Contrary to what a travel guidebook might tell you, traveling does not always have to be expensive. You may frequently have the same experience—or even a better one—by avoiding tourist-oriented activities and traveling independently while on a budget.
Additionally, it is entirely possible to have unforgettable experiences even when you spend less on your travels. Particularly if you’re looking to get an authentic local experience, there is no need to visit pricey tourist attractions.
So, whether you are fresh out of university and legitimately on a tight budget, or you have the funds to spare but don’t want the standard touristy experience, here are some helpful tips on how to travel like a local on a budget.
Shop at the Local Market or Grocery Store
In order to get a true taste of the local way of life while sticking to a fixed travel budget, try shopping at the nearest grocery store or local farmers’ market.
No matter where you end up traveling to, grocery shopping can give you a nice sense of everyday life, along with the added benefit of being much more cost-effective than eating out at restaurants for the entire duration of your stay.
If the local residents frequent the market every day, try doing so yourself. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to wake up a little earlier in order to get the freshest food and the most diverse selection of produce.
If the locals in your area favor grocery stores, then you should also make some time to browse the aisles in search of good deals. Think about furtively sneaking a glance at a local’s shopping cart to see what they’ve chosen for themselves—you might just find a totally new kind of fruit or snack that you’ll fall in love with, for a fraction of the price of dining out or shopping at a major supermarket chain.
Don’t Indulge in Souvenir Shopping
This is an obvious one, but have you ever seen a local spending tons of cash at a souvenir shop? Of course not!
You will spend a lot of money if you end up purchasing gifts for yourself, souvenirs for friends and family, and other items to commemorate your trip. Therefore, avoid buying tourist trinkets altogether and concentrate on what’s most important: traveling.
This is especially true if you’ve decided that you want to write a postcard or buy a fridge magnet in every nation you visit. What starts out as a fun tradition quickly turns into your worst nightmare, particularly if you’re traveling on a budget.
So, save money using these travel hacks and don’t think about returning with an additional suitcase full of presents for your extended family and friends. In all actuality, your friends and family will thank you for it.
Travel During Off-Season
By flying to your preferred location during the off-season, you can save a lot of money on airfare and lodging while essentially having the same experience as you would during the busiest holiday season.
In addition to saving money on flight tickets and accommodation, you can also save up on cab fare and local transportation by either walking, cycling, or purchasing cheap guided tours such as these day tours from London—if you do your research beforehand, you can find such services at much lower prices than you would if you were to schedule them on arrival. If you want something to drink after your walk, this could also be helpful to know the best happy hour specials in New Orleans.
For instance, summer is the ideal time to go hiking in the mountains because it is less crowded than during the winter, when resorts are overfilled with skiers and winter vacationers. Additionally, think about going on a tropical vacation in the spring rather than in the summer if you’re looking for stunning white beaches, as you’ll end up having them almost completely to yourself.
Meet and Talk to Locals
Experience gained first-hand is indispensable. Talking to locals can provide just that: expert insight into the best shops, places to see, eateries to try out, and so much more.
Not only does this help you gain a valuable perspective on the locale, it might even help you pick up some of the language while you’re there—and, oftentimes, a language exchange of sorts might occur, as many people love to either practice their English or whichever language you speak as well, be it Spanish, German, or Japanese!
Therefore, if you’re staying somewhere for longer than a couple of days, try getting to know your neighborhood by talking to the people waiting for their coffee or greeting anyone walking their dog in the morning. Get instructions or suggestions from a helpful stranger on the street by asking for directions and then hitting it off from there.