If you’ve followed the budget saving vacation tips I mentioned in my earlier article but still find yourself coming up short of funds, here are some additional ways to make the tallies balance out.
Select Cheaper Accommodation Choices
The cost of hotels, particularly those with stars attached, quickly adds up. Young solo travelers who are simply looking for somewhere to rest should really consider staying in hostels. These accommodations rent space by the bed rather than by the room and are often the most economical accommodation choice in any given area.
However, two or more people traveling together may find it cheaper and more comfortable to rent a private room than individual dorm beds. Airbnb or short-term apartment rentals can also be good bargains, particularly if you plan on staying for several days in one place or you’re traveling in large groups. These rentals often give a discount to folks who stay longer than a week.
Of course, camping is almost always the cheapest option at first glance. The downside is that you have to cart around your tent and other supplies. This can be problematic if you plan on flying to your destination or doing a lot of walking around between stops. You will need to factor extra transportation costs into your budget since the campgrounds are often located outside of larger towns and airlines are fairly zealous when it comes to over-sized baggage.
It simply pays to do the math to find out which is truly the best option for you and/or your group of fellow travelers.
Cut Food Costs
Dining out tends to be the second largest vacation expense since people often factor the local cuisine into their vacation decisions. However, many accommodations will provide travelers with a complimentary breakfast of some sort. It’s smart to take advantage of the fact before heading out. Or you can pick up something from the local grocery stores to eat for breakfast.
Self-catering is always going to be your cheapest option, but there are occasions when it’s not going to be viable so make sure that you plan ahead for that. It’s still wise to carry a refillable water bottle and prepackaged snacks with you at all times to avoid hunger pangs and overpriced snacks. Of course, no one is saying you shouldn’t sample the local cuisine. Just follow local practices to get better deals.
For instance in Europe, it’s more economical to dine on cheaper meals at lunch and order takeaway foods rather than sitting down in the restaurant to eat. Another way to avoid being overcharged is to read up on tipping practices in each country and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Time vs. Money: It’s Always a Trade-off
Even though there are many ways you can cut the cost of your vacation, sometimes saving time (and your own sanity) is more important than saving cash. Consider the following scenario. Your options are a bus or train ride. The bus ride takes 4 hours, is subject to the whims of traffic, stops occasionally, and costs $30. Alternatively, you could take a train that takes 3 hours, only makes short stops, and costs $60.
For students on a tight budget, the bus naturally seems like the best option. That is until it ends up stuck in traffic for hours and you arrive at your destination in the middle of the night without having had anything to eat for hours. The train is far more reliable in terms of speed and might be worth the additional expense if you plan on attending an event shortly after your arrival in a specific city. However, the savings from taking the bus could go toward something else you wanted to see or do making it worth the aggravation.
Of course, it’s always advisable to have several hundred dollars in your trip budget for emergencies. But there are still circumstances where the cheaper option is worthwhile and ones where it’s not. It’s smart to plan ahead and make good choices, especially when it comes to this factor.
Good luck and bon voyage!
Image credit: Xisat via Pixabay.