How to travel on a budget

People often think you need lots of money to be able to travel or if you’re on a tight budget, it will take away from having that travel experience. We think like that because our timelines are constantly hit with a barrage of pictures from friends traveling the world and it’s hard not to be envious.

However, if your finances can’t bear the weight of an extravagant trip right now, there are so many ways to travel affordably.

All you need is careful planning, find solutions, a little thinking out of the box, and looking beyond the typical vacation spots. With a little time and fine planning, you could be the one posting enviable pictures from your next adventure.

Travel during off-peak season

Off-peak season in South Africa is usually during the winter months from May to August and, no one really wants to travel during the cold weather. And, as an added bonus, you can benefit from less crowded attractions and have a less stressful overall experience.

Tourist season does, however, vary by destination, but generally speaking, traveling during the summer months or during school holiday means paying more for flights, petrol, and accommodations.

Look out for deals/sales

Make sure to subscribe to flight newsletters or accommodation sites. Most travel websites come out with interesting and great deal offers on flight prices and, accommodations tend to lower their costs due to the lack of travel interests.

Eat out less

A lot of times, we spend huge amounts on food. Prefer eating in nice local restaurants which aren’t all that fancy and expensive. Trust me; these are the places that offer you the authentic food of a place rather than the glamorous food-joints. Try out the street food and cook for yourself when possible.

Go with a Group

If you know of friends or family members wanting to go on a trip, think about making it a joint effort. Group rates for hotels, flights, and attractions are common, often offering a 10-15% discount.

Many group rates start at 10 people. However, if you going by plane, you likely have to call the reservation center to book. You can also score group rates if you’re booking several rooms at the same accommodation. You just have to ask when you call, since online reservations don’t always offer the best group rates.

Plan a shorter trip

We all traveling for different reasons; whether it be for relaxation or exploration, you don’t need to jet off for weeks at a time to get the experience you want. Shorter travel blocks offer the same benefits as longer vacations, and they can cost much less.

Plenty of shorter trips can help you recharge, explore different areas, and experience something new – even if it’s in your own backyard. Traveling to your own province, visiting a nearby National Park or camping site, or going to a museum or local theme parks can all be done within your set budget.

As an added bonus, planning shorter, closer-to-home trips means you can drive instead of fly, saving the money you would have spent on a plane ticket.

Lookout for budget-friendly accommodations

I know we all would love to stay in 5-star hotels but realistically, it’s not always possible since they are overpriced. Rather go for self-catering places in small towns that are inexpensive, book at a campsite if you’re a camper, even B&Bs have great deals during the dry season. Just invest some time doing thorough research.

Save on transportation

Road trips still seem to be the cheapest form of getting around. But if you’re in a different country, transport can be a huge expense. Spend a few minutes familiarising yourself with public transportation options which can save you a lot of money over taking taxis, but I recommend researching the best location to stay in so you can walk more. It’s free.

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Spend less on attractions

When you visit a new place, you don’t want to stay in your hotel room, you want to visit the main attractions. In popular touristic cities, the most famous attractions are often very crowded and very expensive. Ask locals for advice or simply research the free stuff that you can do.

Enjoy your budget travel

The biggest tip for traveling on a budget is to go slow. You can save so much money by taking your time. This doesn’t just save money on transport costs, but you can get better accommodation deals when you stay somewhere longer and you also get better at working out the cheap eating deals and have time to self-cater.

If travel is something you love to do, it’s always a challenge when your budget doesn’t agree. However, by adjusting your priorities, willing to compromise, and rethinking what it means to travel, you might be able to find a little wiggle room in your budget. Regardless of what social media tells you, travel doesn’t always have to be four-star resorts and top-notch dining. For some, the experience of exploring a new locale is enough.

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Till the next adventure.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog


How to enjoy travelling on a budget