budget tips

How to save money on your vacation


BUDGET TIPS FROM THOSE IN THE KNOW

Avoid top tourist spots at top times


Europe and North America see prices soar along with the temperatures in July and August, as well as for the Easter break as travelers take advantage of all the public vacations. Cultural celebrations, including New Year (Chinese or otherwise), Carnival and Vietnamís TÍt, also push prices up with cherry blossom season in Japan just as popular as autumnal foliage in big festival event is definitely best advice for budget travelers so check out our best time to go guide, speak to your vacation company and aim to travel without the popular price tag.

Travel outside of school hols


If your kids go to school, or you work in one, then youíll be well aware as to how much prices can rise during the summer vacations. Unfortunately, even if you donít have kids, inflated summer prices still apply. Basically, if youíre not tied to traveling outside term time, then donít. And, if youíre traveling Down Under, research school vacation dates for the Southern Hemisphere as these can prop up prices and increase crowds just as vehemently as European equivalents.

Local operators


Using local tour operators is a great idea if youíre traveling on a budget as not only will you be cutting out the overheads associated with UK companies, youíll also be ensuring your hard earned vacation funds are going exactly where theyíll be of most benefit. Lower marketing outlay and making the most of local contacts definitely gives local tour operators
a chance to compete on
price with the big boys;
so talk to Responsible
Travel and find out
who we recommend,
and why.

Public transport


Thereís definitely one way to travel on budget tours that will really save you money and thatís using public transport. Overnight trains, especially, give you the chance to hunker down and arrive in a new destination without extra accommodation costs and if youíre looking to swap a few cultural customs, card games, or snacks, thereís no better way to pass the time as you travel from one destination to the next. Long-distance buses have also come a long way, particularly in South America Ė many have fully reclining seats and air-con, but tickets are still fabulously cheap.

Avoid the upgrades


Seriously, how much time will you spend in your room? If you can avoid the upgrades, such as air-con, balconies, en-suite bathrooms, and opt for more modest means then youíll be saving money in no time. There are obviously going to be a few tempting activities to try whilst youíre away from home so just make sure you budget accordingly and save your cash for something unique rather than designer comforts.

Travel efficiently


Traveling overland is an excellent way to watch landscapes and communities morph from one region to the next as well as saving money along the way. Alternatively, an internal flight might provide an opportunity to see more of a country as well as cutting out a lengthy overland journey in between. Whichever course you follow, choose a tour that gives you the most efficient and most enlightening outcome possible; one that lets your experiences stretch just as far as your budget.

Donít believe the hype


Donít settle for Daily Mail headlines when researching whether somewhere is safe to visit. Talk to the experts, and chat to local people who can actually instruct you as to where a threat is perceived and where it is actually real. Tourism in Jordan, for instance, has really suffered from the perceived threat of terrorism although itís only neighbouring countries that have been physically affected. Prices have dropped accordingly. African tourism plummeted during the Ebola outbreak even though South Africa and Kenya were further from the West African epicentre than the UK; tour providers across the continent are desperate to welcome tourists back and great deals can be found. Do your research and donít settle for sweeping statements of fear.

Research living costs


Sometimes expectations can outweigh what we can successfully achieve with a budget tour in Japan, certainly not going to be on the same level as, say, Vietnam. Understanding how much you need to put by to enjoy a country rather than just survive is definitely best practice, especially if itís a once in a lifetime opportunity. Be realistic, be practical and most of all, talk to the vacation companies Ė who will give you honest and truthful advice.

Donít cut corners


Although snipping costs might seem like a good idea at the time, itís certainly not worthwhile in the long term, particularly where safety is involved. Spending time ensuring youíre traveling with tour operators that you trust is vitally important and although joining a small group may cost more than independent travel, benefitting from expert advice and added security is definitely worth the financial outlay, if only for the peace of mind. Finally Ė always buy travel insurance; itís there to save you facing huge upfront costs if the unexpected happens.

Overnight travel


If youíve got plans to make the most of a country then swap hotel rooms for sleeper compartments as you travel overnight by train and wake up rested and revived with a few more travel tales thrown into the bargain. Eye masks, pillows and ear plugs always offer the best chance of a good nightís kip, with trains, rather than buses, promising more comfort as well as a chance to catch up on correspondence before catching up on zeds.
Photo credits: [Avoid top tourist spots at top times: aotaro] [Local operators: Vernon Swanepoel] [Public transport: Michael Fernando Jauregui Schiffelmann] [Travel efficiently: Loco Steve] [Research living costs: Dmytro Gilitukha] [Overnight travel: Benjamin Vander Steen]

Written by: Chris Owen
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