Types of budget travel


Choosing which type of budget vacation best suits you can take a fair bit of research with small groups, self guided tours and independent options all working well for different reasons. For some, 24/7 back up and expert trip notes are essential for trekking, walking or cycling vacations with the added benefit of luggage transfer and hand-picked accommodation certainly a huge plus for those who prefer to be self guided. Going on an organised small group tour allows you to benefit from trusted local knowledge as you’re pointed in the direction of affordable places to eat and how to get the best deal at a market or which taxi or bus operators to avoid, and why. We understand the thrill of independent travel and traveling solo but if you want to meet likeminded individuals as part of a small group or embark on adventures using only the best safety equipment and detailed, essential, trip notes, don’t plump for what you always do; branch out and try something new.

Overland tours

Traveling overland is one of the best ways to reduce costs, with local transport and purpose-built vehicles providing just a couple of means of exploring an entire country – or several – in one tour. Seeing as much of real life as possible is essential for discovering regional variations, with rural communities often providing a hospitable and affordable reception as you stop overnight from one town, village or country to the next. Southeast Asia, South America and Southern Africa are ideal locations to cross borders, with overnight train journeys or quickly erected camps allowing accommodation costs to be drastically reduced in favour of traveling ever further. Overland tours also allow you to learn about what you’re seeing en-route as you travel with a tour leader and local guides who will impart their knowledge before letting you get some shut eye as you travel into the night.

Small group tours

Joining a small group lets budget travelers benefit from a tour guide, shared costs and experience the thrill of overland travel without the gamble on safety. Although you will be traveling as a group you’ll still find plenty of free time, as well as a choice of optional activities to enable you to enjoy a country at a pace and price that suits your budget. For solo travelers, single supplements are usually available if you want to guarantee your own room – but sharing trims the budget further. Knowing which places to avoid is just as important as knowing where to head to and if you’re not interested in queuing or wandering aimlessly in search of a local bar, restaurant or the best place to buy stamps then let your tour leader take out the hassle by pointing you in the right direction. Finally, where you stay can really intensify a travel experience, with homestays letting you immerse yourself within the day-to-day lives of local people and sometimes make friends for life in the process.

Self guided vacations

Filling the gap between independent travel and an organised tour is where self guided cycling and walking vacations slip into gear. You’ll have an itinerary designed around your own requirements, tried and tested trip notes, and the security of a professional team who’ve got your back around the clock – just in case. Tailoring a tour to suit your budget is exactly what makes self guided such an attractive prospect because although you’ll be given a long list of suggested recommendations it’s entirely up to you to decide which, if any, you choose to commit to. Local agents, self drive options and a choice of accommodation really help to take the stress out of independent traveling with an emphasis on saving time and money so you can get on with enjoying the things that you’ve been looking forward to the most.

Centre based activity

Staying within a locally run activity center in Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey or Andalucía, gives you the chance to go kayaking, mountain biking, canyoning, rock climbing or river rafting in a completely different environment, safe in the knowledge that equipment and personal recommendations are the best in the business. Centres are generally located close to areas where activities take place, with lakes, rivers and mountain foothills all providing the perfect setting without impacting on local wildlife and rural landscapes. Activity center guides really know their stuff, and listening to safety procedures and technical instructions is almost as important as finding out which are the best spots for a picnic or the most affordable places to eat. Also, taking out the extra costs of equipment hire and travel tickets helps to manage budgets as you balance free time and optional extras to help keep your vacation funds bang on track without feeling like you’re missing out.
Photo credits: [Top box: ethan lindsey] [Overland tours : Phil Whitehouse] [Small group tours : Flying Kiwi Tours] [Centre based activity: Martyn Kilbryde]
Written by Chris Owen
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