When you need the chance to get away from real life for a bit, you start dreaming of vacation spots. But then reality can set in, and you might just realize your dream trip is going to wind up being difficult to afford. After all, if we could afford to, most of us would be taking time off work and jetting around the world far more often!
But rather than delaying a trip to save up, or nixing the idea altogether, why not just plan your trip with a few ways to cut expenses on the go? You can’t always do anything about the basics (airfare, for instance), but there are lots of ways to save money while you’re traveling. Simply put, a little getaway for your mental health and relaxation doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive! And to expand on the idea, we’ve written up a few specific tips for how to vacation on a tighter budget.
Be Your Own Tour Guide
Tickets for guided tours can be expensive, whether you’re looking to explore a castle in the European countryside, or you want someone to show you around an entire city. And of course, when you have to pay for more than one, you can really rack up a bill. Often enough though, there are cheaper alternatives – such as audio tours that give you all the same information without the live guide or surrounding group.
Meanwhile if you’re looking to tour a whole city, you don’t have to do it on an expensive bus packed with fellow tourists. Instead, try guiding yourself around the city with a few easily accessible resources. Basically, you can follow a walking tour from a book or a travel app, instead of taking the more traditional route. You’ll get a bit of exercise, experience the weather and atmosphere of the city, and maybe see some things up close that a bus or other guided tour would skip over. Meanwhile, you can also ask for some locals’ recommendations when you get hungry or want a detour. Their suggestions will often be better than anything a pricey tour guide would come up with!
Skip Expensive Restaurants
Getting hungry in a foreign city means more money that you have to spend. And unfortunately, food can be one of the most expensive parts of any vacation – sometimes costing even than basic lodging! This is especially true if you’re looking at the five-star restaurants or famous chef hot spots that are so commonly recommended at popular destinations. So, instead of sticking to these types of places, try this simple tip: Eat where the locals eat. You’ll get more authentic food, and it won’t cost an arm and a leg to do it. Furthermore, this doesn’t necessarily always mean finding alternative sit-down restaurants. You can also seek out local markets or street food kiosks in safe areas, and often enjoy delicious food for a tiny fraction of what you’d spend at a highly-rated restaurant noted on some travel blog.
Choose Something Besides the Casino
Between entertainment, food and drinks, not to mention the gambling itself (in which the house always wins), the casinos you run into at so many travel destinations are essentially money suckers. So keep in mind, if you feel drawn to such places, that you can typically find other entertainment, and a cheaper spa to visit if you want to relax; you can find aa better dance club elsewhere in the city, and enjoy more affordable, and probably better food elsewhere.
Meanwhile, as for the main attraction – the gaming – it’s less and less worth risking the casinos’ steep odds and various other advantages when there are perfectly good options online that you have more control over. Canada’s sites offer free slots for those who would rather game entirely for free, but even at paid online gambling platforms you can enjoy all the fun and more of a say over how much you spend, and how. Granted, you miss out on the glitz and glam of the real thing, but if you want to save money, skipping the local casino is usually aa good move.
Take In the View for Free
If you want to spend time enjoying the incredible views of the city, don’t get suckered into spending a small fortune on a river cruise or helicopter tour. Things like these can be very expensive for just an hour or so of your time – and you can usually find better views for free, or at least cheaply. Specifically, try finding a lookout or an observation deck somewhere in or on the edge of the city. Lots of popular destinations have sensational viewing decks, offering you what amounts to a bird’s-eye view (not to mention a bit of exercise on the way up!).
“Touristy” spots are the most expensive in any city, or at any destination for that matter. And when you’re new to an area, or simply excited to make the most of your trip, it can be hard to spot the areas you might overspend in. With these tips however, you can not only avoid some common traps and tricks – you can also get int he mindset of sticking to a tight budget and having an even better vacation experience through doing so.