Travelling can be expensive; we all know it. Quite often if you’re travelling a long distance your flights will be the biggest outlay; and then you’ve got meals, accommodation, internal travel and activities to factor in.
But if you’re looking to cut costs, or are really keen to travel but think you can’t afford it, you should know that travelling on a budget can actually be a lot of fun; and can lead to incredible experiences you might not have had had you been splashing the cash.
Part of the beauty of budget travel lies in the fact that there’s no danger of resenting what your trip cost you when you eventually return home. You might also get to know a place far better should you be watching your money, and will almost certainly learn a lot about budgeting, saving and prioritizing along the way. Here are just a few reasons why everyone should give budget travel a go.
It will get you out of your comfort zone
If you’re used to a cosy and comfortable life at home, going abroad and staying in budget accommodation like hostels and guest houses might fill you with dread.
However with platforms like Hostelworld and Booking.com making it easier than ever to find somewhere affordable to stay, there’s no reason not to give the budget options a go. These websites have lots of photos and reviews so you can check places out before you get there, and many international hostels offer an exceptional service as well as great value for money.
If sharing a room with strangers isn’t usually your style, all the more reason to do it when travelling. It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while; and if you’re travelling alone or with just a small group, this communal living scenario can offer a great opportunity to meet interesting people and make friends.
Depending on where you’re going, food is also something that might vary wildly from what you’re used to.
If you haven’t gone travelling to grow and try new things, what have you gone for?
If you’re on a budget chances are you’ll be eating traditional local food, as this is what tends to come cheapest. Embrace it, because eating like a local is the best way to immerse yourself in a new culture. You might discover some new dishes that you absolutely love; and chances are they’ll never taste as good anywhere else in the world as they do when cooked by the locals who know best.
It will get you off the tourist trail
Often, cheaper accommodation will be slightly off the tourist trail, perhaps closer to where people actually live than to the area’s big attractions.
This is great, as getting to know the areas where locals choose to reside and spend their time will mean you get to see a more genuine side to a destination, as opposed to the bits geared up for visitors.
Not only this, but living off the beaten track will help you meet lots of other like-minded and thrifty travellers who might be able to recommend fun and affordable things to do in the area, as well as good places to eat and other destinations to add to your travelling route. If you’re not away for that long, the recommendations of other travellers are still invaluable, and could inspire future adventures!
You’ll know a place far better at the end of your trip if you travel there on a budget
The research, creativity and groundwork it can often take to seek out budget-friendly activities, modes of transport and accommodation will mean that once your trip is up, you’ll really feel as though you’ve got to know the country (or countries) you’ve travelled to.
It’s when looking for somewhere different to eat away from the tourist traps, or taking a longer and cheaper mode of transport to get to your next destination, that you stumble across the best hidden gems.
You’ll feel closer to the locals having lived near them taken their advice on where to go and how to get there; you’ll have a better idea of what a place has to offer once you’ve spent time researching activities and local customs; and you’ll also benefit from the added satisfaction of making lots of friends along the way.
You’ll work out what’s really important
Not having the everyday luxuries to hand 24/7, and cutting corners in order to save money, will help you appreciate what really matters and what you really need to get by. Living out of a rucksack or small carry-on for a few days or weeks will soon curb any worries about how you’re dressed; and not having constant access to quick wifi, fresh towels, a powerful shower and a private room might seem stressful at first, but will soon see you adopt a more laid back attitude to life, people and possessions.
Ultimately, all travel is worthwhile and exciting no matter how much money you spend; but travelling on a budget promises truly unforgettable experiences. The potential struggles result in an enormous sense of achievement and fulfillment when the trip is done; and with any luck your thriftiness will mean you’ve got funds to spare that can go towards your next adventure.
By: Paulo Palha, founder of Travideo