In this article, we will discuss 10 essential things to do BEFORE you leave, to travel cheaper. This article is the first in a series of articles dedicated to less expensive travel. So make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter, so you don't miss our next tips ;-)
Traveling is a wonderful experience that broadens your horizons, exposes you to new cultures and helps you grow as a person. However, it can also be an expensive undertaking that drains your bank account and stresses you out unnecessarily. The good news is that with proper planning and preparation, you can travel on a budget without sacrificing quality. In this article, we'll share with you 10 things you should do before you go to make your trip more affordable and enjoyable.
Why are trips expensive?
Traveling can be expensive for several reasons. First, there's the cost of transportation, which includes flights, trains, buses, and taxis. Then there is the cost of accommodation, food and activities. Depending on where you are going, these expenses can add up quickly and eat into your budget. However, with the right strategies and the right mindset, you can find ways to save money and make your trip more affordable.
One of the biggest mistakes travelers make is not planning ahead. They wait until the last minute to book their flights and accommodation, which can mean higher prices and limited availability. They also don't find out about the destination beforehand, which can lead to overspending on unnecessary activities and attractions. By taking the time to plan and prepare for your trip, you can avoid these pitfalls and enjoy a more affordable, stress-free trip.
Search for a destination
Before booking your flight or accommodation, take the time to research your destination. Look for places where transportation, accommodation, food and activities are affordable. Consider traveling off-season, when prices are lower and crowds are fewer. Look for destinations that offer free attractions, such as museums, parks, and beaches. You can also check travel blogs and social media for insider tips and recommendations from other travelers.
When researching a destination, consider your interests and preferences. Do you prefer cities or nature? The beaches or the mountains? Cultural experiences or outdoor adventures? By choosing a destination that matches your interests and preferences, you'll be more likely to enjoy your trip and get the most out of your travel budget.
Choose the right time to travel
The time of year you travel can have a big impact on your travel budget. For example, if you are traveling during peak tourist season, prices for flights, accommodation, and activities may be higher. Traveling off-season, on the other hand, can save you money and provide a more authentic experience.
When choosing the right time to travel, consider local weather, crowds, and events. If you are going to a beach destination, it is best to avoid hurricane or monsoon season. If you're going to a popular city, it's best to avoid major holidays or events that can lead to higher prices and more crowds. By doing your research and choosing the right time to travel, you can save money and have a more enjoyable trip.
Book flights and accommodation
Booking your flights and accommodation in advance can save you money and ensure a comfortable and affordable place to stay. When booking your flights, consider using a search engine that compares prices from multiple airlines, such as Skyscanner or Kayak. Be flexible with your travel dates and consider flying on weekdays rather than weekends. You can also save money by booking flights during off-peak hours, such as early morning or late evening.
When booking accommodation, consider using websites that offer discounts and offers, such as Booking.com or Airbnb. Look for budget options, such as hostels, guesthouses, or campsites. You can also save money by sharing a room with other travelers or staying outside the city center. Remember to read reviews and do research before booking, to ensure your accommodation is safe and comfortable.
Find economic activities and attractions
Finding affordable activities and attractions can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. Look for free or inexpensive options, such as museums, parks, and walking tours. Many cities offer free or discounted admission to museums and attractions on certain days of the week. You can also research local festivals and events, which will allow you to have a unique and authentic experience without breaking the bank.
When planning your activities, consider using a travel guide or an app that offers insider tips and recommendations. Look for experiences that go off the beaten path and offer a more local perspective. You can also consider volunteering or participating in a cultural exchange program, which can be an interesting and affordable way to learn about a new culture.
Save money on transport
Transportation can be a big expense when traveling, but there are plenty of ways to save money. Consider using public transportation, such as buses or trains, rather than taxis or rental cars. Look for discounted passes or tickets that offer unlimited rides, such as weekly or monthly passes. You can also consider walking or cycling, which is a healthy and affordable way to explore a new place.
When using public transport, find out routes and timetables in advance. You can also use a map or an app to get your bearings in the city and avoid getting lost. If you need to take a taxi or a rental car, be sure to negotiate the price to avoid getting ripped off.
Pack smart to avoid extra charges
Packing smart can save you money and avoid extra charges when traveling. Be sure to bring only what you need and avoid clutter. Consider using a backpack or carry-on bag to avoid checked baggage fees. You can also pack a reusable water bottle, which will save you money on drinks and reduce waste.
When planning your trip, learn about local customs and dress appropriately. You can also take along a small first aid kit and the necessary medicines to avoid getting sick or hurting yourself. By packing your luggage smartly, you can save money and have a more comfortable and less stressful trip.
Bring your own food and drinks
Eating out can be expensive while traveling, so consider bringing your own food and drinks. Provide snacks, such as cereal bars or fruit, to avoid feeling hungry between meals. You can also pack a sandwich or salad for lunch, saving money and eating healthy.
When eating out, look for local restaurants or food trucks that offer affordable, authentic cuisine. You can also ask locals for recommendations or use a travel app to find the best deals. Be sure to avoid tourist traps and overpriced restaurants, which can strain your travel budget.
Use travel apps and credit card rewards
Using travel apps and credit card rewards can save you money and get valuable perks when you travel. Look for apps that offer discounts and deals on flights, accommodations, and activities, like Hopper or Expedia. You can also use a credit card that offers travel rewards, such as cash back or airline miles.
When using travel apps or credit card rewards, be sure to read the terms and conditions and understand any fees or restrictions. You can also use a budgeting app or spreadsheet to track your expenses and stick to your travel budget.
THE 10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE LEAVING
Seeing other places, discovering other cultures, forging links with other populations... traveling is undoubtedly one of the best ways to enrich oneself culturally. Unfortunately, not everyone can hop on the first plane and unpack their bags on an island paradise or a large, sprawling metropolis.
Are you one of those who think that traveling is expensive? This is true in most cases, (except when we apply our tips & tricks to travel cheaper of course!)
At Passion Coast, we are all great travellers! All of us have accumulated several tours of the globe. And even today, we continue to apply these small gestures, almost automatically, during our travels.
Thanks to our tips for traveling cheaper, you can also live your dream of wide open spaces and cultural encounters without going into debt until the end of your life.
1 Choose a cheap destination:
No, just because you're going far doesn't mean you're going to have to pay a crazy amount of money. It is also not because you dream of an exotic country that you have to pay dearly. Many original and magnificent destinations allow you to spend unforgettable moments without it ruining you.
Before leaving, check all the low-budget destinations by looking closely: the price of the trip, the nights in the hotel or in a seasonal rental, the cost of daily living... You will be surprised to discover that you can eat like a king for less than 10 euros per person in the cheapest countries.
The Baltic States are a dream destination for cheaper travel. Fine sandy beaches, incredible azure blue sea, picturesque alleys, hiking trails... you'll think you're on the other side of the world. If you don't know this part of Europe yet, it's time to take your suitcase and stay there, if only for two or three days (especially during the week if you have a limited budget).
If you love the sea and nature, Bulgaria is a must. This country has a superb coastline that is worth the detour, to name only the famous “Golden Sands”. History buffs will also be spoiled with the many Thracian, Greek and Roman remains that can be admired. Slovakia and its hiking trails, Latvia and its authentic little houses... also open their doors to you for cheaper travel.
Also in Europe, Galicia, a region located on the northwest coast of Spain is also a dream destination for small budgets. For lovers of Italy, the villages of the "Cinque Terre" are not to be missed. Tunisia, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand... are also to be considered. And why not stay in France and discover our beautiful country?
2 Go in low season so as not to blow your budget:
As you have noticed, prices skyrocket in the high season, while when you leave in the low season, the prices drop almost by half, whether it's plane tickets (up to 58% cheaper sometimes) or train, accommodation, meals.
If you like beaches, go in September or in May, you will be entitled to a royal room for cheap. And then, the whole beach will be yours. Likewise, you won't be stuck in traffic jams or queues for every activity you want to do. In the restaurants, you can dine quietly and at your own pace. This is also an opportunity to get your hands dirty with souvenirs, because there is no doubt that local sellers will not hesitate to sell for less.
For families on a tight budget, leaving in the off season allows you to visit the most touristic countries without sacrificing comfort. For example, you can take advantage of the All Saints' Day holidays or the winter holidays to go to the other side of the Atlantic, to a tropical country.
3 Dare to go to high-risk countries:
We grant you, traveling to a country considered at risk with children can be a risk, but not always if you take all the precautions before leaving. What we mean is that no country is 100% safe and risks are part of any trip: theft, mugging, etc.
Thus, to do before leaving for a country at risk:
- Find out about the risks incurred in the country by consulting the “travel advice” section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website”.
- Find out about the evolution of the situation, as there may be changes between the time you booked your plane ticket and the day of your departure.
- Register on Ariane, a security system made available to French nationals by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This device allows you to indicate that you are in a particular country.
- Take out travel insurance.
Obviously, we do not recommend countries at war or experiencing political unrest, social explosion, etc. It's about having common sense.
Some examples of underestimated destinations, to discover before the others? Venezuela, Colombia, Burma, Malaysia, Zanzibar, Jamaica,
4 Plan your trip yourself:
To travel cheaper, organize your own trip. No need to call an agency to compose the trip that suits you.
Things to do before the trip:
- Buy the tickets.
- Book accommodation.
- Carry out administrative formalities: visa, vaccine, travel insurance, etc. - Plan itineraries and activities to do on site. Etc.
A well-planned trip is a successful trip, and then as we always say, no one is better served than by oneself. By organizing your trip from A and Z, you experience a tailor-made stay.
Choose the ideal duration of your trip.
In distant destinations like India or Cambodia, the longer your stay, the less it will cost you. Indeed, in these countries, the cost of living is not expensive, but the price of the plane ticket is expensive. To optimize your trip, it is better to stay for several weeks.
On the contrary, if you stay in France or in a neighboring country, do not stay there for more than a week. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy your trip while paying less.
5 Have the spirit of travel:
You can go to the other side of the world or 500 kilometers from home, what makes your trip successful is the state of mind in which you live it
So the destination will not matter. To travel cheaper, you sometimes have to accept unforeseen events such as a crowded bus on a chaotic route in Bali.
Don't compromise on security
We said a little earlier that to travel cheaper, you sometimes have to dare to go to a country at risk. However, the safest countries can also have some surprises in store for you with cheap destinations. Here are the top 10 safest countries in the world:
Switzerland Singapore. Norway. Luxemburg. Cyprus. Iceland. Denmark. Portugal. Finland. Japan.
Of course, these are not the cheapest countries (Singapore, for example, is one of the most expensive countries), but even these destinations are cheaper in low season. In addition, they offer destinations still unknown to tourists, so cheaper. Seeing the fares for these countries, so must be on your to-do list before you travel.
6 Take out inexpensive but comprehensive health insurance:
No, just because you're going to travel cheaper doesn't mean you have to skimp on your health.
Some countries have a high risk of epidemics, especially tropical countries and those without access to drinking water. Instead of taking out health insurance, take out a Gold Mastercard or Visa Premier card combined with free insurance (medical assistance, repatriation, compensation in the event of trip delay or cancellation, etc.) from your bank.
In addition, withdrawal fees abroad are lower. You will win on all counts.
7 Choose your credit card wisely: Traveling for less also means avoiding exchange fees that can cost you dearly.
The Max card is a free card that combines all your credit cards into one and allows you to pay for all your purchases abroad without exchange fees, even outside the euro zone. Even more, it also combines the assurances of a Premium card.
To do before leaving therefore, subscribe to a Max card and take advantage of all the advantages it offers.
To do before leaving: register on iGraal
iGraal is an online loyalty card that allows you to save on your online purchases from iGraal partner merchants. For each purchase you make, this online tool refunds you a portion of your purchases (the percentage depends on the merchant).
Instead of earning loyalty points, you get real money that you can use later.
8 Take your Visa on site:
Some countries allow French travelers to enter their country and pay for the visa on arrival, provided you arrive through an international airport or major border crossing. It's cheaper and takes less time than applying before you leave since you pay in local currency. For countries where the euro has a stronger value, it is a good way to save on the visa.
Good on the other hand, it will be necessary to accept to queue a little on arrival for the formalities.
9 Optimize your cash withdrawals:
For each money withdrawal you make outside the euro zone, your bank charges you a commission (fixed and variable).
To travel cheaper, pay as much as possible by credit card. If this means of payment is not always possible, avoid many small withdrawals so as not to pay the fixed commission each time. If your bank has a branch in your destination country, you will not pay commission.
To do before leaving therefore: check that your bank has a branch there or works with a network of partners. Also compare withdrawal fees, exchange fees at the bank or at an exchange office. This will save you money.
10 Negotiate on everything:
Plane ticket, accommodation, activity... negotiate on all expenditure items. You can make great savings. Set yourself a price you are willing to pay and advertise half of it! And off you go in long discussions. Remember that bargaining is very common in many countries.
It is absolutely not shocking. But we must be right. Because in some countries, where the costs are so low, and your interlocutors are sometimes so poor, that you can sometimes find yourself negotiating for a few cents. Like what, with a few tips for traveling, it is possible to discover other countries cheaper.
I hope these few tips have helped you see things more clearly.
Traveling on a budget doesn't mean sacrificing quality or missing out on valuable experiences.
By following these 10 tips, you can make the most of your travel budget and enjoy a memorable and affordable trip.
Remember to plan ahead, choose the right destination and travel time, book your flights and accommodation in advance, find affordable activities and attractions, save money money on transportation, packing smart, bringing your own food and drinks, and using travel apps and credit card rewards.
Through the art of cheap travel, you can explore the world on a budget and create unforgettable memories.