Travelling can seem to be either for the high-rollers or the savvy-saver. And in a way it is, but that doesn’t mean that traveling is only for these two ends of the spectrum. More likely than not, your average traveler can mix and match between spending and saving – being able to spend a little bit more on the things that are more important to that person.
We all prioritize our money according to what we deem is more important, whether that be better quality food, or a better car or a nicer clothes. And travel isn’t any different. Whether you are on a budget or are breaking the bank, traveling only has to cost as much as you can afford to spend.
Accommodation: Hotels vs. Hostels
There are millions of types of accommodation open to you when booking your vacation, with hundreds of sites offering to compare them all for you. From five-star hotels to shared dorms in hostels. Each with their benefits.
Hotels are the obvious choice while traveling, and they are built for comfort. Again there are levels of price within the hotel industry, and it depends on how much you want to spend on your rooms for the standard of luxury. You can find a good hotel on a budget; you just have to keep an eye open for deals. And then you have the crazy-expensive hotels like the penthouse suite at the Mark Hotel in New York which costs around $75,000 a night!
Hostels are the favored choice for backpackers, and yet a lot of people will turn their noses up at them. Most hostels are a fantastic and cheap way to travel, with most of them costing under $30 (USD) a night. With hostel chains as common as hotel chains, it’s easy to hop countries while staying with the same company and knowing what to expect wherever you go.
With Airbnb taking over the traveling world over the past few years, the levels of accommodation are even more varied from renting a bed, to renting a condo.
Luggage: Packing on a Dime vs. A Walking Wardrobe
We all know that person who takes fifteen pairs of shoes on a weekend getaway, and that other person who can make three shirts and two pairs of shorts last a two-week holiday. A lot of the time, the amount of luggage you take comes down to how much you can afford to take. Is your journey a back-pack deal? A carry-on only? Or is it, how many suitcases you need is how many you’ll take?
While understanding the need to be prepared for any occasion, do you need that many shoes, or hats, or jackets? When buying for the vacation try and buy versatile items; shoes that go with multiple items, dresses or shirts that can be dressed up or dressed down. Mix and match outfits – that sort of thing. Where taking extra clothes might not be an issue, the smart packer in you will save you money. Plus you want to save space for the trinkets would pick up on your travels.
Backpackers face the struggle of fitting in all of the necessities at all. There are tips for packing all over the internet. But the question you should ask yourself throughout your packing is – do I need this?
Travel: Flying High vs. Chugging Along
Within the strange twists and turns of the world’s economy, it turned out to be cheaper for one British student to fly home via Berlin than to make the three-hour journey by train. Crazy right? But with that said, taking the train between destinations can still be the cheaper options. Interrail passes are offered throughout Europe, allowing you to hop over borders without a worry.
Flying is the most common form of transport for vacationers, again with varying levels of expenditure – from budget airlines to Argus certified charter brokers, to the most expensive airline ticket (which was $38,000, USD, in 2016 for a one-way flight to New York from Mumbai, courtesy of Etihad Airways last year.)
You can collect frequent flyer points and miles from various credit cards, which will allow you to upgrade and fly business or first class for much less than the full fare! More info can be found on Upgraded Points.
Excursions: On a Budget vs. Breaking the Bank
To get the most out of a vacation, you don’t want to just sit in your fabulously extravagant hotel suite or your lovely on-a-budget dorm room. You want to see the sites. There are some things that will cost you money – and, unfortunately, most of the big must-sees are chances for countries to make money off tourists. Like the Colosseum in Rome, or the Great Barrier Reef in Austrailia.
This might be the area where you are happy to splurge a little so that you can experience all these beautiful things, or you might look for the cheap and free ways to see a country or city.
One of the best parts of a new place is to just explore it on foot, to sit and watch or chat with locals – some deliciously free ways to experience a new culture.
You might be able to do these things while learning how to surf, or while waiting in line for the Empire State Building, or while looking down on the world while eating your dinner in the sky.
Food: Take-out vs. Fine Dining
Eating may be a means to keep going, or it might be the reason you went traveling in the first place. One of the best things about visiting new places is to be able to immerse yourself into the native culture, and the food is one of the easiest ways to do this.
Places like Hong Kong sell food on every street – in markets, stores, and restaurants. You can get street-food like dumplings, and barbecued chicken and squid with ease.
You can also go to some of the most exclusive restaurants in the country like the Ritz-Carlton which serves anything from a perfect sirloin steak to a rich Cantonese menu, or even afternoon tea.