5 Tips for Traveling the World on Budget


Traveling around the world seems like an EXOTIC idea, but sounds costly, doesn’t it?

I bet that you ask yourself several times a week, maybe a couple of times a day, “How on earth will I ever be able to travel the world? I must be a millionaire in order to realize that dream.”

Good news, that’s not true!

You could travel the world without becoming bankrupt if only you give up on lots of unnecessary costly things and start planning it RIGHT. I am not going to ask you to eat from the garbage or to sleep on sidewalks, I will only give you tips that will help you plan it right.

on the web

on the web

1. Accommodation

Don’t say I am not a student anymore; I’m too old to share rooms or bathrooms. Who cares, as long as you’re staying in a safe & clean place? You only go there to spend the night anyway.

a. Hostels

They are a MUCH cheaper accommodation option than hotels.

Good:

  • You can book a bed in shared dorms. It is the best option, especially when you are traveling alone, as it cuts costs and allows you to get introduced to new people inside the dorms.

P.S: there are mixed, females and males dorms in 80-90% of hostels, with shared or private bathroom.

  • You can book a private ensuite room –with private bathroom- which is slightly more expensive. You’d better choose this option if you are staying in a double/triple/quadruple room with your friends.
  • You get to socialize with people from all over the world.

Bad:

  • Obviously sharing a room doesn’t give you so much privacy.
  • Going to the bathroom can get a bit uncomfy –but again you only spend few hours at the hostel.
  • If you are unlucky enough you’ll be sharing rooms with noisy people, or ones who would arrive really late at night and wake you up from their noise or from turning on the lights –to get over this; use ear plugs and eye masks.

Answers to FAQ

– Most hostels have lockers where you can put your valuable stuff, just make sure to always carry a padlock in case the hostel does not provide any (some hostels sell them, but not all).

– Some hostels do not provide towels or provide them with a minimal fee. I personally always carry my own towels for hygiene reasons, but that is totally up to you.

b. Apartments

  • If you are traveling in groups you’d better stay in a rented apartment –apartments.com, airbnb.com, or wimdu.com– and split the cost. You’d better rent an apartment with a kitchenette in order to cook or microwave food bought from grocery stores – another money saver. To make sure that the desired apartment is good, well located, in a safe area check its reviews on the website as well as on tripadvisor.
  • If you are traveling for a long period of time, it is always better to stay in a private apartment with kitchenette and private bathroom.
  • Another cheap option is couch surfing & camping in a garden, haven’t tried any yet –but soon will do-, so I cannot recommend them as I base my recommendations on my personal experience.

2. Food & Drinks

  • Buy snacks & fruits from grocery stores and markets instead of buying them on the go from machines, gas stations and souvenir shops, as they are much cheaper & more fresh.
  • Always carry a reusable bottle to fill it with tap water, instead of buying mineral water, it’s safe to drink tap water in many countries (but be sure that it is safe before you drink it).
  • Anyone usually -I assume- packs very light when traveling, so get use of your allowed luggage weight, to fill it with bottles of water; to have enough water that could cover your usage for few days –you will at least save 5€ a day for 5-7 days (25 to 35 €).
  • Go for local & street food instead of eating at fancy restaurants. It’s always a pleasure to have a sense of place through tasting local food -but to have the full experience you have to eat in fancy restaurants as well, but not as much as street food.
  • When you buy grocery, choose big packages –i.e. a package of 6 bottles of juice instead of buying one bottle at a time- as usually they are less expensive than buying one by one, which applies to water, beverages, snacks, etc.
on the web

on the web

3. Airfares

  • I usually start by looking on generic websites such as expedia, momondo, kayak, orbitz, edreams, skyscanner for two reasons: 1. To look for the best fare & compare prices, 2. To know which companies are operating on the desired destination’s route. Afterwards, I check the prices on the websites of specific airline companies, compare them with those found on generic websites, then I choose the cheapest, yet convenient option.

Don’t torture yourself by choosing flights with long transits & endless stops, that take several hours or days, you don’t want to end up wasting your vacation waiting at the airport or recovering from fatigue & lack of sleep.

4. Gadgets

  • Before you hit the road make sure to buy several 100 ml empty bottles -in case you will be carrying carry-on luggage on your flight- to fill them with shampoo, shower gel, or for any liquid storing purposes- as in most countries they take advantage of the 100 ml carry on allowance to price 100 ml liquids higher than their regular price, sometimes they are even more expensive than big bottles.
  • Always carry a Swiss knife in order to avoid buying gadgets like knives, scissors, bottles and cans opener. But DON’T put it in your carry-on luggage.

5. Transportations  

  • Avoid taxis at all cost; they are INSANELY expensive in most countries. It is so much fun to use public transportations instead, especially if you try unusual ones like rickshaws (tuktuks).
  • Don’t forget to ask for super saver tickets/passes. In some countries you have the option to buy a pass valid for a day, a week, 2 weeks, or more, there are even specific discounted passes valid for the weekend.

Bonus tips

  • Before booking anything read reviews about the desired place, I totally depend on tripadvisor (read good and bad reviews of the same place as the good reviews might not suit you, and the bad ones might not be as bad as others think, it always depends on the person).
  • During your trip, always carry snacks -fruits, biscuits, energy bars, etc- and a bottle of water in your backpack, you will eventually be hungry & thirsty and the last thing you want is not finding food and water supplies.
  • Avoid at all costs; not having extra food before arrival to your destination, always carry an extra sandwich or anything that will get your stomach full, as you might not have access to food for several reasons such as; your flight might be unexpectedly delayed, the traffic might be jammed, hence arriving late after all sources of food are closed. I have tried it once and it was literally torturous.
  • Pack light without forgetting to take your essentials, you don’t want to end up spending your money on unnecessary stuff that you already have back home.
  • In most countries around the world you could do all the needed bookings for flights, accommodation, theatre, tours, museums and most of the time they are cheaper than buying them on the spot and you’ll get to skip long endless queues.
  • Don’t forget to ask for discounted tickets for kids, students, youth & elderly.
  • In some countries, there are super saver passes that are offered for free, or sold which entitle you to half price tickets, discounts, offers and even more.
  • Sometimes it is cheaper to take internal flights rather than riding a train or a bus. Totally applies to Europe (easyjet, swissair, ryanair, vueling, transavia, etc).
  • The earlier you book, the cheaper it gets
on the web

on the web

See … It’s all about good research, planning and doing your own bookings.

What tips have you used before to travel on a budget? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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5 Practical Tips for Planning Amazing Trips


How many of you have been planning to travel for SOOO long, but was too lazy to proceed with the planning part of their trip?
How many of you have thought that they’d rather plan it on their own to cut costs, then they failed completely at doing the right choices & ended up paying much more?
How many of you have been terrified to proceed with booking on their own, to avoid any unexpected turn of events?

I am here to tell you that planning a trip can be the BEST part of it. Yes the BEST
I know you’re wondering “HOW come, it’s the most HECTIC & maybe STRESSFUL one!”.

Here is the deal.
When I plan for a trip, my selection is never random, there is some sort of routine that I always follow which creates all the fun, once a destination pops up in my mind, I start doing extensive research, readings, checking websites, tripadvisor, googling what is the best time to visit? what are my cheapest options?, how to get there? what ways of transportation are available? talking to nationals or people who have been before, watching videos, photographs, learning about the culture, customs, street foods, must visits, must dos, famous festivals, special occasions, … If all of these were appealing enough then I have a new place to visit. It is booking time 🙂

on the web

on the web

The 7 Benefits of Highly Effective Trip Planning

1. to have full awareness of the place/city/country that you are visiting,
2. to have a pleasant unique experience,
3. to cut expenses,
4. to visit unknown, untouristic, uncrowded places,
5. to not experience a below expectations trip -you get what you have planned for,
6. to not be treated as a tourist, hence being ripped off
7. to really be merged in the culture -locals, local cuisine, etc.

Five Steps to follow

1. You have to ask yourself: What am I looking forward to during this trip? The answer to this question will make you choose your destination easily and the type of company that you should be looking for. For instance if you want to have a hiking trip, you have to choose someone with good physical fitness, active, nature lover, outgoing, and most importantly who gets acquainted to rough conditions without complaining. If you wanna travel for shopping then you have to choose someone with common interest. Otherwise your trip will be a TOTAL failure, trust me it’s NEVER about having your best friends traveling with you, it’s all about choosing the right company who have common interests.

2. You have to surf over the internet by googling keywords like: must visits, most famous travel destinations, hottest travel spots, adventure travel, top destinations, most visited places in the world, whatever reflects your travel preferences. Then check out National geographic, & National Geographic Traveler websites to learn about their recommendations, as well as tripadvisor, also take a look at the planned trips & itineraries that they offer. Also subscribe to travel newsletters, or follow them on twitter, or facebook as they send regular travel inspiration, ideas and updates such as; Tripadvisors’, Frommers’, Roughguides’, Huffingpost, LonelyPlanet, CondéNastTraveler.

3. Once one or two  destinations sound appealing, start focusing your googling on this/these specific destination/s by asking yourself several questions then googling their answers:

  • What is the highlight of this destination? (which is related to question no.1)
  • What are the must dos there? (i.e. hiking, rock climbing, museums, shopping, etc.)
  • When is the best time to go? Which season of the year is it, to pack accordingly?
  • When is the high/low season?
  • How do I get there? (air/train/car/boat/bus/bike)
  • How many hours does it require to get there?
  • What is the cheapest, safest and most convenient way to get there?
  • Are there any interesting events/festivals/carnivals going on in this place/city/country? If yes, when? Do they sound appealing to me? How did former attendees of these events rate them? Are they for free or shall I buy tickets? Where to buy tickets from? Is it cheaper to buy them online or on the spot?
  • What’s the minimum number of days required for such a visit? or what fits in my X number of days visit?
  •  Are there any available online itineraries or guides to my destination? (DEFINITELY THERE IS)
on the web

on the web

4. Once the decision is made, start looking for visa requirements, your way to get there (airfare/train/car/boat/bus/bike) & your accommodation.

As for flights

  • Start by looking on generic websites such as expedia, momondo, kayak, orbitz, edreams, skyscanner for two reasons: 1. To look for the best fare & compare prices, 2. To know which companies are operating on the desired destination’s route.
  • Afterwards, check the prices on the websites of specific airline companies, compare them with those found on generic websites, then choose the cheapest, yet convenient option.
  • Choose the cheapest flight with the minimum number of transits & stops.
  • Book online since it’s usually cheaper -don’t forget to check the refund policy.
  • If you are traveling inside Europe then easyjet, swissair, ryanair, vueling, transavia could be the cheapest and most practical option to move from one city/country to another, flights could cost you up to 10€ if you book early.

As for any other ways of transportation

  • Google or ask friends who have been to this place before.
  • If you are visiting Europe, then you have to use seat61.com website as your main reference, it is EXTREMELY informative.
  • If going by car/train/bike google the most scenic routes to ride on.

As for accommodation

  • If checking in in hostels, so Hostelworld and Hostelbookers, they also offer other types of accommodation such as; hotels, campings, BBs & apartments. I also check those mainly for hotels bookings; Booking, Venere, Hotels as they can offer good deals. For apartment rentals best deals are on Airbnb, Apartments & Wimdu (which can be a good option if traveling in groups). Don’t forget to check the facilities offered by your chosen accommodation option.
  • After finding good deals, check on googlemaps their location. I always prefer to check in places in the city center or 10min walk from it -to know where is the city center, google <city’s name> city center.
  • Then read reviews about the hostel/hotel/apartment on Tripadvisor as well as the website on which you will book. If the rating of the place is high & the positive reviews are more than the negative ones, then consider it as an option. If not, then exclude it from your options.
  •  Choose a top selection, then proceed with the booking through a valid credit card -don’t forget to read the cancellation policy.

5. Next step is preparing your itinerary according to your budget and number of days that you are willing to spend. I usually prepare it through all the research that I have already made in step 2, but in more details, by reading reviews and watching videos & photos, I also buy a Roughguide or a Lonelyplanet guide as they are widely sold in Egypt (where I live). A guide book is my true helper and friend during any trip, as it covers all the history, maps, estimated prices, transportations, opening hours and all useful information that I need.

on the web

on the web

Bonus Tips

– In some countries; students get discounted tickets, people aged 25 years or younger (in some countries it is 26) or over 60.

– ANYTHING could be booked online including museum tickets, tours, transportation passes, car rentals, shows, etc.
– Buy a transportation pass according to the number of days that you’ll be spending. And note that in some countries you pay a reduced price if the weekend is included in the pass, and that in some countries you pay a travel pass per day, per week or per month.

To help you plan on budget trips, check my 5 tips for traveling the world on budget