Euros 20 for return airfare tickets to London! Can you believe that?
Yes, I spent Euros 20 for my plane tickets from Munich to London a month ago! And I definitely had so much fun.
Who says that you need to be a millionaire to be able to afford that dream vacation? Gone are the days when travel was a luxury and only for rich people. Anyone can travel now, and anyone, who has the courage and does careful planning, can really do so.
Travel, for me, is always the best way for me to educate myself about the world and other people's cultures. I travel because it enriches my mind, my soul, and my life. And because I really like traveling and I would really want to spread the good things traveling has brought into me, I am sharing some tips on how you can travel often and cheap. As they say, it's always the first step that is difficult. But once you get through it at least once, everything else will be easy.
Whether you like to fly First Class or Economy Class, it is usually the airline tickets that cost you most when you travel.
My favorite website to compare airline tickets is Skyscanner. It's my first go-to site when I need to see flight schedules and fares. I also like to check the Map feature, which gives me an idea on which destinations cost less on my planned dates. You can type in the airport where you are planning to fly from, and Skyscanner gives you a map of places you can go to (direct or with stops) with the lowest fares possible in a given time. Awesome!
If you are planning to go on short-haul trips, it is advisable to take low-cost airlines because they cost less. Sometimes you just need a three-day trip to a different city, ideally you won't need a first class ticket for an hour plane ride.
For me, if the flying time is usually below four hours, I'd book the low-cost airline. I don't need the extra snacks that most national carriers offer nor the extra kilos of luggage.
When you are traveling for leisure and exploring the city, you don't really need a five-star hotel. Most of the time, you're out on the streets, shopping in the markets or malls, or checking out museums and other attractions. So, why would you pay so much for a hotel room you'll never get to use or enjoy?
Though it's nice to be spontaneous, I always make sure that I book my accommodation weeks or months before I arrive. Like airfares, hotel rates are cheaper when booked ahead of time. Plus, if it's peak season, you might run out of affordable and acceptable places to stay.
You can check out Booking to see the latest accommodation deals. At Booking, there is an option to reserve the room without paying for it. So in case your travel plans change (and sometimes they do), you can still cancel the room without any charges.
If you like to live with locals or try how it feels to be a local in the place you're traveling to, check out Airbnb. I've tried booking rooms via Airbnb, and my experience was always pleasant. Plus, I got to interact with locals and received tips on where to eat and drink and what to see! Just be careful, some hosts cancel your reservation last minute. Not cool!
Another cheap option is to stay in hostels. You can check out HostelWorld and HostelBookers. Here's a tip: make sure that you read the reviews and comments from other travelers, so you can set your expectations. ;-) I've been to really nice hostels and extremely bad ones, too. And I must say that most comments are accurate!
The cheapest and best option for cheap accommodation would be staying at a friend's place - be it on the couch, the floor, or the extra bed! Reach out to a friend, tell them about your travel plans. Who knows they might be able to offer you a free stay?!
P.S. Thank you to my amazing friends who have hosted me in my travels. Hugs!
P.S. Thank you to my amazing friends who have hosted me in my travels. Hugs!
Ditch Uber or the airport taxi! Get on the train or bus! Why? It's way cheaper, plus you get to feel how it is to commute like a local in the country. It can be stressful not to know where exactly you are going to, but hey, there's an information desk at the airport. I am sure these people would be more than happy to help you.
Get a free map on your way out of the airport, or download the maps.me app, to help you navigate your way through the city.
|The famous Tram 28 in Lisbon|
Also, pack a pair of good walking shoes. I don't know about you, but I prefer to walk around the city than take public transport. I get to see more of the neighborhoods, and I get to discover interesting places that are not in the travel blogs. Walking is good for you, isn't it? Plus, you get to save a few coins from buying tickets, and you can spend the extra money for some ice cream along the way. ;-)
Cheap and Good Food
My favorite travel buddy, FL, and I have an unwritten rule - to eat as much local food as we can. It's one of the best ways to get to know the city, the country, and its people.
But where do locals eat? Good question. The trick to eating like a local is to avoid eating at restaurants near touristy places. Believe me, the food served in those areas will be more expensive, not authentic, and not as good.
So where do I check? I read blogs written by locals or expats. I just do a quick search on Google, and see which posts are interesting. I also read the comments on TripAdvisor and Foursquare.
When I traveled to Lisbon in November, I found two restaurants that are among the favorites of the locals on the internet. These restaurants are really authentic because their menu is only in Portuguese, and 90% of the people eating there were all Portuguese. They also didn't have the usual waiters waiting outside convincing passersby to come in.
Another tip: if you see waiters convincing you to go in and eat at their restaurant, run away immediately.
I also recommend that you go to the local markets to buy fresh produce and supermarkets for everything else. You can find anything you need in these markets and supermarkets. I usually buy little snacks and fruits that I can pack in my bag before exploring the city.
|Buying fruit at a local market in Montenegro|
Also, check if the city you are traveling into has a drinkable water from the tap. You'll save money if you bring an empty water bottle with you and refill it from the tap. You won't need to keep buying water from the stores.
We all know that Iceland is an expensive destination, right? So when I traveled to Reykjavik, the local guide told me that their tap water is very clean and drinkable. Companies selling bottled water get their water from the tap! Because they have an abundant supply of clean drinking water, you can even ask the cafes or restaurants to have your bottles refilled with water - FREE! So why buy "bottled water"?!
Weeks before my trips, I usually read blogs and articles about the city and the country. Then I write the must-see places as well as recommendations from friends, colleagues, and random people who have traveled to the place. Yes, I write them on paper and rank them according to their ratings. I then do some research to see if I can reach those destinations by myself, by public transport, or if I need to book special tours.
Didn't I tell you that I like to walk? Well, there are cities, especially big cities in Europe, that offer free walking tours. Check out Sandemans to see if the city you're visiting is in their list. I've signed up to a lot of their walking tours in different cities across Europe, and I always had a great time!
Plus, check Meetup to see if there are events scheduled in the city you're visiting. For example, here in Munich, there are always hiking trips around Bavaria on Meetup. So if you fancy that adventure, join any of these events.
Extra (and most important) Tip
Buy travel insurance. You know why. ;-)
That's all for now, friends. Hope you find this post helpful! If you have other tips on how to travel cheap, don't forget to write a comment below to help out other travelers. 'Til the next post.
I wish you more adventures, travels, and great memories all over the world in 2017!