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We all want to travel and see the world, but doing that when you’re in your twenties and just starting out is financially difficult. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to travel. You just have to travel smart. You might not be able to find a way to see every country on a year-long trip, but with these cheap travel tips, you will be able to mark some places off of your bucket list without draining your savings.
Do Your Research
Research is the key to being prepared for anything, and it’s especially important when it comes to cheap travel. Research the places you want to go and the things you want to do there so you can know in advance how much it’s going to cost you. Look for free activities you can do, like historical places and outdoor activities.
There are certain places, like museums, that are going to cost you a fixed amount and there’s no changing that. You can’t get into the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa for free, unfortunately. But no matter where you go there are going to be some activities and sites that you can see for free. By researching the places you visit you can find out what those activities are and take full advantage of them.
And don’t discount outdoor experiences. Hiking famous trails or heading to natural landmarks (which will only cost you in gas and time) can offer just as much of a magical vacation experience as some expensive show or event.
Compare Prices for Everything
There’s nothing wrong with implementing your grandma’s bargain shopping advice when you are trying your hand at cheap travel. You don’t need to stay in a five-star hotel. You can stay in an equally nice three- or four-star hotel for way less — or even better, you can stay with friends or at an Airbnb. When you’re on a trip, the last place you’ll spend time is the hotel room. Your money will be better spent on experiences than 500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.
Also compare prices for events, restaurants, etc. so you know ahead of time where to go to save the most money. Like all things in life, you’re better off if you’ve prepared ahead of time and made a plan. Otherwise, you could find yourself stepping into the first restaurant you see only to have a $100 check to pay.
If you’re flying to your location, definitely compare the ticket prices on multiple websites. Kayak is a great place to start looking for affordable airfare, and there are certain days that are cheaper to fly. If you can make it work, try to fly on a weekday like Wednesday or Thursday for a cheaper ticket.
Or Skip the Plane Altogether
Train rides are underrated, but they are such an affordable and fun way to see the country. Yes, they take longer, but you get to see multiple states in a new way and if you need to do some work while you travel it gives you the opportunity to do that. If you can’t afford a plane ticket, but you don’t want to drive a long distance by yourself, then look into train rides for a cheap travel option. They allow you to relax since you don’t have to worry about directions or speed limits, and you can truly soak in the scenery you’re passing through.
Trains are a huge method of transportation in Europe, and for good reason. They’re an affordable and convenient way to get around a country and from one country to another. If you’re planning a trip through Europe, then make sure that train rides are your main method of transportation. And don’t forget to take the local public transportation instead of taxis when getting around a city. It’s significantly more affordable.
Travel with Friends and Split the Cost
Traveling with someone is always more fun than traveling alone. It won’t make your plane tickets cheaper, but if you have a friend or two with you then you can split the cost of taxis, food, and rooms. A cross country road trip is way more affordable when you’re splitting the gas with a friend (or two or three).
You’ll be glad you have friends with you for several reasons, like safety in numbers and better memories, but your wallet will certainly be grateful for the help.
Don’t Spend Money on Useless Trinkets
Mementos might seem like a good way to remember the trip, but your memories aren’t going to diminish without that little statue thing. Take pictures instead on the phone you already pay for. You can cheaply print out your favorite photos when you get home and put them up on the walls.
You don’t need a shirt that says “I <3 NY” to remember your trip. And you definitely don’t need some expensive purse from the New York Saks Fifth Avenue. Stick to the photos and spend that money on experiences instead.