Hacks and Tips for Budget Travel

By Nkosinomusa Nyoni

Many of us have our dream destinations written down somewhere in our notebooks or mobile phones but we never take those trips because “we can’t afford them” sigh! But, that can all be changed when you start saving and practising the travel tips shared below:

1. Budgeting 101

Create and set out a planned budget that will make your travel more affordable and easy with no worries of spending more than you have. Saving plays an important role in helping you figure out the exact amount of money you would need for flights, hotel bookings, transportation, your meals and extra cash for spending. One useful tool that can help you plan all this pretty well is a budget calculator, it will help you save for the country you would like to travel to.

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2. Make the most out of travel reward programs

If you travel frequently, whether for work or pleasure, it is worth looking into travel rewards programs.

3. Know where to look for budget-friendly flights and accommodation

Flights are where this type of travel can be more expensive but you are guaranteed of finding amazing deals on flights if you follow a few tricks. There isn’t an exact manual that works every time but there are definitely a few ways you can find great deals on flights.

Do the research

You can start with Skyscanner an online travel company that allows you to see the cheapest days each month to fly and once you have a flight in mind you can then compare the prices with other search engines such as Google Flights and Kayak

Delete your cookies

Not the delicious chocolate chip kind, but the kind that airlines and booking sites use to hike the fares you see when searching for flights.

Best day

Booking on a Tuesday usually yields the best deals because that is when airlines post sales on flights. So the best option would be to book your flight on a Tuesday, 54 days before your trip and you’ll definitely save that money.

4. Explore alternative accommodation

Accommodation can often be the biggest expense while travelling but there are ways to scale down this cost significantly because accommodation does not have to be expensive! The following options are just a few of many ways to help you travel on a budget:

Airbnb

Airbnb is a great way to save a few dollars and get more of an authentic experience. In addition to being a great way to travel on a budget, you’ll get recommendations from your hosts and tips that will most likely save you even more money.

Booking.com

This site offers really good hotel deals and it always has running discounts on night stays, and most of them typically have free cancellations as well, which is a nice perk.  

Camping

Looking to live the outdoor lifestyle and save some bucks? Especially if travelling to more temperate climates, consider camping!

Here are some things to take note of if going this route:

• Pack accordingly! Make sure you bring the following: tent, sleeping bag, air mattress or sleeping pad, water filtration system and flashlight.

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• “Take only memories, leave only footprints” — keep your campsite pristine so others can enjoy it in the future. You wouldn’t want someone to come and trash your backyard would you?

Couchsurfing

It’s completely free and one is able to stay with a local which can lead to some unforgettable experiences that one wouldn’t be able to have if they are booked in a hotel, and who knows, maybe you will make a new friend!

5. Choose your activities wisely
Meals

Find a grocery store and pre-cook some of your meals. When out and about, opt for food carts or carry your own snacks

Take public transportation

Avoid taking taxis or chartered vehicles, instead, opt for public transportation; buses, metros or trains. This not only saves your pocket but you get to rub shoulders with locals and have a more authentic experience. You can also rent a bike; this is definitely a good way to explore a city.

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Group discounts

Working on a budget should not hinder you from experiencing incredible activities, applications like Groupon are a great way to book awesome and affordable experiences. Airbnb also offers discounted activities in addition to the accommodation booking option.

Free activities

Who doesn’t love free stuff? I most certainly do! Especially in good weather, there are often a plethora of activities that you can do at no cost and these include: taking a free walking tour, exploring local markets, having a picnic at a park, exploring free museums and going on a hike.

6. Choose the right travel season

Always travel during the off season period because accommodation and activities tend to be less expensive during that time and most destinations will be less crowded and that means you’ll get to see more places.

Always remember that preparation is everything when it comes to planning and travelling the world on a budget!

NZiRA Travel Zimbabwe http://www.nzira.co.zw

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