I’d promised I’d write a post on this a while ago now but – as with most things lol – I got distracted and completely forgot.
As a student who travels a lot, I always get asked “but how do you afford it?!” – understandably. Especially when I’m normally complaining how poor I am (while simultaneously buying more clothes and booking more holidays haha). So I thought I would share with you all my top tips for affordable travels!
1. Always use comparison sites
Maybe this is self explanatory, but searching for flights / car hire etc through a comparison site makes it SO much easier to find a good deal. My favourites are Skyscanner (for flights) and Autoeurope (for car hire). What’s great with Skyscanner for example, is you can search the cheapest month of flights to a specific location, or specific dates for anywhere. Which leads me onto my second tip:
2. Be flexible
When searching for holidays, you’ll often pay more if you want to go somewhere specific on a specific date. You’ll find the best deals if you allow yourself to be flexible with where you go. Although it may be much harder to be flexible with dates, Skyscanner allows you the option to choose ‘Everywhere’ when searching for flights:
That way you’ll see where the cheapest flights are to! Everywhere in the world is interesting to visit, so anywhere you pick will be fun to explore. For example, I found cheap flights to Salzburg this way, and from that planned an amazing 5 day break in snowy Austria/Germany (initially I had been planning on going to St Petersburg, which was much more expensive).
3. Consider local transport
If you really have your heart set on a specific location, consider if you could fly to a nearby city which is cheaper and use local transport to reach the one you’d like to see. For example, last August I visited Nuremberg with my mum and sister and we took a train to Munich for €10 return. The flights to Nuremberg were significantly cheaper than those to Munich, but we got to see two cities as a result!
4. Airbnb / Booking.com
These are my favourite go-to websites when looking at where to stay once you’ve booked flights. Airbnb is great for finding incredible apartments for a great price – I especially like how you can search on the map to get ones in a great location. I tend to set all my filters for what I would like and what price, then scour the map for which is in the best location. If you sign up via my link, you’ll get £25 off your first visit too:
Booking.com is also great for finding cheap accommodation and even better as some places you don’t have to pay until you get there! I like this feature as it allows me to recuperate some money instead of paying everything at once – for example, most of my accommodation in Malaysia/Indonesia isn’t paid for yet, but I have until July to earn the money.
5. Stay somewhere with a kitchen
When we’re away, eating out at restaurants and trying local cuisine is definitely one of the best parts – but it is also one of the most expensive. Booking accommodation with a kitchen and making your own food some nights will definitely mean you’re spending less – and going to foreign supermarkets can be strangely fun… trying to figure out what certain things are, maybe even trying to make a local dish yourself!
6. Set yourself a spending limit
When deciding how much money you should take in spends, set yourself a limit of what you should be spending each day. Consider what the essentials are (food/drinks, souvenirs, entry to museums/national parks/ etc) and then round the number up. For us, around £50 a day is more than enough. We tend to separate our money each day so we only have a certain amount with us and aren’t tempted to overspend. Plus, you don’t run the risk of running out of spending money too. The enjoyable parts of travelling – like scenery – are normally free!
7. Always haggle where you can
This is a tip I am still trying to work on myself (lol) – haggling. I am shamefully terrible at it (I think once someone laughed in my face when I asked for something €10 cheaper than what they were selling it for). HOWEVER – don’t let this put you off trying. There are plenty of times we have haggled for stuff and it has worked – mostly in markets or on excursions. Most times they have higher prices as they expect people to haggle, so don’t be afraid to be a bit cheeky – you might be surprised how much it pays off!
In all, although travel can be expensive, I think that it is always worth it. We’re never going to look back 50 years from now and think “oh great! I was in a secure financial position in 2018!” (well, maybe some people will idk lol) but memories and experiences from travel will last a lifetime. I don’t think you will ever regret just booking it and worrying about the money later… just go for it!
So, I hope this is sufficient in explaining how I afford to travel for less! My next trips are Morocco (in May) and Malaysia/Indonesia (July/August) – if you want to follow my adventures, follow me on Instagram – @lydiajanealice.
Thanks so much for reading, if you’d like more of this – let me know! Leave me a comment below on your thoughts or what you’d like to hear from me next 🙂