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The anticipation of venturing out onto the open road for your next big vacation is one great reason to leap out of bed in the morning. The cost, however, isn’t quite so delightful. You can, however, lower those costs with a few simple strategies. Here are some easy-to-do tips for traveling on a budget.
1. Lower Your Expectations
I know. That doesn’t sound much fun! But a lot of travelers begin their vacation planning process by thinking about luxuries. And of course, luxury items cost luxury dollars. Shifting your mindset away from top-dollar commodities to the pursuit of adventurous experiences can immediately present you with cost-saving alternatives.
And really, that boils down to a simple choice. Before you choose your destination, start by talking about what you want to get out of your vacation. In what ways are you happy to push outside your comfort zone? Of course, you can still choose those little luxuries like eating at a great restaurant or taking the deluxe tour when nothing less will do, but selecting those moments with care will help you spend your money where it counts.
2. Look Before You Leap
Another great way to save money is by gathering as much local knowledge as you can before you arrive. Lonely Planet, of course, is a wealth of local information. The site has an ever-expanding section specifically catering to budget travelers, and the guidebooks offer a range of options for every budget.
You needn’t stop there, though. Scrolling through Trip Advisor is an interesting way to trawl through your destination’s local delights, and you can frequently find a useful mix of tourist and local reviews for products and services.
Finding the bargains is so much harder when you’re on the ground and in full vacation mode. It’s smarter to equip yourself with all that knowledge before you leave your front door.
3. Choose Your Credit Card Wisely
Some credit cards will give you bonus points for dollars you spend on specific items. If you know you’re about to chew up a lot of miles on a trip, for example, one savvy way to increase your spending power is to choose a great credit card that offers triple points on your gas spending. Or perhaps you plan to eat out at some great restaurants? Using a card that rewards dining out will make that outlay financially easier for you.
Take a close look at the cashback options you can get through credit cards. With the right card, you could save the cash you earn back for a future adventure. Smart!
4. Be on the Lookout for Free (Or Nearly Free) Stuff!
Finally, always be on the lookout for the unmissable bargain. Most cities offer walking tours you can enjoy for nothing more than the price of a tip for the tour guide, not to mention the fantastic museums and galleries lying in wait for you with free or nominal admission costs. And of course, a tour of local monuments or natural features can cost you nearly nothing.
It pays to spend some time looking at those free options before you arrive, and never be afraid to ask trustworthy locals you encounter for some sage advice too.
Shoestring Travel is an Art Form
It indeed takes a bit more effort to travel inexpensively. Still, the planning and preparation to find adventure on a budget can be strangely rewarding, and be a refreshing change of pace. After all, so many travel experiences out there — a beautiful sunset, an unplanned conversation, the joy of people-watching on a strange street corner — don’t rely on money. All they cost is time, planning, and an open mind. Have fun on your next budget adventure!