I’ve been toying with the idea of going on an epic vacation, but my wallet is not vibing with that idea - so I need to do it as cheaply as possible. I'm not a stranger to living frugally (student life!) so I am willing to go over and above to save a few extra bucks. Here are a collection of tips and tricks I’ve learnt from watching many (many, many, many) YouTube videos on how to travel as cheaply as known to man:
- Eat and drink local: If the locals are vegetarian, be vegetarian. If the local source of protein is fish - eat fish. The point is – if the locals eat it - it is probably the most affordable option. For example - if you’re in Cape town- try a gatsby for lunch instead of dining at the V&A waterfront. You’ll probably also be very full and have leftovers.
- Do it all yourself: Guided tours are usually very expensive. You can do it all yourself. Understandably - it feels intimidating arriving at an unfamiliar place with no one to meet and guide you around the whole city/town throughout your stay. However - there are many resources to help you feel more confident, like - the locals and your best mate Google. If you have the time - watch as many YouTube videos out there of the places you are travelling to.
- Camps and hostels: Hotels are nice and comfortable, but they come with an uncomfortable price tag. If you have a comfortable budget - definitely go for it, but if you don’t- hostels are a great option. They also offer single rooms at a much more reasonable price. If you want to save even more money - camp. Camping equipment is quite expensive, however - there are several companies that rent out equipment at a decent cost.
- Travel off-season: Travelling to popular destinations off season is generally more affordable. Accommodations usually significantly mark down their prices during this time.
- You probably are not going to wear everything you’ve packed: Meteorologists are very smart at predicting the weather, so use their knowledge as a guideline when packing your bag to save on extra luggage costs. Try measuring your suitcase before you go to the airport so you’re not met with unexpected extra luggage charges at the check-in counter.
- Well, what about transportation? Transportation is a tricky one. Although you want an affordable option - you also want convenience, reliability and flexibility - especially if you did not book a tour guide to take you around. Transportation is also very area/country dependent so you’d have to find the best option for you and your friends. . For example, if you are planning to rent a car, it might be cheaper if you are travelling with 3 or 4 people, however, if you’re travelling alone - it might be wiser to use public transportation.
- Other useful tips: Use flight comparison websites to get the cheapest flight, even if the layover is longer than you’d wish for.
A longer layover is not always the worst. It can take a long time to disembark your plane and board the next one. If the layover is 7 hours - you can have a meal, and shop (or window shop) in the duty-free area during your spare time.
Get a local sim card - these days if your phone is new enough it's even easier to get an e-sim before you travel. Roaming costs on your network can get very crazy abroad.
Don’t go broke because of a holiday! If you’re not financially ready to travel, be honest with yourself and delay the trip until you are ready. Create a ‘vacation’ goal on your Franc account and start saving. When you do finally start travelling - come back to these tips and tricks to ensure your Franc account keeps growing while you're enjoying your trip.