It’s no secret that you need money for travelling. That’s probably obvious to everyone. But even if you aren’t one of the super-rich, you can do the one or other dream trip. Most people forget this.
I am often asked how I finance my travels. And my answer is always the same: I work alongside my studies. But therein is the real contradiction for most workaholics. Because with my seemingly small merit I travel around the world. And they hunger for their annual vacation to go to the Caribbean Sea for one week. All inclusive of course. However,
that is the difference. I don’t know all inclusive trips. Even first-class flights and five-star hotels are alien to me. I avoid such luxury in favour of a borderless travel adventure. Over time, I’ve acquired some strategies how I can fulfil my dream trips despite small money:
There’s nothing like flexibility
Going on a trip doesn’t mean to me that I fly on a specific date or to a specific location. Rather, I am influenced by the air fares. There are umpteen travel search engines on the internet that boast of the best prices. Strategically great, but this is a total deception for the consumers who are confused by the mayhem of offers. Potential costumers are even enticed with last minute deals. But I can’t absolutely recommend last minute. Here is an example why: Usually, you pay for a cheap one -way-flight to Rio de Janeiro about 350 Euros. A last minute flight – which is advertised as a snap – can cost around 1,000 Euros. Therefore, it is worthwhile to book earlier by tendency.
I don’t rely on popular travel portals such as Opodoo or Expedia for doing a flight search. I prefer to rummage in the websites of the airlines. Because here you can plan your individual journey – and often discover great deals. Likewise, you should watch out for a “local” airline. TAP Portugal for example offers cheap flights from Germany to Brazil with a stopover in Portugal. It figures. Because there are more than hundred flights daily from the Iberian peninsula to South America. Ditto for a flight to India. Heathrow Airport is the perfect airport of departure. And you can even spend a few days in the English capital, if there is no direct connection flight.
Direct connecting flights are in principle quite popular for air travellers and also quite expensive. So you should consider if you do a brief vacation at the place of stopover and continue your travel a few days later, when the prices are reasonable. Or you sleep a night at the airport. A situation which I have already experienced and briefly explained in my article “The Pantanal – The Arrival”. The lesson is clear: That’s no option for me.
Well, to all potential holiday bargain hunters: Comparing prices, doing stopovers, being flexible and doing a good research can save your low-budget adventure – and make your dream holiday possible.
Good financial planning
Because I know that I like to travel a lot and my account balance doesn’t always look good, I save money in other areas. Overpriced spontaneous shopping trips are a huge exception for me. And afterwards I have a guilty conscience about it. You don’t need to buy the most expensive jeans or any in-product. Even if my next travel destination isn’t planned yet, I save money in advance. Financial security should never be underestimated.
When choosing my holiday accommodation it is the same: It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one. The main thing is that I have a place for the night and the hotel is quite centrally located. Friends have already recommended me couch surfing. Somehow this accommodation concept is too risky for me, because I usually travel in exotic countries with a relatively high crime rate, also against women. In India, I don’t know if you could even travel as a couch surfer through the country. Also sleeping in a tent isn’t very recommended – because of potential muggings. But who isn’t scared of cockroaches and also has no problem with rather low standards of hygiene, can easily find a very cheap hotel in India. Because the prices are unbeatable low. And who says that a shabby, small multi-bed room close to a main road in New Delhi can’t be the beginning of a wonderful adventure?
Travelling with the crowd
Summertime is the season for all passionate travellers – and also the time of profiteering. The tour operators sniff their chances to get big money from the tourists. Hotel rooms are suddenly twice expensive and airfares rise rapidly. Therefore I travel preferably in the off-season – and then to my dream destinations in the south. Because in the southern hemisphere there is summer when it is winter in Germany. And at the equator, the season doesn’t matter anyway. So I can go on vacation totally relaxed and at extremely cheap rates in the colder months.
Likewise I avoid typical tourist strongholds or sightseeing tours. This has also personal reasons: I prefer getting to know real citizens than the next architectural masterpiece. Of course, I am not afraid of visiting tourist spots, such as the Taj Mahal in India, but it is not essential for me. Rather, the slums, remote settlements and the jungle catch my attention. This is also an advantage in price, because the tickets for tourist spots and bus tours are often grossly overpriced. It can be even better to discover the new place by feet – without traffic jams. Or you have to change to transportation, which is used by the locals. But keep your eyes open: Tourists are often pulled over the barrel. I avoid this by informing myself previously, in forums or with the help of (known) locals.