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1: Travel in the low season:
Travel during the low-season to get cheaper rates on accommodation. In South East Asia, I often just showed up and bargained my accommodation. I didn’t have to worry about anything filling up. Other things may be cheaper as well like transportation and admission tickets.
2: Pick the right destination
Choosing the right destination is the best way to travel in style and on a budget. For example, you can stretch your dollar much further in South East Asia than you can in Europe. When you choose the right country to travel to, you can stay in four star hotels, while dining out on delicious meals every day for peanuts. Instead of an all-inclusive trip to the Caribbean, rent a beach bungalow in Indonesia or Thailand for a fraction of the cost of staying at a resort. You won’t be able to afford a day at the spa in New York City, but in Thailand you can get a great massage for 10 Bucks! So always think, location, location, location.
3: Seek Out Ethnic Neighbourhoods
Seek out the ethnic neighborhoods, markets and grocery stores for cheap eats and less expensive groceries in big cities in the United States, Canada and Europe. For example, you can stock up on fruits and vegetables at a Turkish market for a fraction of the cost at a regular German grocery store (or market) in Berlin. Same goes for cheap prepared foods – there are places in Chinatown in New York with delicious dumplings for just a couple of dollars while the Mission in San Francisco will keep you well fed not only in great Mexican food with massive burritos (aka, urban food logs), but also Indian and other cuisines. A great way to eat well, meet some interesting people, and help the budget all at the same time.
4: Skip The “Must-Sees”
It is not always necessary to see absolutely every temple, or site, that a place has to offer. We often don’t visit the biggest ‘must-see’ as we find it marred by hoards of people also trying to see it. We’ll opt for lesser sites that still give a sense of history, culture, or art but that are often less expensive and less crowded. Sometimes sites will allow free entrance to the grounds or gardens but you must pay a fee for entering the building. Often these areas are the most beautiful, and worthwhile, parts of the visit!
5: Pick the suite at a budget friendly hotel
You want luxury and find yourself on a budget? Instead of getting the cheapest room at a 5 five star hotel, pick a three star hotel and book their most expensive room. On my last trip to Jakarta, I simply walked in and booked an executive penthouse suite on the 20th floor with spectacular views for only 80 euros per night. It also gave me acces to the VIP breakfast area being able to enjoy my breakfast lounging in plush velvet seats and a personal waiter catering to my needs. This would not have been possible at any 5 star hotel for that price. This is a great way to travel in style and saving hundreds of dollars.
6: Learn The Language
For me, the biggest money saver by far has been to learn the local language. You can find accommodation on online or newspaper advertisements that are not catered to rich tourists, you can meet locals who will invite you to eat at their home, and on pretty much everything else, you can avoid paying the “English-speaking tax”. You’d be surprised how different the price is if you ask in the right language… And no, you do not have to master the language to do this. Even knowing the basics (at first) can make a huge difference.
In many cases, online ads are still not that great, so just while you are learning the language or haven’t arrived yet, I find that hiring a task-specific Personal Assistant who lives there, can save you heaps of money, since they’ll do the searching for you in the right language.
7: Eat Out At Lunch Instead Of Dinner
Traveling on a budget does not mean you can’t eat at nice restaurants. By eating out at lunch you can save significantly while dining in style. Restaurants around the world offer prixe fixe menu (fixed price menu) at lunch for a fraction of their dinner prices. Take advantage and enjoy a decadent meal without the worry on your budget.
8: Rent an Appartment
Finally, a great tip is to rent an apartment for a month. There are many advantages of slow travel such as the chance to really get to know a place, shop in markets and make local friends. But it also saves you money. In Ibiza for example we paid $800 a month for a stylish studio apartment with rooftop pool—the same per night as we’d pay for a double room in a hostel. Traveling in luxury does not have to break the bank. Make sure to plan ahead and do your research. Next thing you know you’ll be stylishly floating in a sparkling pool with a cocktail in your hand at your favorite destination.
What are your favourite ways to travel in style on a budget? Leave a comment and let me know!