In the Northern Hemisphere, most people are gearing up for Summer which arrives within the next few weeks. For some people, that means using vacation time. Everyone has their preferences for how to use vacation time. Some use it to catch up on sleep, some use it for projects around the house, but some use vacation time to travel internationally. People sometimes steer away from international travel due to the cost. This article has tips for how to travel internationally on a budget.
Due to COVID restrictions, check all your international destination's requirements. They will likely include a negative COVID test result, perhaps proof of vaccination, and use of masks. Some international destinations do not have these requirements. Choose a destination that meets your personal needs.
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One of the reasons that many people never travel internationally is the perceived cost. Although traveling internationally may have more up-front costs such as the tickets and any medical costs, depending on where you tend to go on vacation within the US, you might find that international travel is actually comparable as far as price goes. Your destination will determine how much you need to save. Check the exchange rate of your destination's currency to the US dollar. This will give you an idea as to how strong your money will be in that country to give you an idea of pricing. If you save $10 per day, in just over 3 months you will have $1000. In about 6 months you will have $2000 saved. Start making your own coffee, opt for water at restaurants, and bring your own snacks when out and about. Soon you will have all you need to travel internationally for your next vacation!
Choose a Destination for Your Budget
Choosing your destination will determine many parts of your trip. Destination determines budget, travel dates, packing, lodging, and cuisine. Choose a place that fits your budget. Some destinations may be more budget friendly than others due to the exchange rate. Some destinations may also be more economical for you due to your departure location from the US. Depending on the airport you are leaving from, there may be direct flights to certain international destinations. Your destination may also determine your travel dates. Depending on the country you wish to visit, they may have a wet season and a dry season, so you will need to research what dates will be conducive to travel. Weather during travel will also determine what you should pack. The type of cuisine and places for lodging will vary based on which destination you choose.
Choose a Less-Traveled Travel Date
When planning to travel internationally while on a budget, you will need to think strategically when selecting your travel dates. Popular travel dates mean higher prices for flights and lodging. A good strategy for cheaper flights and lodging is choosing non-summer dates both at your destination and in your point of departure. If you are traveling to the Southern Hemisphere, Summer there is Winter in the US. Choose dates that fall either during the US Spring or Autumn. October tends to have better ticket prices for Europe. And the week leading up to Easter usually sees price drops across the globe. During low tourism seasons, lodging prices also drop. Going during the off-season will result in saving much more money while traveling on a budget.
Find Economic Lodging
Depending on how little privacy you need, you could possibly spend ZERO dollars on a place to stay. You read that right! If you are ok with sleeping in someone's living room on their couch, you can delete lodging costs from your budget. There is an app called CouchSurf, where hosts from across the globe offer their couches to travelers free of charge. Staying with a host family in your international destination of choice will save you money on lodging, possibly food, and definitely on entertainment. Host families will know the best and most economic places to eat and visit. They will also be able to teach you about the country's culture. If you really want an authentic experience, couch surfing is the option for you! If you want a little more privacy, you can opt to room share at a hostel. Hostel prices are cheaper than hotels due to not being private rooms. If you want a private room or even a whole house or apartment, you could look into Airbnb or VRBO. Keep an eye out for added fees such as cleaning and others that could push the nightly price above a hotel's. Depending on the country you are going to visit, hotel prices might also be economical as well. Search through all your options and comfort levels to select the best lodging for you.
Consider Traveling Lightly
When traveling internationally, sometimes people can tend to want to be prepared for anything and pack everything but the kitchen sink in the maximum number of bags allowed by their tickets. As helpful as the kitchen sink might be during an international trip, you should consider traveling lightly while traveling internationally. The reasons for this are two-fold. The first is that if you have chosen a flight that charges on a per bag basis, you will be saving money by packing lightly. The second reason to pack lightly is so that you have less to lug around when you arrive at your destination. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to balance too many bags after a sleepless flight to an international destination. If possible, bring a carry-on that maxes out the size requirements to carry everything you need. Doing so will force you to pack less due to size and weight constraints. Only packing a carry-on will also cause you to pack less due to having to take it with you throughout the airport.