Wise Holidays: A Guide to Frugal Travel

frugal travel
The imagination of luxury hotels and expensive restaurants often overshadows the simple truth: travelling doesn’t have to empty your wallet. Country Helper, a service specialising in travel advice, proves that a frugal approach allows their clients to not only save money, but also enrich their experience by getting to know the culture and locals. Despite the common perception that saving money means sacrificing comfort, many travellers find a middle ground, for example by using a trip planning map; visit
Country Helper to learn more about the service.

Keeping an eye on expenses when travelling doesn’t mean skimping on the innovations the world has to offer. It’s just a smart approach to budgeting that helps protect your wallet to open doors to more unique and unexpected adventures without breaking the bank. Let’s discuss how this is possible?

  • Budget planning: The start of a smart journey

Budget planning is your financial navigator in the world of travelling. It starts with accounting for unavoidable expenses, from transport, food, lodging, entertainment and communications to souvenirs. Modern travel apps and tools like TravelSpend and Trail Wallet can help you control your spending and avoid overspending. And Country Helper can help you plan your spending based on your chosen themed itinerary: culinary, medical or nature sightseeing. While a strict budget of foreseen expenses can be limiting, there is another item of spending — unforeseen. In the latter case, only flexible contingency planning allows you to look at constraints as opportunities rather than problems.

Listing some of the most unpredictable costs when travelling:

  1. Passport and Visa Fees: Unforeseen costs can arise if you need to get your documents processed urgently.
  2. Vaccinations and medication costs: This is the most often forgotten item of unexpected expenses.
  3. Travel Insurance: This is about optional travel insurance that can cover very likely medical expenses.
  4. Baggage fees: This can come as a surprise to you when you check-in for your flight.
  5. Seat selection fee: You have to pay separately for the best seat in the cabin.
  6. Airport Parking: The cost of long-term parking can be significant.
  7. Roaming and communications: It’s easy to forget about mobile phone rates when abroad, but the bills can be huge.
  8. Currency exchange and bank fees: Using ATMs and credit cards abroad may incur additional costs.
  9. Tourist Tax and Resort Fees: Some cities and hotels charge additional fees to tourists.

Seeking Stamps covers 23 unexpected travel expenses you’ll want to avoid during your trip.  As with improvisation, good preparation is that which is rehearsed in advance. Therefore, so that unexpected expenses do not become a surprise, provide for them in the planning phase and include them in a separate item of travel expenses. Experts recommend setting aside at least 10% of the total bill. A bit of prudence will help you be prepared for such situations as emergencies, natural disasters, flight delays or cancellations due to technical reasons, loss of belongings or change of plans due to family circumstances.

Lifehack: Cultivate planning skills. This will help you find cheaper flights and accommodation. Use various services to track prices and sign up for discount alerts.

2. Transport: Travelling smarter, not more expensive

Choosing transport for a trip is not just a matter of price, it is the art of finding a balance between cost and comfort. But when talking about cost, you may forget the purpose of travelling — it is to move around, and since the movements are long, it is desirable that they be comfortable. When choosing transport, comparing different modes of transport can help you save on cost rather than comfort. Your experience probably already tells you that early booking and special offers can significantly reduce costs. In addition, airfares are often more affordable if you buy a few months before your trip, and train and bus companies offer discounts in the off-season. When planning your travel map, it is advisable to do some preliminary benchmarking two months before your departure date. This will help you find the most attractive transport offers and affordable options. 

Lifehack: For undemanding tourists — use public transport instead of taxis and car hire. Moreover, feel free to explore cities on foot. By saving money on transport, you will be able to get to know the peculiarities of the travelling country better.

3. Housing: Cost savings without loss of comfort

Shelter is the second-biggest expense for travellers after transport. When looking for a place to stay that combines affordability and cosiness, you should not dismiss inexpensive options by assuming they are unsuitable. Apart from the traditional hostels to apartments for travellers, there are many opportunities to save money on overnight accommodation without sacrificing comfort. Your travelling style determines what will be the best choice for you. If you spend a lot of time on the move, a modest hostel bed is fine. But if you’ve come to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one city, to explore its traditions, cuisine and sights, then private accommodation is more suitable. Reviews and ratings serve as a reliable guide in the world of rentals, helping you find great options at a reasonable price. Price comparisons often show that a high price does not always guarantee the right quality.

Here’s a table with the five countries where you can find the most affordable housing:

Side Hotel Private Alternative Peculiarities
Egypt Available Available Couchsurfing Pyramids, resorts
Pakistan Economy Economy Housing exchange Mountains, culture
Bulgaria Inexpensive Inexpensive Hostels Beaches, mountains
Latvia Budget Budget Couchsurfing Mediaeval cities, natural parks
Romania Economical Economical Hostels Castles, history, mountains

There are a variety of accommodation options that best suit different budgets and preferences according to Country Helper, the service that provides mapping information for planning tourist trips. Alternative ways, such as home exchange or accommodation sharing, can help you save a lot of money and also give you the chance to meet some amazing people. Socialising in the comfort of home is especially appreciated by travellers who are keen to share their stories and experiences. Affordable accommodation doesn’t always mean poor quality. Finding good value for money accommodation is realistic if you research offers thoroughly and are open to new approaches. Forbes highlights 15 of the cheapest places to travel in 2024, including Hoi An (Vietnam), Cape Town (South Africa), Tokyo (Japan), and Algarve (Portugal) with estimated daily budgets.

Lifehack: Travelling together. Travel with friends or join a group of travellers. This will help share accommodation and transport costs.

4. Food and fun: Saving money but enjoying yourself

Travelling is accompanied by various difficulties, but tasty food can compensate for them and leave the brightest impressions. In order not to go broke on this expense, it is recommended to avoid tourist restaurants and cafés. Instead, you should try local cuisine in smaller establishments or street markets, where prices are usually more affordable. If you can cook, pop into local markets to buy fresh produce, this allows you to immerse yourself in the culture of the region. For the balance, you can cook simple meals in the apartment or have a picnic during the day and visit a restaurant in the evening. This approach allows you to save money without giving up delicious meals. The main thing is to find the golden mean between budget and quality.

Laifhack: At the end of the day, visit local markets in search of affordable products — you will be able to bargain for the best price. Visit gastro festivals and cookery fairs, you’ll find economical and exotic food options there.

Bottom line

When aspires to travel, you imagine extravagant rooms and luxurious restaurants. However, the essence of travelling is not the luxury of the surroundings, but the richness of the experience. “Wise Holidays: A Guide to Frugal Travel” shows that with a smart approach, you can go on a trip that will not only save you money, but also enrich your experience with cultural immersion and authentic encounters. The trip planning map services can help you choose an itinerary based on your passions. Cities — explore on foot, stay with locals, cook on your own during the day and visit local pubs in the evenings. All of this will ensure you have a variety of experiences that will inspire you for the professional world. The money you save will help you have more of these experiences.


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