With the number of sunny days increasing, the temperatures rising and the traveling restrictions lifting, it gets harder to contain our urge to get out there and rediscover the world. Daydreaming of the beautiful places to go to is easy, but it’s actually easier said than done.
There are two types of world discoverers: the ones that will plan one big annual trip, and the ones that will plan 3-10 trips throughout one year. Each of these traveling ways is valid to discover the world but they entirely depend on personal taste, lifestyle, cash flow and availability.
While the annual traveler focuses on planning a 2-3 weeks trip to discover every inch of a country and its culture; the frequent travelers focus on planning short but meaningful experiences that will allow them to discover different parts of the world throughout the year. The main difference between these travelers is, the way they manage their time and money.
Throughout this article, I’ll refer to the type of travelers I identify more with, the frequent travelers. If you are looking to become one of these travelers there are some things to keep in mind. The first thing to highlight is that they travel on a budget, but being on a budget doesn’t mean you will be making all the cheap choices, it means that you will need to plan ahead to make all the right choices for your pocket, while still enhancing the best possible experience. Treating most trips as if they were budget will help you save resources that can open the possibility to plan one more adventure. In the next paragraphs, you will find a firm start to planning your next trip as a frequent traveler.
Do the research
Your destination, traveling companions and personal skills will dictate the best way to navigate a new country. While opting for a guided tour may be the best and easiest choice when you do not know the language spoken at your destination, when you are traveling by yourself, or when the country is not considered very tourist-friendly, it may not always be the most budget-friendly choice. It is important that you make thorough research before choosing to book a guided tour. Read blogs, compare transportation prices, make sure of what is covered in the tour and find out the actual entrance price of the attractions included. Doing the research may help you realize that renting a car or taking the train and just heading towards the places you are interested in, maybe cheaper and more efficient. Opting for a self-guided tour may not always be the safest and cheapest way to travel, but as a rule of thumb, researching will give you a head start on how to approach each individual country.
Write a schedule and prioritise
Frequent traveling implies doing short and efficient trips, so making a list of negotiables and non negotiables may come in handy. Prioritize the time and resources you will spend on each place. Some of the attractions on your agenda may require more time than others, do not lose precious time on places you didn’t even want to see that much. Making a list of priorities can help you establish a visiting order, as well as optimize the time spent at each stop. Consider leaving some extra time in your schedule in case there is a setback. No matter what happens during the day you can always be sure that your top picks were covered.
Travel during low season
The high seasons are overrated and crowded. The weather may be ideal during these periods of time, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of the year you can’t find beautiful conditions as well. Good weather is important, but it’s not always crucial. Unless you are traveling to specific destinations to see particular things, like heading to Iceland to see the northern lights or to Italy to attend the carnivals, then precise dates are not important. Instead, if there is nothing specific tightening you up to a particular date, simply monitor regularly the weather conditions, transportation and accommodation prices, this will help you define your traveling dates.
How to get there?
From Haarlem, you can choose to travel by plane, train, car, or bus, whichever you go for just make sure to pick wisely. Taking the bus may be cheaper, but it can also be the most time-consuming choice. Budget traveling is not only about the price, it’s also about the quality of the experience.
The objective is not only to get there but to arrive in the best possible way and to make the best out of your time. Each of the previously mentioned means of transportation holds some hidden prices, like gas, possible tollbooths, additional transportation costs to the city center, etc., consider all of them before booking your next trip. Nowadays there are diverse mobile apps and web pages that can help you compare train, bus and plane prices. Another useful tip is to set an alarm for flight prices drops and to patiently wait to obtain the best possible fare. Remember to plan in advance, but make sure to book your tickets before the Cookies catch you.
Plan meals ahead
Eating is vital to stay energetic throughout the trip, and planning your meals can significantly impact your expenses. Local food is part of the cultural experience of every traveler. While budget meals at international chains can help you get the hunger out of your way, there is nothing better than finding nice local spots, generally cheaper than popular touristic restaurants, where you can enjoy culture in one bite. Make a list of places where you can find good, affordable, local food and don’t lose precious time and money improvising cheap treats along the way.
Traveling confronts you with different cultures and practices, so there is no one general rule on how to travel. It can be a tough task for those who are willing to discover the world, but following this simple advice can help you make the best out of your budget trips regardless of your destination. Coming back home needing a vacation from your vacation, is a good sign that you managed to make the best out of it.
All the pictures in this article are taken by Angeles Mercado during her travels.