When it comes to traveling, some things you have to learn on your own and some you can learn before you go. It took me a few trips and a few experiences of my own to figure out what were the best ways to save money and ways to have the best experience possible. How your trip turns out has a lot to do with all of the planning you do beforehand. Here are a few tips and suggestions about what to do before you embark on your adventure!
1. Have some flexibility when you start planning your flights.
If you want to travel on a budget and you are restricting yourself to traveling on a certain day, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. Give yourself a few days of wiggle room before you leave and after you leave to see if certain days are cheaper to fly than others. Also, if your schedule allows, consider traveling in the spring or the fall! You’ll miss the crowds and airfares tend to be a lot cheaper!
2. Be open to flying into other countries.
When traveling to Europe, I find that the main goal is to just get into the continent. In contrast to the US, once you’re in Europe it is very easy to get around. Lots of European countries are smaller than some US states and Europe has made it very easy to travel amongst them. If you can find an awesome flight price into a country that you weren’t really thinking about visiting, consider it! It’ll be a lot easier and a lot cheaper to get to another country once you’re there!
3. Do your homework.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people who have always wanted to go to Europe, but never looked into it because they’ve heard the round-trip flights are $1,500 – $2,000. There are a multiple airlines that have budget flights directly into Europe and some that have discounted tickets for students as long as you have a university email address! Trust me. Do some research. You may just find yourself in Europe paying half the price for flights that you thought you would.
4. Look into Airbnb’s as places to stay.
Any young traveler knows the first place to stay on a budget is a youth hostel. And in certain situations I still find that to be true. However, lately I find that most cities have much better/much cheaper options with Airbnb. You can have an apartment all to yourself for around the same price as a bunk with 15 other people, or a private room within someone’s house for even cheaper! Airbnb is safer, cleaner, and my venue of choice these days.
5. Travel light.
We’ve all been in the situation where we want to pack that sixth pair of shoes that we might wear out one night. Or that third book that you think you’re going to read with your down time. It seems like a good idea at the time, but those “good ideas” will quickly disappear when you’re lugging your 50 pound bag up three flights of stairs in a building that never installed an elevator. I’ve been there. And I still have the tag on my huge suitcase that says: “HEAVY. Assistance With Lifting May Be Needed. Bend Your Knees,” to prove it. Only bring things you know you’ll use (more than twice). Chances are you’ll still have more packed than you’ll actually use, but at least you’ll have space for some souvenirs! And you won’t have to pay any fees for luggage!
With these tips, you should be able to at least get the ball rolling and get your planning started. If there are any travel tips that you live by, leave them in a comment below! Happy traveling!