When you travel, you want to make the most of your time in the country or region you are visiting, while at the same time stay within budget.
Sometimes, say if you’re visiting India for example, it means you decide to take a night bus from Trichy to Chennai, so you can save on a hotel night for example, and still get a full day at your destination.
Other times, you will take a flight from Pune to Goa so you can avoid spending 16 hours in the bus and actually reach your final goal within an hour or so.
In most countries these days, you can book transportation between major cities online. Even the buses. Many companies offer an early bird rate, and by booking online, you are securing your spot and saving time once on holiday. The last thing you want is to spend your precious days looking for a travel agent, or the bus station, to find out there is a festival you didn’t know about and all the buses are booked for days!
The same goes for accommodation, even if you could probably find a tiny guest house in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t have an online presence, and may offer lower rates, having your place booked in advance usually guarantees great rates and the best inventory in town.
Another way to save money before you organize your trip is to google the few destinations you would like to visit, and look for free days for museums and local attractions. Some, like the US national parks, will have a few free days per year, while some museums in Barcelona are free every Sunday. If you can organize your itinerary in a way that allows you to hit the towns you want to visit on free museum days, you can save a lot of money.
Some offer local discounts, so you can ask your hostel or accommodation if they have a local resident card for guests to use. Many counties in the US offer free visits through a library card, and you can borrow a pass for state parks too. They only require that you have a local address, which you can give the one of your Bed and Breakfast.
And last but not least, a great way to save money while you travel is trying to find the best exchange rate for your money. Some credit cards will not charge you a fee when you make a purchase abroad. But they will charge you for the cash, so it is always safe to have a few dollar bills on hand. Not too much though, you want to avoid temptation. If you travel long term, having a few travelers checks can help, although these days you can easily receive a money transfer from your family through the internet.
Some foreign exchange companies will buy back your unused cash when you come back, at the same rate. That is useful if you were able to use your credit card most of the time.
In conclusion, while saving money while traveling is important, remember that experiences are priceless. So if you see something you really want to do, eat or try, go for it and save before you travel!
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