First I want to tell you that there is no miracle recipe. First of all, it comes down to goodwill. Set a goal and put things in place to achieve it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not very difficult. I have a passion for travel that burns in me, which makes the few daily concessions much less painful. Beyond goodwill, there are still a few little tips and tricks that allow you to leave regularly, without breaking the bank and without compromising the budget allocated to daily well-being and monetary investments.
Pick up your pennies
The envelope system is very encouraging, because we see concretely the sub increase over the weeks. According to my own capacity, I slip in $30 per week as an amount allocated for travel. This allows me to cover all or part of the price of my plane tickets. With this technique, I usually go twice a year.
Decrease the cost of outings per week
We all like to spoil ourselves on a daily basis and it’s very healthy to do so too. You should not deprive yourself completely to travel, otherwise the months can become very long. But reducing the number of outputs is possible. Prioritize good and affordable restaurants over fancy restaurants. Go to the cinema on the day when the cost of admission is reduced. Promote camping rather than big hotels or hostels when going out.
Keep your tax return, GST and solidarity credit
Applicable for those who receive a cash return on annual tax returns. When I was a student, it was thanks to my tax return that I could afford to fly regularly. For Quebecers who also receive the GST and the solidarity credit and who can afford to keep it in whole or in part, this is an amount that can quickly become interesting.
The choice of destination and the time of departure are important factors. (See my full article on How to choose your destination ) They can make a huge difference in whether or not you have the chance to go. My current budget allows me to go to destinations where the cost of living is cheap. These places which it is possible to get by on a small budget are mainly in Asia, South and Central America and Eastern Europe. Your daily budget in the country will also define how much time you can spend there. The lower the cost, the longer you can travel there. If your vacation time allows it of course.
Be flexible and open for destinations and dates
Having a specific destination and date leaving you little latitude can have a huge impact on your budget. I suggest you use the Google flights site with the map option to find a destination that matches your budget and interests. Depending on your flexibility, it is possible to make great discoveries.
Travel out of season
For each destination, there are always lower seasons when the price of airfare and accommodation drops. Look on forums, blogs, or travel guides for these less influential times. You will benefit from off-season rates and you will have the possibility to further negotiate the price of your accommodation. In addition, you will avoid the horde of tourists which is sometimes overwhelming depending on the destination.
When doing your research, also look at departures from smaller airports outside of your city. In Europe, most Low Cost airlines such as RyanAir depart from smaller airports that are often further away. If you are from the Montreal area, like me, consider the possibility of a departure from Plattsburgh or Burlington in the United States. Not far from Montreal, they sometimes allow you to find great bargains.
Subscribe to credit or loyalty cards that can give you points or bonus dollars that will be used to pay for your plane tickets or to have a refund on the purchase of your flights. I use the Visa Desjardins Or Modulo credit card, which allows me to earn bonus dollars on each of my purchases. In this way, every 6 months I have between 100 and 150$ that I use for my flights.
If you have the courage to leave in complete autonomy, I strongly recommend this type of experience. I always travel like this and not doing business with an organized group or an agency allows me to save a lot of money. This is how my slim weekly spending budget of $200-250 during the trip allows me to travel so often.
Do not book in advance
In many situations, not booking your accommodation in advance allows you to save a lot of money (except perhaps the first night of your arrival). See once there. In this way you will benefit from the real prices, you will be able to negotiate them more and you will even be able to find quite charming and affordable places that were not listed on any website or travel guide.
For excursions, the advice remains the same. Ideally go visit the places on your own if possible or take a tour with a local agency. In addition to having access to better rates, you can also compare them and negotiate a group amount by joining other travelers.