Many of us love to travel- whether it be to take a break from life’s usual routine and explore a new scene or perhaps an occasion simply arises which demands a few nights away from home.
I’m fortunate enough to have been on a few travel trips in the past few years and along the way, I have picked up a few tips which may help you in booking and planning your own exciting trip on a budget.
Find the cheapest dates to your cheapest desirable destination
If you have some flexibility with your travel dates, it’s worth checking flight costs for various dates and planning your trip around the most cost effective options.
Travel costs can also help you decide where you want to travel if you don’t have a specific destination in mind. I’ve always found that low travel costs are the first step to booking a bargain trip. There are plenty of comparison websites for flights that show prices for different destinations by date.
My ‘go to’ is Skyscanner. If you are flexible with dates and location, try searching from your closest airport to ‘everywhere’ from ‘cheapest month’ to ‘cheapest month’.
You can’t always trust accommodation photos
Once you have an idea of where and when you want to go, you’ll want to find somewhere to stay. Similar to travel, the cost of accommodation is a key factor in deciding where to stay. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also have a few specific things that you expect from your accommodation. Most things can be included in a filtered search on a hotel booking website. Then the images of the accommodation are usually taken into account as part of the selection process. I’ve found that the website images usually show places in their best light. To get a true picture of my options I go to Tripadvisor and check out the travellers’ photos. This shows real photos captured by real people and will usually show the accommodation in their worst light. You can’t go far wrong if the travellers’ photos look good.
Book with free cancellation so you can change your mind
When it comes to booking, I’m always conscious of getting the best value for my money. Even if I’ve found somewhere that I like for a decent price, I still want the option to change if I see something better. This is why it’s helpful to book with free cancellation. It costs slightly more but if prices drop, you can cancel and rebook which can give you a far better deal in the long run.
Do some research and avoid tourist traps
If you are travelling as a tourist it will pay off to do a bit of research into the location you’re travelling to- particularly to avoid well known tourist traps. Many places will do whatever they can to cash in on their tourists so it helps to know what to watch out for. For example, the best places to go for reasonably priced authentic food rather than over priced food that is catered to tourists.
It is also helpful to be aware of the culture, whether they expect tips, or if particular phrases or gestures may be seen as offensive. It definitely helps to know a bit about the place you are travelling to.
Guided tours are best at the start of your trip
A guided tour can be a great way to learn about the place you’re in. I’ve always found that it’s best to have a guided tour of the area you’re in at the start of your trip. It’s helpful to get your bearings, learn about the main sites and discover things or places you’d like to explore further throughout the trip. You may get the chance to meet other like minded travellers who could become your friends during the trip. You can also take this opportunity to ask your guide any questions you may have- you never know what you may discover. I’ve often found that a tour is a good starting point for unexpected adventure.