Don’t get confused; there is indeed a big difference between a budget traveller and a traveller on a budget. Perhaps we should change ‘budget traveller’ to ‘cheap traveller’, to give you an idea of what we really mean. A cheap traveller is one that compromises on their comforts, their safety, their food, and ‘lifestyle’, just to be able to tick another destination off their travel bucket list. These travellers are not phased about quality – they care more about saving a buck, whether that means they’ll be sleeping on the floor, or eating the equivalent of dog food, for breakfast. Definitely not the way most of us would like to travel – that’s why most of us fall under ‘traveller on a budget’. We won’t compromise on all life’s greatest pleasures while we’re jet setting around the world, but we also won’t pay an arm and a leg for the luxuries – because we’re the wise ones. We know there are plenty of bargains out there, if only we just do some research, and listen to the advice from other travelers on a budget.
So how does one travel smart? How does one, who has a limited budget, travel without compromising? Well, fortunately there are many travel agencies, hotel chains and airlines that are on the side of the budget traveller. They understand the needs of a traveller who seeks out quality, without breaking the bank – and we’re here to let you in on what they offer.
Travel Agencies Guide to Travelling on a Budget
Consider a package holiday
Package holidays are always extremely affordable as they include flights and accommodation, as well as (sometimes) including transport, activities and food and drinks in one fixed cost. Because it’s a fixed cost, you know what you’re spending, upfront. Whereas independent travel can become pricey quickly – and you may be unaware of just how much you’re spending. Most travel agencies offer packages to various destinations – it pays to shop around. This way you’re sure to get a great deal, with all the bells and whistles.
A contiki tour is a guided group tour. You’ll travel with other travellers who are of a similar age to you, as contiki’s target travellers between the ages of 18-35. The aim of a contiki is to travel, meet new people, sight-see and explore, on a budget. They are seriously affordable, and convenient – as the entire trip (just about), is organised for you. You’ll fly with the airlines that they’ve organised with, you’ll be guided by a contiki tour guide once you’ve landed in the destination, and transported around the cities in the contiki buses.
All Inclusive Deals
All-inclusive deals may sound a lot like package holidays, however, they’re a lot different. All-inclusive refers only to the accommodation. All-inclusive hotels/guesthouses and bed and breakfasts which include all food and drinks into the over-all price. This means that once you arrive, everything will be ‘free’, as it’s been included into the price already.
Accommodation for the Traveller on a Budget
Budget-Friendly Hotels and Useful Sites
You’ll be surprised at the number of incredible hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts that are of high standard and don’t charge the earth. You can find affordable places to stay through the use of Hitlist, or Hostel world – both apps, which alert you on the best accommodation bargains in the place you’re travelling to. Also, it pays to keep up to date with hotel chains that support the traveller on a budget, who’s also looking for comfort, great service and an epic location. There are hidden gems out there!
AirBNB is a great place to find an ideal place to rest your head. What’s great about AirBNB is that you can search according to your budget as well as other requirements, such as location, number of bedrooms and specific amenities, and you will also be able to see the reviews from other travellers who have stayed at a specific home. AirBNB is a trusted site, too, and each place listed would have gotten the tick of approval from AirBNB.
A Guide to Booking Flights
Sign Up for Alerts on Reduced Airfares
Just like there are sites that alert you on the affordable accommodation options, there are also sites that alert you on reduced airfares. The most well-known site, which compares flights across the board, and alerts you on the most budget-friendly airfares is AirfareWatchDog.com. Other sites include Yapta, Hipmunk and Kayak. Also, don’t turn up your nose to the smaller airlines which you may not have heard of – they are safe and most of them get great reviews from travellers. These smaller airlines which are not as well known, often get pushed to the bottom of the list on booking sites and thus get overlooked, but be a smart traveller and hunt for these bargains!
Book Six Weeks in Advance
According to a study lead by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, airfares drop below the average rate six weeks prior to your departure. We aren’t sure how to measure this, and whether it’s entirely accurate, but it’s worth a try!
Book Connecting Flights
Most times it’s cheaper to take connecting flights, rather than fly direct. The reason for this is because the airlines have to take into consideration the risk that comes with potentially not filling up a direct flight. Connecting flights, however, are shorter routes, and smaller planes which means there is less of a risk of not having enough people on board.