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5 tips to travel smart & cheap

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Budget is often the number one thing that keeps us from jetting off on a trip – but whilst travelling can indeed be expensive, if you plan ahead it can turn out to be much cheaper than you’d expect.

Of course if you want to enjoy serious luxury and not have to plan anything out, prices can climb quickly. However, with a little anticipation, preparation and a few good tips, it is possible to considerably reduce your travel budget. Here’s how.

1. Book your flight well in advance using a price comparison website

Depending on where you’re going, your flights and accommodation are probably going to be what cost you the most, and although low cost airline companies have entered the scene, they probably still won’t be able to fly you across the world.

The perk of flights tickets and accommodation being so expensive, though, is that they are also on what you can save on the most. Book your ticket several months in advance and use price comparison websites such as Skyscanner to compare prices on flexible dates. Being flexible about when you can go will almost always bring up the best prices.

Airlines also offer good discounts throughout the year and more specifically in January and September, once the high season has ended.

Collaborative comparison websites such as Darjeelin can also be used. Imagine an internet platform that allows you to outsource your ticket search to a worldwide community of experts,competing to find the best prices. These experts are called ‘flight hackers’ and are capable of finding the best rates, while you spend your precious time organising the rest of your trip. The service is pay-to-use, but can help you save several hundred pounds on a flight.

2. Eat on the street and in small local restaurants

Although it doesn’t seem that expensive at the time, adding up restaurant bills can seriously damage your budget.

The first option we recommend is to eat in the street… Indeed, in many countries across the world, it’s usually in the streets that you will eat the best food at the lowest price. In Asia for example, the streets are filled with food stands side by side, and open spaces where varieties of food are prepared and cooked. Grab a plate, a plastic chair and enjoy your meal. Eating on a stand like this can cost less than £1, and is a great way to really discover the local cuisine.

In countries that don’t have street food, favour restaurants that serve local food as they are often much cheaper than restaurants with an international menu.

3. Hitch a ride or carshare

Going from one place to another is often what costs the most in a globetrotter’s life. But paradoxically, if you play it right it can also be what costs the least.

Have you heard about carsharing? Websites such as Blablacar offer this service. The concept is simple: bringing people with cars and leftover seats into contact with people who don’t have a car but are looking for a way to travel rather than by train, or who are simply looking for someone to travel with. It’s a win-win situation. The driver sets a price for the ride, which will pay for part of the expenses, and the passenger enjoys low-cost transport.

And of course, you can always… hitchhike! This way of getting around is as old as the hills, requires patience and giving up on comfort, but offers interesting encounters and a free ride. Remember to stay safe, though.

4. Work voluntarily in exchange for food and shelter

Just take a quick look at the lists on HelpX.net and your bag will be ready within the minute. If you’re willing to work a couple hours per day in exchange for a room with board and maybe even a little cash, there are no more limits to where you can stay. You can also look into WWOOF.org, a website that specialises in work on farms, or Workaway.

5. Nightswapping, the new accommodation tip to travel cheap

Half way between standard home exchange and B&Bs, night-swapping is a new service allowing members to trade nights and save a considerable amount on their next holidays. The idea is simple: all you have to do is list your home on the website and have someone stay over at your place, whether you are there or not. Say that person stays three nights; you now have three nights to spend at someone else’s, whenever you want. It is a great way to bring your travel budget down and meet new and interesting people. The more you host, the more nights you can spend travelling the world. For more information on night-swapping, visit www.cosmopolithome.com




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