Travel Hacking » 12 Tips to Travel on a Shoestring Budget

12 Tips to Travel on a Shoestring Budget

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Travel is the only thing you spend on that makes you rich! When the travel bug strikes, you are compelled to follow your itchy feet to explore that world, which is in itself akin to a classroom. Because you learn so many things when you travel, it is an excellent investment.

That being said, there are numerous ways to enjoy travel on a shoestring budget. Even if you have the extra funds, you can still opt to save so you can extend your budget and get your money’s worth. After all, no one wants to be in debt after a relaxing vacation. Here are the best ways to travel smart:

12 Tips to Travel on a Shoestring Budget

Purchase your plane tickets ahead

Advance prep is the best way to travel on a shoestring budget. Usually, when you take a trip, this is one of the major expenses. Keeping your eyes peeled on airline sales will ensure you can purchase your ticket with a big discount.

b101 travel hacking airline tickets

Do take advantage of their offerings, which usually means buying tickets many months ahead. Though this task requires ironing out your schedule, it allows you to be more thoughtful about your trip, which can lower down your expenses.

Pass on airline grub

When booking your flights, steer clear of airline food. Everyone knows it is overpriced. The worst part, most aren’t even yummy, so you’re just wasting your money.

b101 airline food

To save more dough, pack your own inflight meal. Apart from being more affordable, you are sure it is more nutritious and delicious. Packing meals is a great family travel hack no matter if you are flying, driving, or taking a train to your destination. Meals can add up over time and put a dent in your travel budget.

Travel Off-Season

Everything becomes more expensive when you join the crowds and travel during the peak season. If you want to travel on a shoestring budget, avoid going with the flow and pick off-peak. With this decision, you can enjoy more perks like:

  • Cheaper lodging
  • No lines and less crowds
  • Less price gouging
  • Do more with your time
  • Experience a more authentic local vibe
b101 travel hacking barcaccia fountain rome
The Fontana della Barcaccia is a Baroque-style fountain found at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome‘s Piazza di Spagna

Use the best credit cards

Many credit cards allow you to accrue airline miles. Take advantage of those when you book your tickets so you can kill two birds with one stone. Later on, you can redeem the miles for free airline tickets.

The best part, some of these cards offer free travel insurance. Wouldn’t it be nice if your luggage is covered if it goes missing? Using a travel-friendly credit card means you get to enjoy such benefits without breaking the bank.

Bring the right ATM cards

When it comes to traveling, carrying tons of cash is courting disaster. Traveling with an ATM card is just safer. Unfortunately, international transaction fees can, at times, burn a hole through your pocket. If you want to save money, ask your bank what arrangements they have with your planned destination. Being savvy allows you to save your hard-earned dollars.

b101 shoestring travel money exchange

Pack light

Travel on a shoestring budget by packing light. This means cutting down on costly baggage charges. With limited space, you will be less tempted to purchase things you don’t need while you’re on vacation.

b101 shoestring budget travel pack light

After all, the ultimate adventure is about accumulating memories through experiences and not how many things you can buy. Packing light also accords you flexibility, allowing you to adapt easily even with unforeseen circumstances.

Stay away from useless junk

It is common for scenic spots to have souvenir shops intended for tourists. While it may be tempting to hoard interesting objects as gifts or your personal mementos, ask yourself if you really need the item. Should you want it after sleeping on it, there are most likely cheaper places where you can buy the same thing.

Ask locals for advice

When you want to travel on a shoestring budget but still get the inside scoop on trends, ask the locals. They know their home best when it comes to the yummiest food, nice places, or excellent places to shop for a bargain.

You can ask your concierge or the local people working in your accommodations. With their expert advice, you can weave memorable experiences that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Using discounted taxi tour guides in Taiwan

Skip the hotel

Though hotels are nice, they are very expensive. If you’re traveling in a group, why not try Airbnb?
Better yet, you can opt for a hostel, which is the most affordable lodging. This is also the best place to be for solo travelers.

Hostels offer:

  • Cheap nightly rates
  • Secure baggage drop off before check-in time
  • Meeting like-minded fellow travelers who can split group tour costs
  • Free facilities like laundry, common areas, and wifi info from hostel staff that’s geared for budget travel

b101 shoestring budget travel hostel

Eat Hostel Fare

Most hostels offer free breakfast. Some even provide free afternoon tea and snacks. Do take advantage of this offer to save your money. Nothing beats free food! Most of all, this tip will also save you time from wandering around, looking for a safe place to grab a bite.

Use Sightseeing Passes

The best travel on a shoestring budget advice is using discounted sightseeing passes. Usually, popular tourist destinations have sightseeing passes that grant you access to multiple locations with just one ticket.

Do your research, so you can truly get excellent value for money. Getting this pass also equates bypassing long ticket lines, which will save you time and energy. Cultural experience with the Hindu Kecak Dance in the Uluwatu Temple in Bali.

Get a Travel Pass

If your destination has travel passes, purchasing them means getting more bang for your buck. Places like Japan, Hong Kong, and even France offer rail deals so you can take advantage of their efficient, high-speed train networks.

Most cities have metro passes, which you can use for their buses, trains, ferries, or trams. For example, Sydney has an Opal card and HK the Octopus card. These passes offer discounted public transport fare to tourists, which comes out cheaper than buying many single tickets.


Final Word

It is totally possible to take that dream trip without burning a hole in your wallet. The above frugal travel hacks will cut your expenses and ensure you keep to your budget. Establish your spending limit and stick to it. Remember, as long as you plan well and avoid tourist traps; you can stretch your money to enjoy the best experiences.

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