A beginner’s guide to travelling on a budget

By Sahaj Palla

Travel season is here, and everyone is either planning their next adventure or already out exploring new places. While traveling is a beloved activity, it's often perceived as a luxury that requires a lot of money. However, this common belief is a misconception. Traveling on a low budget doesn't mean you have to miss out on amazing experiences. In fact, it can lead to even more immersive travel, as you'll dive deeper into the local culture and discover hidden gems that suit your budget.

Here’s how you do it:

Tips and Tricks to Travel on a Budget

Plan Early

Early planning, combined with using travel credit cards, allows you to save more through rewards and discounts. If you have a travel card with enough miles, you could get an air ticket or stay at negligible prices. According to The Hindu Business Line, travel credit cards saw a 27% year-on-year growth rate, suggesting that Indian travelers are embracing travel rewards.

Making advance travel plans helps you secure tickets and accommodations at lower costs while allowing you to create an efficient travel itinerary. Last-minute planning often results in higher costs and limited accommodation options.

Travel During the Off-Season

Indian Nationals’ Departures (INDs) to the UK saw a high of 15.8% in September, while departures to Thailand peaked at 14.7% in December, according to the Indian Tourism Statistics report for 2022. This insight suggests that these months are not the best times to visit the UK and Thailand, respectively.

Similarly, traveling during major holidays like Diwali, Dussehra, Christmas, or New Year means facing large crowds and high prices. The best time to avoid crowds and save money is to travel before or after the peak season. During the off-season, you won't encounter large crowds, and you can find more affordable accommodations. Flights and tours are often cheaper, and local businesses may be more willing to negotiate prices.

Pack Light and Smart

About 45 million people go on backpacking trips each year, with two-thirds of them being solo travelers. Backpackers often mention experiencing new cultures as the reward of their travels. Backpacking makes traveling easier and keeps your luggage safer as you can carry it wherever you go with minimum effort. Two pairs of jeans, a few tees, and a pair of versatile shoes, along with toiletries and other essentials, should be enough for your journey. Packing light can also save you money on baggage fees and makes public transportation easier to navigate.

Opt for Homestays Instead of Hotels

According to QYResearch, the global homestay market is projected to reach US$ 25,160 million in 2029, up from US$ 16,380 million in 2022, highlighting the growing importance of homestays in the tourism industry. Homestays offer more authentic and immersive experiences, allowing travelers to live like locals and engage with host families.

Hotels can be expensive, even with good deals. Staying at hostels or dormitories is more suited to solo travelers and is significantly cheaper. Family travelers can opt for guest houses or homestays, which are often more affordable than hotels. Traveling in a group can also help reduce costs, as you can split the cost of accommodations and transportation.

Use Public Transportation

The London Underground, or the Tube, is the oldest and one of the most efficient ways of traveling around London. With a total length of 402 km, the Tube is affordable, has extensive connectivity, and caters to four million passengers daily. The Delhi Metro surpasses the Tube with a total length of 434 km and also serves more than four million passengers daily.

Public transportation around the world is the most affordable, accessible, and connecting mode of transport available. It not only takes you from point A to B but also gives you a glimpse into the local culture and way of life. However, it's important to stay vigilant, as public transportation can be a hotspot for pickpockets. Always keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings.

Cook Your Own Food

While part of traveling is exploring local cuisine, dining out can quickly become expensive. To save money, consider cooking your own meals whenever possible. This is particularly helpful if you're staying in accommodations with kitchen facilities, such as hostels or guest houses. For vegetarians or those with dietary restrictions, cooking ensures you get meals that suit your preferences and dietary needs. When you do eat out, opt for local eateries rather than expensive restaurants to get a taste of local cuisine without breaking the bank.

Take Precautions

Never plan your travel without taking these precautions:

Keep Your Travel Documents Safe: Always keep your travel documents, passport, wallet, and phone on your person at all times.

Be Wary of Your Accommodation: Research and read reviews about the hostel or dormitory you’re checking into. Ensure it has good security measures.

Eat at Reputable Outlets: Only eat at food outlets that serve fresh food. Look for places that are popular with locals, as they tend to have higher turnover and fresher ingredients.

Stay Alert: Do not let your guard down with strangers, and be cautious of scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Stay Connected: Make sure you have a way to communicate with someone back home. Share your travel itinerary with family or friends and check in regularly.

By following these tips and tricks, you can enjoy your travels without breaking the bank, ensuring you have a memorable and stress-free experience.

Happy roaming!