As Christmas season approaches, holiday prices skyrocket, and those of us who have an undying urge to travel and get away for the winter are left in, well, crap. For my fellow budget travellers who sacrifice luxury in order for longer, cooler trips on a regular basis, these holidays can be pretty tricky to work around. Do you not go on a sojourn to India, or do you not eat for a week? Priorities, priorities. However, with this handy little guide, you should be able to flourish away from your home country on a budget, even if only for a weekend. Happy holidays!
Flights (or not, whatever rocks your boat)
First things first, you need to actually be able to get to the country you want to travel to. Whilst you might automatically look up flights to get to your destination, there are many viable options for travel, such as taking a coach. Coach companies such as Megabus (who I often use to travel cross-country, primarily to Wales) offer journeys for as low as $1.50, with a little stop halfway through for food and drinks if the journey is long enough. Whilst it may take twice as long to arrive at your destination, you can save an abundance of dollars which you can then spend on fun excursions out, and you also get some quality you-time, which I always adore. However, if spending hours alone with yourself or a pal on a coach sounds horrible, why not travel through the night? And bam, suddenly you don't even need a hotel.
If you are a bit more traditional in your sojourns and really really want to travel via aeroplane, I recommend the super incredible website Skyscanner, where you don't have to do anything other than enter in some basics of what you want, and then the search engine finds the cheapest options out of like FIFTY different airlines in order to make sure you get an insane price. If you're not too fussed about dates or even the destination, change the filter to suit and suddenly, you can fly to the centre of Paris for $20 return. It's mad. I h-i-g-h-l-y recommend.
If you're a budget traveller, the first thing people tend to recommend is always hostels. But why should you sacrifice quality for price? Why would you want to share a room with 13 other kids when you can have a luxury room with an en suite (as much as meeting random travellers with incredible stories is great)? I tend to head straight over to Booking.com to find the cheapest hotels, as if you add a few filters and aren't particularly picky about the exact location you can get some really great deals. I once found a three night trip to Amsterdam for four people for like $50, and needless to say, everyone I knew was pretty impressed (do you blame them?). However, if you're a bit more adventurous, going for a homestay or even just couchsurfing might be an option - with the latter you can literally stay somewhere for as long as you want for free, just so long as you're willing to stay with complete strangers on their sofa.
Excursions - blank those people who offer "the best deals" on the street, because I can tell you now that the prices are upped by at least 40% so that they can make a decent profit. Instead, I find that asking the woman at the hotel front desk (they're there to help, know their stuff, and also won't be making extra money from recommending a company they genuinely believe in) what's best and budget always works - unless she ends up trying to plug her brother's boat business. Also, look out for little deals like half price Fridays or free rush hour trips to museums and the like, as these can offer pretty cool experiences for little to no cost.
Food - like I always say, eat where the locals eat! Scrap the place that offers food for homesick holidaymakers, and go for the one with the queue full of tanned locals, as I can bet it'd not only bet oh so much better, but it'll also be a fair bit cheaper, too.
Transfers - ignore the transfers offered when you book your tickets abroad as again, they're out there for the profit. Instead, sites such as Travel Supermarket and Skyscanner are pretty reliable sources for cheap transfers, along with local comparison sites suited to your destination. Also, hey, I hear bunging a $20 to a boat captain could also get you a cheap transfer (but having never done so, don't blame me if it's not an actual thing people do).
If you've listened to my advice and followed my small guide to getting the main parts of your trip at a budget price, then you should easily be able to tailor it for primarily a weekend away (tends to be cheaper than a month or whatnot for obvious reasons), but also long-haul trips. I was, ever so sadly, unable to travel abroad this month (may have been because I recently bought two holidays, with another two booked already, but hey, who knows), and so I thought that I might as well help y'all who are able to - even though I'm insanely jealous that you get to travel. Let me know what you think, and as always,
Have a good month y'all!