Longing to travel? You're not alone. According to the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), "International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 4% between January and June 2016 compared to the same period last year."
For many, travel is more than a dream, it's a longing. While reasons for travel vary from wanting to explore the world, meet new people, or unwind, many people who have their eye on an international trip say budget is an obstacle to realizing their dream. With a little creativity, calculated planning, and focusing on must have's, international travel can be readily available to many. Let's take a look at the ultimate way to travel on a budget.
1) Pick a country with a weaker currency than where you live. My husband and I have visited 11 countries in the past 2 years. Some were far less expensive to travel in, while others had us scrambling out quickly. (We still love you Switzerland!) Central America's Belize dollar is currently $2 to $1 U.S. dollar, giving tourists twice the buying power. If you're willing to be even more adventurous, $1 U.S. dollar is equivalent to 152.21 Sri Lankan Rupees.
2) Buy tickets in advance. If you are looking to score than trip to Central or South America, prices will be most competitive between 1 to 1 1/2 months out. Travelers can find deals on flights to Europe around 4 months out, while Asia's sweet deals are 4-6 months out.
3) Best Day to Buy. Best Day to Fly. The best days to buy flights are late Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As the week goes on, prices increase with your most expensive options usually appearing on Fridays and Saturdays.
Just like the best day to buy a ticket, travelers will find the best deals when departing and returning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. While some trends show that Thursdays and Saturdays are also optimal, mid-week is still the best bet.
4) It's all about the best deal. Sign up for airline and travel site promotions. If you are serious about travel, having these emails plump up your inbox is not an annoyance, it's divine intervention. Aside from relying on eblasts, when you have your location pegged, keep on the look out for which travel site has the best deal. (See above shopping dates.) More times than not travel sites have better deals than the airlines themselves. Here are a few to get you started:
5) Trade in the hotel for a hostel. While many countries offer great deals on guesthouses, hostels are where it's at for budget travelers. While a hotel in Frankfurt averages 107.07 Euros a night according to Statista, we stayed a hostel this past Spring for 70 Euros which included free breakfast and dinner. In third world countries, we made a game out of finding hostels for around $10-15 a night (which was very easy). Hostels are a great way to meet other travelers across the world, and provide you with an even more rich experience.
6) Become a thrifty traveler. Minimize souvenir purchases, set a food budget for eating out each day or cook your own meals. Find out what your destination's public transit options are. When possible, save money by walking reasonable distances. Get a day pass for subways and buses. Other ways to save? Look for low cost or free attractions. Some European museums and art galleries, like the Louvre, have a free visitor day each month.