Are You Prepared To Budget Travel?

by - August 03, 2017


We're young and we need to be going places; exotic places, historic places, far places; pretty places; "I can die now that I've seen it" places. There is so much out there to see and taste and smell and learn and absolutely, we should make it a duty to ourselves, for the sake of our personal development and an expanded world view, to do it all! But, before you get carried away and head out to any of the "Must-See Destinations", my simple advice is; do your research to make sure they are "adventures I can afford" places.

Hampton Inn, Panama City

Accommodation

It's not that I want to stay at an all inclusive penthouse suite but it's just that I know comfort is non-negotiable when I travel, even when I'm on a budget. Once my friend and I wanted to weekend in Tuscany where we would divide our time between Pisa and Florence. WE WERE BROKE! We could only afford to do €50 per night so we decided to go with AirBnBs. We lucked out and got a pretty decent place for €45 per night in Florence. It wasn't in the centre but transportation was easily accessible (super important) and we got to the major sites in about 15 mins. Then, there was Pisa. For that same €45 per night, we were essentially shacking up in a  shithole. The place stank, the sheets were dirty and you had to say a prayer before entering the hellish - filth that was the bathroom. If you're anything like me i.e grew up with a pyscho-must-have-everything-super-clean-all-the-time mom then you have very little tolerance for certain things so believe me when I say, my anxieties had a field day!

Don't get me wrong, you can find decent places even on a tight budget. In fact, a few months ago I did a Europe tour in 8 different cities with 2 friends and we spent less than €1500 in total! Generally each person spent about €60 per night and we had a fairly good experience with them all. The trick: I usually start my search with Expedia, refining it based on desired budget. When I find a place I like, I then search for it on Tripadvisor and check the reviews to see what other travellers have experienced. For me, room conditions and proximity to local transportation were the key deciding factors. I went for Airbnbs in locations I planned on spending more days in so I could have access to a kitchen to cook some of my meals to save money. Airbnbs are a gamble so I (know now to) never book anywhere that has no reviews or less than 3 pictures.

Tuttelestrade BnB in Rome, Italy via AirBnB

Food
In theory this is supposed to be the easiest part, BUT ITS NOT! Actually, speaking from a pescatarian's point of view, life is a little more difficult when you're not eating meat. Having limitations with your diet is rough when you travel so thankfully there's an app or two to make things less stressful. On most days my travel companion has definitely been Foursquare (clearly I'm an old lady lol) and Yelp! Google Maps is also very helpful but out of habit I go directly to Foursquare because I can narrow my search based on what I feel for, how much I want to spend and ratings. I am very big on eating local fair, not only to get a taste of the local culture but also those tend to be on the cheaper side. These apps (generally) direct you to the best restos. Of course, you can always just ask a local but I'd definitely recommend downloading one of these apps for those meal dilemmas.

La Creme de Paris in Paris, France

Transportation
To check for flights, you can consult skyscanner.com to see the lowest priced tickets for your specific destination and date. You've heard it time and time again to book well in advance for the cheapest fares but budget airlines like RyanAir and Tui Airfly cut prices up to 2/3 weeks before travel date, so with these airlines you can hold out a bit. I think travel newbies like myself obsess over getting there and tend to overlook how to get around when we actually arrive. You absolutely do not want to forget to factor in on-ground transport. Find out before hand the best means for getting around your intended destination to have a proper daily budget. NEWS FLASH: Uber actually doesn't exist everywhere, not even in some European states. In many instances I did find thought that, when available, Uber was in fact cheaper than local taxis so always check those first. Some places will have train/metro day passes that are cost effective and give you unlimited access to commute. Google Maps actually has a feature where it tells you the general cost for bus, taxi and train to go from one place to another so you can always refer to that too. Google Maps can also be used to check the distance between where you are and where you want to go and if its 20 mins or less, save a dime and walk! This is the best way to discover things any.

Orlean, France

Activities
Of course, if your on a budget, you don't have much disposable funds to "DO THE MOST" Depending on your destination there are a bunch of free things to do, you just need to do research before hand to discover them. There are websites such as "timeout.com" where you can select a particular city and it tells you exactly whats happening in that area and very often some activities or events attract no fee. You can forego the long lines to enter the popular landmarks and simply take photos on the outside of the premises, unless you really really want to see something in particular on the inside. For discounts, book in advance or check the tourist board/ location website for combo deals. I would definitely advice checking Pinterest for destination guides as well so you can get insight on the most recommended things to do. Really, you don't need to go to every museum. Little things like renting a bicycle to explore, having a picnic in a famous park or just taking really long walks can make your trip a whole lot better!

Palais Royal, Paris
Also Noteworthy
There are actually a few websites like www.budgetyourtrip.com that allows you to estimate daily budgets by destination that you can use as a guide for the average amount you'll need to survive comfortably per day. Traveling with others is also a way to save since more often than not you will be sharing cost for things like transportation. You definitely want to travel light as luggage does attract extra fees so that is one way to save money as well. Overall, if you're doing budget travel I can't stress enough how important research is to truly get a feel of what you're getting yourself into. The only thing worse than not going somewhere you've always wanted to go is to go and have regrets when you leave because you didn't plan ahead. There are a few destinations I think should never be done on small budget just because by nature they are super expensive, *cough* Paris *cough* so be mindful of that when you're choosing your next adventure. Good Luck!


until next time,

Do Good, Dress Well
xTAR 

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