10 Tips for Top Travel on a Low Budget

Low budget no longer means a low-grade travel experience. Get the most out of an affordable travel experience with these top 10 tips.

Gone are the days when you’re penalised for watching your pennies. Here are the top 10 ways you can get the most out of an affordable travel experience…so you can hit the road over and over again!

1. Affordable accommodation

We tend to fall into the trap of obsessing over our accommodation when we are going somewhere for a well-earned break. In fact, the reason we are leaving behind our home and possessions is to experience something new and to open our eyes again. Wouldn’t you agree that this rarely happens while you have locked yourself in your hotel room? It’s the destination, not the four walls in which you sleep that makes a holiday great. So, with that in mind, spend more time choosing the best location and less money on the building you’re going to plonk your head.
In saying that, there are certain standards.

If you're desperate for privacy: Check out the AirBnB.com.au options for private rentals. Many people rent their places out for a fraction of a normal rental price to save on tax. You also have the advantage of living like a local and will have a fully furnished pad to yourself.

If you're looking for the best hotel bargain: Do a little price comparison on your favourite accommodation option through websites such as Tripadvisor.com.au, Flipkey.com, Stayz.com.au and for extra bargains, LastMinute.com.au.

Bargain of all bargains: If you’re truly not interested in spending a cent on your pillow then consider CouchSurfing.com. You might be amazed to know there are over 10 million interesting individuals registered around the globe to make your trip more enriched.

2. Best priced dining tips

Your finest dining experiences don’t always need to be in fine dining restaurants. Often it’s simply the place the locals secretly know about that serves up the best meals for affordable tabs. Ultimately, you want to find the freshest ingredients (preferably locally sourced) served up in the style of cuisine you love or of the culture you’re visiting.

Most cities around the globe have an online 'Cheap Eats' guide each year. And they’re proud of it! It’s a tourism draw-card!

Here are a stack of great iPhone Apps that will help you eat free or on the cheap:

Scoutmob – At this stage only available in The States. Also BlackboardEatsDaily Gobble and Yelp. Otherwise, online guides such as CitySearch and 3 Buck Bites will point you in the best direction.

If you’re simply happy to choose your own destination but be savvy with your ordering then skip the expensive soft drinks, the deserts and the specials. Order from the lunch menu or choose a couple of dishes from the entrees and sides.

A fast emerging site called $5 Dining is also doing exactly what it says and it is taking off fast!

3. Seeing the sights, not the price tags

The most impressive sights in the world aren’t the ones you have to pay a hefty admission price for. Beaches, sunsets, sunrises, mountain tops, parks, lakes, rainforests, cobble-stone laneways, great architectural buildings, China town, Latin quarters, markets, hikes, buskers on street corners, people-watching in city centres, fountains, churches, festivals… how broad is your imagination?

4. Transport that won't cost you the earth

Before you even consider booking any flights, internationally or domestically, you should check your computer’s Privacy Settings. Believe it or not, there are online traps set up to raise the price of your search each time you log back in to check the flight costs!! Not kidding! A private search can fix this and save you a bundle. Otherwise, once you’ve reached your destination, throw cabs out the window! Public transport is the best way to see your new land, especially if it includes trams, tuk tuks, boats, bikes or even hikes.

5. Offset your travels

There’s no reason why you can’t be one of the smart ones and set your own home, room, villa or apartment up on Air BnB for the time you’re away. It would give you that extra spending money to go towards the trip and you’d know there’s someone in your place to keep the burglars at bay. You never know until you try! Just follow the instructions and pack away any valuables so there’s no stress.

6. Stay in touch and in your price range

Turn your Data Roaming off when you board your flight if you’re heading overseas. It’s a blanket rule. Better yet, remove your sim card before you take off out of Australia and then there’s zero chance you can be charged overseas rates. Then, simply buy yourself a local sim in the country you’re travelling in. So much cheaper! If you’re travelling locally, don’t forget all the brilliant free Apps you can download to stay in touch with loved ones, such as WhatsApp. Free messaging. Skype is also a no brainer! And there’s always an internet café on every corner or free WiFi at most cafes, airports and street corners!

7. Combine travel with work

Think outside the square. Could you potentially arrange a work related meeting during your travels so that your trip can be deducted (to an extent) as a work trip? Failing that, think of a day here or there where you might meet some interesting people and see a different perspective by fruit picking!

8. Change your mindset, not your currency

I’m not suggesting you start wearing hiker boots and bum-bags (unless that’s naturally your thing) but it’s worth considering your trip differently to your usual home standards if you want to save a few bucks along the way. This may mean choosing a holiday to awaken your senses by doing volunteer work. It may mean a detox or meditation retreat with meals and board included. It may mean a road trip with friends rather than a flight to a foreign land. It might be as simple as a tent and a canoe. Explore your senses, your own backyard, your fears and your preconceived notions of what a 'holiday' is all about. The most refreshing trip is one that brings change.

9. Make your trip work for you

Don’t doubt yourself. Just because you’ve never been published before, or won a photo competition doesn’t mean you can’t start now! Start searching and instead of targeting the big tabloid newspapers, reach out to the smaller lesser known travel magazines or even online publications and perhaps re-write your story a few times for a few different publications. It takes as long as a flight to hack one out and could make you a considerable sum at the end of the day – not to mention the pride in calling yourself a 'travel reporter or photographer!'

10. Local knowledge is priceless

For the truly golden experience when you’re away from home, we all know it’s about the people you meet. Not just the characters themselves, but the knowledge they can share with you on the best places to go while you’re there. So, of all the tips above mentioned, this is possibly the most priceless. All you ever have to do is say “excuse me, I can tell you’re a local. I’m visiting and was wondering if you could recommend your favourite place to…..”. I hate to say it, but if you’re travelling solo, this can also turn out to be way more effective than Tinder.

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