Guest Post: Traveling On A Budget

11:00:00 AM




I love traveling, its enriching, its fun and it does cost some money. I saw a quote few days ago that said, "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse" ~ John Rohn. If you really want to travel, you will find a way.  

What is "Budget Traveling"? Its traveling with a financial blueprint, traveling with an allocated amount of money, traveling at a cut rate. 

So, let's go straight to the point. What would you need? 

A PLAN 
 You don't wake up one morning and decide to travel the next day for vacation, unless if you are really financially loaded or have a private jet. If you are, you shouldn't be reading this post or actually can I be your friend? Haha, please go away. A plan will give you a general picture of your necessary expenses, it helps you to know how much you will need to get together. 

Here are three questions to help in making your plan:  

WHERE would you like to travel?  Continent and Country? Would you need a visa? How much is it? How long will it take? What are the country's requirements for getting a visa? What is the internet saying about the country? Is it safe/not safe? Is it a high cost country e.g. Hong Kong/Is it low cost e.g Budapest 

WHEN would you like to travel? This is very important. Summer months are high season travel months, why? everyone's going on a vacation. Hotel and airline prices could be higher or lower depending on your season of travel. Is your destination popular during this time? Are there any specials festivals going on and so on. Chances are hotels and airlines will also be higher for this destination in this time but don't be discouraged, do your research well and book in advance if needed. 
If you plan to travel during a high season, your flight and accommodation should have been sorted at least 3 months before the time. 

PURPOSE? Vacation, You were invited, Conference, Concert, Wedding, Paid Internships, Volunteer work, Summer camp etc.  
 You should have an idea of the answers at least 6 months before the time of travel

RAISING FUNDS

Here we are going to consider how to raise funds. 
Savings, put aside some money every month for this, even if it means cutting out unnecessary spending. 
Parents and family members,  if you are going for a paid internship, volunteer work, that's a bonus on your future, draft a decent proposal as to why you should be supported, you'll be surprised. 
Look for support funds, some of the conferences, volunteer organizations can give you a little financial support if you need this, even your university may have this. 
Never turn down invitations from friends and family (free food and free accommodation, woohooo!) 
Part time jobs, this would come in handy if you are going to be away for at least a month. Personally I've only experienced babysitting, house/pet sitting. For this you might need to be recommended by someone trusted and there a few reliable websites where you could see part time job offers for budget travellers. 

ACCOMMODATION 

Sorting out your accommodation will depend on the purpose of the trip. If you were invited then most likely your hosts could provide a place to stay. Internships, volunteer work: clarify again and again if they can provide accommodation, if this is free or not. Do you have friends where you are going to, if its only a few days why not message them, you might be lucky.  
Compare hotel/hostel prices, living in the city center may not always be worth it, sometimes you could find cheaper accommodations in surrounding towns, don't limit yourself. 

TIPS BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR THE PLANNED VACATION
  
  • Have some cash on hand, have some money on your ATM card.  There will be places where only cash is accepted and in other places only cards will be accepted. 
  • Don't ever change foreign currency at the airport or withdraw from your card. If you must get some money, change only what you need at that time. 
  • Try to get your adaptors before traveling.
  • Eat like the locals, try street food. You'll be surprised. 
  • Stick to public transportation please. Walk a lot :) 
  • Download google maps for easy navigation. 
  • Don't forget to get an International Student Id card from your school help centre. Most places will give you a discount if you can present that.  
  • Learn a few language phrases especially on directions, ordering for food. 
  • Read on other's travel experiences of the place. 
  • Find out what free attractions your destination has. Some museums have special free days and some cities have free walking tours at set times. When I visited China, most of the attractions owned by the local/provincial government were free of charge. In Budapest you can find free walking tours at set times. 
  • If you happen to have a kitchen at your place of stay, minimize eating out or eat the cheap local food as previously mentioned. 
  • Write down your emergency contacts in a note and also the emergency numbers of the destination countries (police, ambulance etc)

 There's still a lot of information out there on how to travel economically, I have only written about the little I know. If you'd like to share some more tips, please do feel free to make your comments.

Terngu
Travel Blogger at www.terngu.com


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