as to why.
1. You can score great deals online.
Movies often show characters rushing to airports trying to get flights at the last minute. Unless you’re part of a rom-com or suspense thriller, it would be to your financial advantage to plan ahead, check airfare and accommodation prices, and use vouchers and discount codes online first before rushing off. You can usually find codes for places like Britannia Hotels where you can usually get a better deal that the list price. There are many websites that let you check and compare prices, let you know about seat sales, offer great deals on vacation packages, and help you save money through discounts on hotels and other lodging options. Use your fingers and research skills to land great prices beforehand on everything you’ll need, and you won’t have to worry about money during your trip.
2. You can save more money by sharing a ride.
Gone are the days of yore when the thought of hitching rides with a stranger would make anyone uneasy. Now with the advent of ride-sharing websites and apps, you can save money on transportation. You’ll find it comforting to know that there are others like you who want to go off on adventures without sacrificing too much money, and one way to save is by sharing a ride when you’re all going to the same destination, or somewhere along the same road. Using ride-sharing apps is a good alternative to hiring private transportation or taking public transport cost-wise, because many of the rides will either be free or cheap because you’ll be splitting the cost of fuel with other budget travelers.
3. There are cheaper alternatives to restaurants.
You don’t have to starve yourself to death just to save money while you’re in a foreign land. There are many ways to save on food, and one is to go where the locals go for cheap, delicious food. These may be small cantinas or hole-in-wall cafes and eateries that offer good food for less. You can also visit the local market and make yourself sandwiches and meals that you can pack and take along with you as you explore. This way, you’ll not only save on food but get a taste of the local cuisine as well.
4. ‘No internet’ shouldn’t be a problem.
The dependence on technology may make people apprehensive whenever there’s no Wi-Fi or any sort of internet connection whatsoever, but this situation is actually where you learn how to be really travel-savvy. Many small hotels, hostels, transient houses and inns don’t have an online listing, and to take advantage of the low prices they offer, you’ll have to go to the local tourist offices and ask. Hostels would also often have ride-sharing info and other activities such as group tours posted on their community board, helping you save more money.
5. Being flexible lets you save.
Having a plan is good, especially if you only have a few days’ vacation, but don’t forget to allow for some flexibility in terms of your itinerary. You’ll find that there may be some more affordable options in terms of tours, food and accommodation once you arrive at your destination. For instance, you can book discounted rooms at a hotel or hostel for a couple of days, but take note of what locals and other budget travelers may recommend. Don’t be afraid to ask around for good but inexpensive options for food, transportation, activities and lodging so you can enjoy seeing the world without skimping where it counts.