When Traveling is Your Dream but Paying for it is Your Nightmare

We’ve probably all got a travel bucket list. It’s a treasure trove of faraway places that we yearn to explore that exists in our dreams. Yet, when those dreams collide with reality, one thing is likely to get in the way – the murky-but-unavoidable specter of money. So how can you afford to check off that list? Here are some ways to save on travel that might not be as obvious as you think.


Check Out These Ways to Save on Travel


Yet you don’t just have to accept that your dreams are unaffordable. There are ways to save on travel – and they’re not complicated calculations that require you to know how to trade forex or make high risk investments. With a little bit of smart thinking and the right approach, those dreams needn’t seem so distant.


Here’s what you need to consider:


Flexible is Cheaper


If you have your heart set on anything in life, then you have to be prepared to pay a premium. Go grocery shopping for your favorite brand or clothes shopping for one pair of shoes and you’ll have little choice but to pay the going rate. Yet open your eyes to alternatives and you can hunt for a bargain instead. That’s even more true for travel. Being flexible about where you fly from, what date you travel and where you stay can make a huge difference and it’s one of the best ways to save on travel. If flying in the middle of the night or traveling on a Sunday cuts the cost dramatically then it’s worth it, right? There are budget flight tricks worth looking into as well if you really want to get next level on your ways to save on travel.


travel nurse, ways to save on travel


Take advantage of Free Stuff


You don’t have to pay for everything while you’re on your travels. Indeed, some of the best attractions are completely free. Consider New York City, for example. Yes, the Big Apple is expensive but even here you can put your money away and soak in some sights without paying. Walk through Central Park, take in the Manhattan skyline on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and sail past the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry all without incurring a cost. In many big cities, you’ll be able to access world class museums for free. This might mean going at certain days or times (but you’re flexible right?) or if you’re in London you can get into the British Museum and Natural History Museum – two of the world’s premier attractions – without paying a penny.


Walk this Way


Speaking of which, one thing that you’ll find on your travels is that public transport can be really expensive. Vow to walk around as much as possible and you’ll definitely find this to be one of the best ways to save on travel. Not only that but wandering around a location is a great way to explore it properly and you’ll often stumble into great attractions that you might have otherwise missed stuck in a bus or subway.


Understand the Cost of the World


You need to properly understand what the cost of your adventure will be. A fully-costed budget can really help – and will ensure you don’t get carried away and blow all of your travel money on something fun on day one. The trouble is, you need to appreciate that things can cost vastly different amounts in different countries. Research from IG, for example, demonstrates how the cost of a cup of coffee, a meal for two and a litre of petrol vary in ten different countries. Doing more detailed research will allow you to be more accurate when it comes to the amount of money you’ll need and you’ll be able to appreciate the true cost you’re likely to incur so there are no surprises.


Here is a fine infographic to give you some insight into what things cost around the world:


the cost of the world




You can easily end up spending a lot of money on hotels – but cutting back here is an easy way to free up cash for the exciting things on your holiday itinerary. There are so many alternatives to consider here – from hostels to couch surfing and camping (there are more examples outlined here). This may well depend on where you are going and what you’re comfortable with – not everyone loves camping after all – but the important thing to remember is that you can cut down the cost of your stay (even if just for a few nights) by looking beyond hotels.


Food Glorious Food


You’re going to need to eat while you’re away – and you’re also going to want to sample the local delicacies. That doesn’t, however, mean you have to pay for a Michelin-starred restaurant meal every night. Indeed, a lot of the time the locals will be savvy enough to get their food from cheaper, lesser-known outlets. Talk to people on your travels and be prepared to venture away from tourist traps, where you’ll pay inflated amounts for your food. It’s also worth considering going shopping and buying snacks that you can take with you so that you don’t need to stop off for things like sandwiches and snacks during the day as these can be comparatively expensive. There’s really no need to pay a lot for bottled water, for example. Finally, look around for restaurants that have happy hour menus. Quite often you can get a great deal just by going for your main meal an hour or two earlier in the day (yep, it’s that flexibility point again).


By focussing a little time and effort on the fine details, you’ll be able to clear more of your budget to ensure that you can turn your travel dreams into a reality. Pay attention to the best ways to save on travel and you might be crossing off items from your bucket list before you know it.

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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