Traveling on a Budget
They say seeing the world is an enriching and positive experience that will give you a new perspective on life. For some, it can also give your bank account a new perspective on what it means to be in the negative. The prices of flights and hotels can leave you eating Ramen and dollar cheese burgersuntil the day your plane finally takes off. But by doing your due diligence you can easily cut cost on flights, lodging, food and even attractions.
If you are able to be flexible in your travels and do a little research this is where you can save a tremendous amount of money. If you know well in advance of when you are going to travel, you should check out this graph When to Purchase International Flights Cheap Air suggest buying tickets to Asia 316 day in advance to optimize your savings. While this is great if you can plan a whole year in advance, but I know some of us operate on a much more month to month schedule. For those of you who fall into the former, my favorite website for flight deals, is The Flight Deal. The flight deal post daily flight deals from various airports and you can signup for the daily email, which I highly suggest. As of writing this email The Flight Deal has tickets to Miami from NYC for only $110! This is over $100 cheaper than the typical price. By using the Flight Deal I found tickets to Dubai for roughly $200 from NYC. Today those tickets, cost anywhere from $800-$1200. I used all that saved money while in Dubai as opposed to using it to get to Dubai.
Maybe it's because I am cheap, but I never seek out high end luxury hotels when traveling. Ok, it is definitely because I am cheap. Nevertheless, when traveling I like to live near the locals. This gives me the opportunity to interact with people who are familiar with the city/county and can offer suggestions that might lead you off the beaten path. It is also cheaper than paying to stay at a luxury hotel where which you will do not much if nothing more than sleep. Why spend $250-$600 a night for a bed when you can pay half if not a third of the price for an equally comfortable bed located in an apartment or hostel. In Dubai, I stayed in a beautiful studio located in a prime location, the Dubai Marina, for only $112 a night. The studio (Dubai Studio) was equipped with a large flat screen tv, a full kitchen, washing machine, rooftop pool, gym and an incredible view of the city. You have a better chance comprehending every word of a Young Thug track, than you do finding a hotel with equal amenities and quality for that low price. Hostels are another good idea. In an upcoming trip to Colombia, I booked a Hostel in Bogota for only $99 for 3 nights through booking.com. Being I am traveling with the old lady we booked a private room. if you are riding solo or with someone you don't want to share a bed with, you can book a bed in a dorm style room for as low a 11 bones night! Hostels are great ways to meet fellow travelers whom you can form great bonds with if you so desire, or you can ignore them and take full advantage of the hostels amenities which are included in the booking price (free bike rentals, Spanish lessons, breakfast, etc). When booking, steer away from the luxury hotel if you want to save money. I mean this is probably where you will spend the least amount of time so why spend the most amount of money on it?
Now that you have saved a hefty amount of money on your flight and lodging, it is time to blow it on attractions! Wrong! You've been traveling the cheap way to this point, why stop now!? When traveling to Dubai, I did some research and discovered this book called The Entertainer This book has literally thousands of buy one get one free coupons. These coupons aren't to little mom and pop attractions either. They were to the biggest best attractions in Dubai. This book costs about 130 USD but you can easily save that in one purchase. I know I did when booking my desert safari which included dune buggies and a dinner (saved $130). The Entertainer also includes buy one get one free entrees to various restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining. The Entertainer cut my budget for attractions in half which allowed me and my girlfriend to do twice as many activities than we anticipated our budget would allow. The Entertainer also has books for countries such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Abu Dhabi, Durban, Hong Kong, London, and many more. Last thing about the Entertainer, to get more bang for my buck, i looked up the Entertainer on Ebay and bought the individual coupons that I wanted. This kept my from having to carry that big book with me and it cut cost even more. People on ebay sell individual coupons from anywhere from $1-$5. For example, the buy one get one free coupon to a water park, Aquaventure, cost me only 2.50 yet saved me $68. If you're cheap, those are the kind of victories, that make you feel Booker T and won the WCW Championship Title for the 5th time. If you are traveling to a city or country that does not have the Entertainer or something similar be sure to check sites like Groupon for that area.
Hopefully this little guide gives you some insight on how to cut cost on traveling and make your trip even more fulfilling. SO INSTEAD OF RETURNING HOME WITH EMPTY POCKETS, YOU COULD RETURN HOME LOOKING LIKE THIS....
-JA for @TheNewCheap