Your 20’s can be one of the best times to travel – fewer commitments and more freedom. But with student loans, rent and car payments, money can be a hurdle that prevents many young adults from reaching dream destinations.
Fortunately there are ways to travel on a budget; through some financial planning and frugal choices you can make your travel dreams a reality. Here are a few of our favorite travel tips to help you maximize your budget.
Tip #1: Travel during the off season.
Airline prices and hotel rates can increase drastically during peak travel seasons. Be sure to research the area and to learn the high travel times. By traveling during the off season, you can typically get better rates on hotels and flights. As an added bonus, there will be less tourist traffic during the off season giving you shorter wait times at museums and restaurants.
Tip #2: Consider B&Bs and hostels.
Youth hostels and B&Bs, which are extremely prevalent throughout Europe, are much more affordable than traditional hotels. To increase your savings even more, take advantage of shared youth hostel rooms. Though it may seem like an uncomfortable experience at first, shared rooms can be a great opportunity to build friendships and meet other young people from all over the world.
Tip #3: Take advantage of discounts.
Transportation services, such as the train systems in Europe, often offer significant student and group discounts. By taking advantage of these discounts you can spend less on transportation and more rewarding experiences like museums and tourist sites.
Museum and attraction passes can also be great money savers when used appropriately. If you’re planning on visiting several museums and attractions during your trip, then a multi-day or multi-museum pass may be a cost effective option for you.
Tip #4: Live like the locals.
Living and dining like a local can save you a lot of money during your travels. Avoid restaurants tailored to tourists – the prices can be significantly higher. Instead, find smaller restaurants that are frequented by locals. These will typically offer lower prices and rich cultural experiences.
Though it may be tempting to patron a different restaurant for every meal, make your own meals, even if it’s only for one meal a day. By shopping at local grocery stores and cooking your own meals you can easily cut back on your meal budget.
Tip #5: Know your fees and exchange rates.
It’s important to understand the exchange rates when traveling abroad. Something that may seem like a good deal may actually be more expensive because of the conversion rate. Take some time before your trip to understand the exchange rates so you can better financially prepare for your travels.
It’s also important to note foreign transaction fees on purchases using debit and credit cards abroad. Many financial institutions implement a foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad. Check with your financial institution to learn what transaction fees you can expect. If your foreign transaction rates are high, it may be advantageous to primarily stick to cash during your travels.
Though traveling on a budget may add an additional layer of stress, the experience will make all of the planning worth it. So set your budget, stay frugal and get out there – explore and enjoy!