How Can I See the World on a Frugal Travel Budget?

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Answered by: Megan, An Expert in the Budget Travel - General Category
Everyone deserves to travel and see the world, but not everyone has the dime. With a few tips, tricks, and know-how, anyone can travel within their frugal travel budget and enjoy a fulfilling travel experience - no missing out at all! Following a frugal travel guide and some budget tips will help you get started.

The first step to exploring on a frugal travel budget is to create one. Choose what you are willing to spend money, and what you can do without. For example, choose to spend money on delicious, local food or a local museum and stay in an inexpensive hostel instead of a fancy hotel.

Once you've chosen a budget, choose how you're going to save money for your trip and calculate exactly how much you need to save - don't forget to include extra spending cash for souvenirs and extraneous expenses. You'll also want to create a timeline for saving - how quickly do you need to save the money? You can save money by putting aside a certain amount of cash from each paycheck, saving all your change and coins, or cutting spending in certain areas (such as clothing or miscellaneous items).

When you have a budget and a timeline, you can start making the critical choices, such as where you'll stay, and how you'll get there. Keep in mind these tips:

1. Be willing to travel at odd times. The earliest and latest flights of the day are most often the cheapest because they're least popular. Likewise, if you travel to a destination in the off-season, it's going to be cheaper. For example, travel to Europe in the fall or winter, and skip on July or August when prices are skyhigh. If you're worried about missing out on the best weather, book your trip for about a week after the peak travel time. You'll have to do some research to figure out the peak times for wherever you're going.

2. Look up free activities and buy a guidebook. You don't need a guided tour around a city; you can walk around by yourself and read aloud to your friends from a guidebook. In most cities, there are plenty of statues and buildings to gaze at without paying an entrance fee to a museum. If there are especially alluring museums you're dying to visit, you can choose just one or two and visit those. There are often ticket packets or deals with which you can get discounted tickets to a few attractions - though they may not be worth it if you're not going to visit all of the attractions.

3. Walk. Don't take cabs or even busses and the Metro. If you walk, you'll have an extra chance to sightsee and burn off all that local food you've been nibbling on - not to mention all the money you'll save.

4. Move one block away from the touristy square. The second you exit the tourist center, prices will go down. This is especially true during peak travel times.

5. Limit your souvenirs. Don't buy extra on impulse: make a list of what you see stores, and set aside time at the end of your visit to go back to each store and buy what you'd like - if you still want it. Chances are, you won't want the item anymore and you'll be able to cut souvenir costs.

6. Don't use your cell phone abroad. The costs are insane, and not really necessary. Use email at your hotel or hostel to communicate with family and friends while you're gone.

7. Sign up for a credit card that accumulates air miles and hotel points. It may take awhile to accumulate a lot of points, but they'll pay off.

The most important part of traveling on a budget is making your own frugal travel guide with your budget, your plan, and what you're looking to get out of your trip. Note free activities in each city, and write down what you're going to do and what you're going to spend money on. Having a plan is an essential part of having a frugal travel budget and will help you stick to your spending and saving goals while enjoying each destination without stress.

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