While many of us dream of traveling the world it’s not always feasible, even for those with the best of intentions. But while you might not have a lot of time or money, luckily there’s more than one way to see the world. Travel is simply the art of going somewhere new and different and exploring everything the place has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you have two days, two weeks, or two months. There are many ways to get on the road and see the world, so here are some budget ways to travel and explore even if you are cash-strapped or time-poor:
Be a local tourist – How often do you visit the tourist sites in your own city? Hardly ever, right? We always put it off until tomorrow, because when we live in a city, there is always a tomorrow. If you’re short on time and money, there’s no better way to spend some free time than to wander your own city. No matter what its size, it has a number of wonders just waiting to be explored. When you become a local tourist, check out of your house and into a hotel, hostel, or guesthouse. It’s important to get out of your familiar environment, because if you stay home, you’ll find something to do around the house and create excuses for why you can’t sightsee. Moving to a different location can help give you that feeling of adventure, excitement, and unfamiliarity. Moreover, be sure to go to your local tourism office and get a city tourism pass. These cards allow you to see a wide range of local attractions for free or reduced prices and can be your way to see your local sites on a budget. They aren’t just for outsiders!
Travel regionally – Travel brings to mind faraway and exotic destinations. Because of that, few people look in their own backyard for adventure, but it offers just as many places to travel. Exploring your own region is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of travel. So you don’t have to fly across an ocean to explore the world. Head to the bookstore, buy a regional guidebook, and see what there is to see in your area. Your backyard holds as many possible travel destinations as does a country half a world away.
Go to National Parks – There’s almost always a park nearby and spending a few days with nature is not only good for your wallet but also good for your soul. Camping, after all, costs very little money. Camping fees in national parks are as little as $15 USD per night in the United States, $15-40 CAD in Canada, $30-60 AUD in Australia, and $17-22 NZD in New Zealand. And in many places in Japan and Europe (especially Scandinavia), you can camp on public lands for free. Additionally, you go camping stocked with all your own supplies and accommodation so you don’t have to worry about spending lots of extra money. Your food bill can be whatever you spend on groceries and nothing more. You don’t need to love camping to spend time in the national parks, either. Luckily, many parks provide cabins.
Book a last minute cruise – Cruise lines always offer incredible last-minute deals. No ship’s captain wants to leave with half the cabins empty. If you wait until the last minute, you can find some really amazing deals as cruise lines scramble to find passengers. Plus, cruise operators always throw in some on-board amenities, free upgrades, and cash vouchers to sweeten the deal. After you book, keep an eye out on prices, because if they drop, you can often call your travel agent or the cruise company itself to get a partial refund or vouchers to use for dining and alcohol on the boat.
Think outside the box – Travel counter to the prevailing trend. If people are going in the summer, you go in the spring or winter. Skip the popular destinations and head off the beaten path a bit. It might not be the most ideal time to go or your favorite destination, but thinking of unusual places to go and visiting in the off-season are going to save you a lot of money.
Book a last-minute tour – Just like cruises, tours are best booked last-minute. Tour companies need to fill the seats because once that trip departs, they still have the same costs. Why are tours so cheap last-minute? Well, think about how people plan vacations. You get the time off work, you book your vacation, you buy your flight, and you go. Since people pre-book, prices are higher in advance because these companies understand booking patterns and then price accordingly. As departure time nears, companies know people aren’t likely to turn up and book on departure day, so they sweeten the price to increase bookings. So take the time off work, wait until the week before, see what’s cheap, and then go.
Become a house sitter – Accommodation can eat into the cost of a trip big-time. A way around that is to stay somewhere for free. A unique way to overcome this is to house-sit for someone while they are on vacation. You get free accommodation, a kitchen to cook in, and the chance to explore a destination in depth. It’s a pretty unique way to travel and one that a lot of world travelers take advantage of. You can even do this in your own region too, to cut down on transportation costs.
Grab a cheap flight – Nowadays, you don’t have to guess where the cheapest flight from your home would be. You can look up a whole list of flights using a site like Momondo or Google Flights. With those sites you can type in “(the closest airport to you)” for your departure city and “everywhere” for your destination. Then a list of the cheapest flights appears in front of your very eyes, so you can choose where to go within your budget.