Travel is one of the best experiences that any of us can have, which is why everyone should strive to visit at least one place on their bucket list in their lifetime. Rather than relying on expensive tours or cruises, however, go off the beaten track and plan out your own itinerary. Not only will you be able to plan a trip that is perfect for you, but you will also save a lot of money and be able to travel on your budget, whatever that budget may be.
Just like saving up for a car or a new house, travel is all about how much effort you put into it. While not many people can drop everything and go off on a trip abroad at the drop of a hat, many can put ten or twenty dollars away a month. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to save, after all, because the place you want to go to will always be there. Saving up and planning your trip can be just as valuable as actually going and can help you stay motivated throughout the year.
Picking Your Destination
The first step to planning any journey is to pick a destination. Now, while some destinations might seem obvious, like travelling to New York City, London, or Paris, you would be surprised at how many alternative destinations there are that will give you the same thrills at a much lower price. Go away from the capitals and your money will go much further, meaning you will be able to have all the experiences that you want.
If these kinds of capitals are a must on your list, don’t worry. You can still save up and go on any trip you want, and you can even go through those expensive cities on a budget, you just have to have the more local knowledge to make your money go further. Before you settle on a decision, however, be open to your destinations. There are many exciting things to see in Branson, MO for instance. The more unknown the destination, the more authentic your experience will be.
Finding Things to Do
Once you have your destination, it’s time to find things to do. There are many ways you can do this. Googling the top sights in any given destination will give you the most famous locations, but these locations aren’t what you should aim to see if you want to have a great trip. Instead, try reading travel blogs and looking on social media.
Travel blogs are always a great resource to make use of. Not only will they go through the more intimate details of the trip, from where to go to local customs you need to be aware of, but they are also much more useful when it comes to creating a budget. The more local the blogger, the better. A similar avenue to take is to find local magazines and travel websites that share articles on the events and things to go within the city you are going to. That way you can be in the know as to what’s on when you’re there. If your trip isn’t for a long time, you can like their pages on social media and get a daily dose of inspiration every time you look at your feed.
The other way to find great places to go to (aesthetically speaking) is through social media searches. Use apps like Instagram or Snapchat to do a local search. Instagram is more useful for permanent posts, whereas Snapchat is useful for finding what happened the night before. Search for the destination you are going to, and then save the posts that contain the location information of somewhere you want to visit. On Instagram, this is easy – hit the bookmark button. If you are planning a multiple-stop trip, categorize these posts by creating new folders per destination.
Creating a Master List
Finding things to do and places to eat is one thing, but you don’t want to plan your every step when you are abroad – especially if you are going with people. Instead, save everything you find that you wouldn’t mind seeing on Google Maps or other great travel apps. You can save this map to use offline so that you can find your saved spots regardless of whether you have service or not.
The benefit of doing this is that, though there will always be your “must-sees” on a trip, you shouldn’t try to over-plan. Knowing where to go and the good options that are nearby, however, can help you have a great, semi-spontaneous trip. It also leaves you open so that if you find an awesome, hole-in-the-wall bar that you didn’t see during your searches, you can go there instead no problem.
How to Budget for Your Trip
Once you know what you want to do and where you want to go (roughly) it’s time to figure out your budget. You can either use travel bloggers as a guideline, or you can work out the estimate costs yourself. Some costs, of course, will be more stable. These being your transportation costs and your accommodation costs.
You can save money on flights by using a price comparison app that allows you to see the price fluctuations per day. You’d be surprised at how much you can save, for instance, by flying out on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. As for accommodation knowing your options can help you save a lot of money, while also improving the overall quality of your trip. You could stay at a hostel, a hotel, motel, or perhaps an Airbnb. What you choose will depend on your budget and your level of comfort. Once you know how much you need to save, it’s all about putting a consistent amount of money away until you are ready to set off!
Once you are there, you will want to have fun, which means focus on the things that you want to do. If you go with a group, this could mean breaking up briefly so that you can all do what you want. The point is to be open to changing your schedule and to doing something on your own. So long as you have fun and are safe, you will have the trip of a lifetime.