STAY ON BUDGET. TRAVEL PLANNING.
Knowledge is power, and it’s also money. Saving money is to figure out how much you spend and keep track all expenses – that means, every coffee! rent, plane ticket, etc. What about saving traveling? If you are smart and have done your research, planned wisely, and set your mind on saving while traveling, you can have a trip of a lifetime without spending too much money. It has been said that traveling can make you more confident, clever, creative and most of all, leads you to discover lots of strategies. That is all true! Here are some of the things you need to think about when trying to organize a luxurious travel experience on a budget.
Research and Budget Planning
The combination of research and planning is the key to a successful travel. When it comes to saving and budgeting, even a luxury traveler knows the value of every scent when crossing the globe. When booking the tickets, choosing stylish hotels, restaurants, and activities, do it online, compare prices and avoid hidden fees! Compare and get better deals. Some of the best and leading portals now, offer all-inclusive packages along with the option to customize your trip as per your needs and your budget. Anything and everything can be done online nowadays – these should be practiced by all who are looking forward to an awesome travel.
I usually do the research comparing places like booking.com vs airbnb.com or skyscanner.net vs ctrip.com so I can have a better idea on the highest and lowest price fares. You can visit also numbeo.com to see how high the expense in the city you are traveling to compared with the city you live in.
Currency Exchange in Advance
This can be very beneficial to begin tracking the exchange rate a few months before your trip. They say; 50 or 60 days before your travel date. Why? Because the currency exchange rates change constantly so it’s a good way to track them and take advantage of the higher value. To save on cost, pick up your foreign currency at your local bank prior to your departure, take out larger sums so you are charged less frequently. Banks usually offer the least expensive fees for currency compares to airport kiosk.
If you are traveling to places like China, Doha, UAE mind to read about the currency exchange, many places are much easier to deal exchanging money on arrival and others don’t have currency exchange kiosk only on the local banks and can require extra paperwork. Do the research in advance.
Book ahead or Book last minute.
- Air Ticket: Compare and check rates in the morning and evening. You’ll be surprised how rates can fluctuate during the day. What you see in the morning might increase in the afternoon. “be sure to clear cookies and history” as some portals can detect your searches and might take advantage of you. As much as possible, book directly through the airline website.
My best advice: best days to look for tickets are Tuesday night due to the low traffic of people booking tickets this day. Also, take the chance to check if it’s more worthy to buy the tickets separated or round trip. Depending on the day and the month buying the tickets separated can save you 25% of the total price.
- Hotel: Beforehand, be aware of the location of where you are staying. Check the amenities, if it includes free Wifi as this will reduce your roaming charges, check the location, as this is a big factor as well. If you can walk to everything your trip will be so much easier. And avoid that last minute booking. It can cost you a lot more. However, it’s just as beneficial to book last minute and get a discount as the agent might be looking to fill one last space!. or save even more by booking in advance. You might even get a discount on museums and attractions by booking early.
My best advice: be clear what are you looking for when it comes to paying to stay somewhere. The truth is unless you stay in a resort mostly you book for a central place to stay. In my personal case, I am always looking for good aesthetics, location, breakfast, and a view. Usually check how much is the average cost of breakfast locally and then check hotels with breakfast included, this one has saves me a lot of time, energy and money. Try it. You might be surprised.
Consider Shoulder Season
High season is the time of the year when everyone wants to hit a destination, which makes it expensive. The shoulder season, by contrast, is just before or after that high season. It tends to be less expensive and less crowded, less busy destinations, yet it still has most of what you want and reasonable weather.
Since I live in China it has been a homework for me to master the Shoulder Season, coming from a place as small as Panama, standing in line for me is not a used thing to do, at least not with thousand people. That’s why I try to focus on work on high season and travel on shoulder season, life is easier when the crowded places are a few.
Some of the best and leading portals now, offer all-inclusive packages along with the option to customize your trip as per your needs and your budget.
Eat like a Local
Eating out is part of the fun of travel – that’s half of the traveling!- And it’s something that you can’t run away no matter how serious you are about saving. By all means, enjoy the local cuisine that your destination is known for but consider picking up supplies at their local grocery stores. You could even decide to join locals in their local eateries, this is a perfect way to interact with them and learn about their culinary art as well as culture. It does not only save you money, but you get to appreciate the sense of culinary mastery expressed through their dishes.
I use Foursquare -I know many of you are going to call it an oldfashioned app- but most of the location in USA, Europe, and Asia works perfectly if you want to take local food and interact with locals on your breakfast, dining or hanging out experience.
I am not a fan of bus tours but I do like walking around. One of the best ways to explore is by foot!. Aside from fitness benefits, it’s the best way to see the city, meet other tourists, get advice from locals and know tips of places to visit/avoid and best delicacies to eat and most of all, value money – because it’s free!
Avoid Tourist Traps
Generally speaking, most of the money people usually spend while traveling are tourist traps. In most cases, the prices you pay in these activities will be inflated quite a bit. If you want to save money without sacrificing the luxury you deserve, going off of the beaten path may be your best bet. Taking the time to research local attractions can help you plan your itinerary with ease. Most museums, local “must see” places and valuable things for a good trip cost low compared with agencies and trip planners.
If you love going to exclusive places, having unique experiences and checking spots like cafes or stores that are iconic and not mainstream make sure to do the research beforehand and booking everything in advance. 99% of the time iconic experiences -restaurants, rooftops, vineyards, stores- take only an email. Don’t be lazy. Make the research, do the job.