Traveling can be an equal parts exciting, enlightening, and unfortunately, expensive adventure. Tourist destinations are designed to attract visitors and their funds with travel accommodations that mirror the comforts of home, delicious local cuisines that tantalize the taste buds, and luxurious hotel suites that balconies that overlook the most beautiful and exotic landscapes that eyes have ever seen. While such an experience is desirable, it may mean choosing between the best vacation ever and your children’s education. Seeing, feeling, and tasting what the world has to offer isn’t cheap, but there are ways to lighten the financial burden that so often is a major factor in the enjoyability of a trip.
When the Time is Right
Location! Location! Location! That is the layman’s business credo, but when it comes to traveling, you want to go where you want to go, so the more applicable mantra for vacationing would: Timing! Timing! Timing! Every tourist destination has its peak season(s), and it is best for your wallet to avoid these. For example, according to Forbes.com contributor Laura Begley, it is easier on the piggy bank to visit Rome in the winter “when sites like the Colosseum and Vatican are less busy and hotel inventory is at [its]highest. Many five and four-star properties offer incredible deals during the low season.”
Many people who live in ideal “Christmas Cities” across the midwest and upper east coast like to get away from the cold and snow, and this makes southern Florida a prime destination for many “snow birds”. According to USA Today contributor, Cari Oleskewicz, the best time to hit Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and South Beach is during the summer when the mercury threatens to bust through the thermometer. If you can stand the heat, then southern Florida is never devoid of activities and attractions.
Even on a budget, it is still possible to enjoy the cities and countries that have always teased your eyes and occupied your imagination. While where you go is very much a deciding factor in the overall cost of your trip, when you go is a major factor in the sum total, as well. So, you can visit your “location, location, location”, but timing is the key.
Share and Share Alike
The share economy has given ordinary citizens the freedom and ability to generate income for themselves, and it is revolutionizing the way people travel and lodge globally. Bed and breakfasts are not a new invention by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is hailing a ride with a complete stranger. However, old saying that “Computers are the wave of the future!” has come to fruition, and is to the definite advantage of the consumer.
Airbnb and Uber are two person to person businesses that have sprang up from the booms of technology and social media. No matter where in the world you go, it will be cheaper to catch Uber than taxiing through the city and renting a car. Airbnb is not only usually more cost efficient than lodging in a top-rated hotel, but it gives you a chance to live with and like the locals. Both incarnations of travel in the share economy offer the consumer an opportunity to experience their destination in away that sticking to the main tourist routes won’t.
There’s an old adage that goes: “Proper preparation prevents poor performance”. Lets stick with five P’s, but make them more appropriate for frugal travel: “Proper preparation produces prudent purchasing”. Travel fares are lower the more in advance reservations are made, and the same is true for lodging. And, while this may be counterculture to the typical tourist experience, it is wise to make a shopping list of what souvenirs to buy. Just like taking a shopping list to Wal-Mart helps to prevent unwanted spending, the same is so of traveling abroad.
If you’ve been wanting to get out and see the sites, hear the sounds, and experience an exotic culture, but you’ve been afraid of what it may cost to fund your fun, you can still take that trip. Be watchful when picking your time and place, share and share alike, and plan ahead, and you will be surprised by how much you can save on your trip. So, with that being said, bon voyage!