How to stay on an enjoyable budget travel to a long haul destination?
I am a travel addict and I always need to save up for the next big trip. What would be the biggest cost for a long haul holiday? How would I manage to stay on an enjoyable budget travel?
Here I share my top 5 enjoyable travel tips that have enabled me to travel all over the world comfortably. They are totally my personal experiences and preferences.
Tip 1: Book your flight as early as possible but not too early.
The flight ticket – regardless which part of the world you live, the cost for a long haul flight always costs around or over US$500 per passenger.
There can be fluctuations in air ticket prices. Depending on how early you book, the start of the month or end of the month, book in the morning or in the evening. You get a different price.
Never mind, if the destination is where you want to visit, don’t hesitate. Just go ahead and book the ticket and don’t review the price again at a later point. A good time frame for a fair price would be between 12 weeks to 4 weeks ahead of your journey.
Of course, look out for airline sales. British Airways tends to have big travel sales in January post Christmas and in June post the summer sales. One friend of mine joins my trip sometimes and she tends to leave until the last minute and pays at least double the price of what I paid.
Tip 2: Use filters on accommodation bookings, select within your budget range, then book it in advance with free cancellation policies.
Booking.com seems to have many hotels offering a free cancellation policy, this means you can cancel your room as late as the day before your arrival. This adds some flexibility in case things go wrong or you change your mind with your itinerary..
Once you work out your budget, then use the filter on booking.com. There will always be some good and comfortable accommodations that meet your standards within your price range.
I always put a filter or overall rating above at least an 8.0 score, then input the price range with a free cancellation policy. However if you leave the reservation too late, all the good rated ones within the budget will be gone. Therefore you will be left with very limited choices.
Tip 3: Meal plans – 2 meals a day, eat full for breakfast and eat well for late afternoon lunch
I found that if the country’s living standard is expensive, most hotels don’t offer free breakfast. On the contrary, accommodations in those countries where they are less expensive often include breakfast.
I tend to have a really good breakfast in the lodging place, skip lunch then have a nice afternoon dinner at around 5pm. In Spain, it’s called Merienda. So I don’t need to eat again until next morning. Saving the cost of one meal but also to really enjoy one meal.
Tip 4: Travel inland on an overnight bus
Use an overnight bus to save the cost for a night in a hotel. As I grow older, I found this is no longer a preferred option to me personally. But, in some countries, I had some really good overnight bus experiences. They were as comfortable as travelling in business class on the plane. You should seek buses that offer at least 145 degrees reclinable seats to get the best experience.
The best overnight bus experience I had was from Santiago to Pucón in Chile. 13 hours on the bus with a toilet fitted on board. The seat was 180 degrees reclineable, it’s virtually a bed.
Tip 5: Join the local tours – buy it offline at a local tour operator office for a cheaper deal
Nowadays, you can pretty much find and book any local tours online. The advantage of booking online in advance is to secure a spot and for a peace of mind. To stay flexible and a cheaper option is to buy the tour at a local tour operator’s office.
I would normally put the activities of the destination on my itinerary then source for the options when I arrive at the destination. Having said that, it can also be a bit stressful as when you arrive at the unknown place, your first priority is to get to know the place.
You may also be pressed for time, you need to consider that some tours start early morning, so you need to book the night before the departure.
Some countries and destinations would require advanced booking online due to the limited available tickets. Places like Antelope Canyon in the US and Ice Caving in Iceland, as both locations only allow a limited number of people at one time. The pros and cons really depend on what makes you feel more comfortable.
However the majority of tours at the destinations can be booked on the spot.