Tips For Low Budget Traveling
Although I think that nowadays the internet is full of blogs and other travel related websites sharing tips on cheap flights and various other advice on how to travel cheaply, I keep running into many people asking basically the same questions, and telling me the same excuses for why they can't travel.
Let me share my my personal tips, recommendations and know-how here as well, and thus make your travels easier and cheaper.
Before I give a particular attention to the individual means of transport to help you save the money, let me start from the very bottom. I travel a lot, but I really don't know everything. Neither does Google thought. But thanks to the internet we have lots of other options - helpful tools. Here are the websites I use to find connection/tickets between A and B.
Rome2Rio - this is a website that uses a very good algorithm to help you find connections between two places. It searches for any kind of transport, including buses, trains, carsharing, and even ferries and planes. Like anything in the world, Rome2rio is not perfect, but it words very well, shows you the particular companies and estimated ticket price. I'm sure in majority of cases you will make do with it.
Omio (formerly GoEuro) - based on a pretty much similar principle as Rome2rio, but unlike the previous, Omio allows you to book the tickets directly after you've found your connection
Bus Radar - it works better in terms of comparing prices of the individual transport providers
I know this sentence sounds like a cliché, but it applies to traveling by airplane too. Traveling by airplanes is easier (and cheaper) than before, especially in Europe. The times when flying was something noble are a history. Nowadays, you can travel to many places of all around the world for pretty reasonable prices. If you still haven't found out, let me help you now.
Use flight search engines to find the cheapest flights
The flight search engines - aggregators - are websites using an algorithm that is able to crawl the entire internet, search and check all the booking engines, airline websites and travel agencies to bring you the cheapest possible price of the desired fly ticket, so you don't have to do it manually by yourself. If you learn to use them right, they may really help you save a lot of time and money as well.
There are many other flight search engines on the internet, but I'm pretty sure in most cases you will just make do with those. They are the best anyway.
All over the Internet, you can also run into many websites on which
For the Czech market, you can also check out these:
While the mentioned flight search engines may give you an idea of most of the lines and prices, their drawback is that they won't always cover all low-cost airlines. Another thing to take into account is that they are very useful for finding cheap connections, but the options shown on their website are not always the cheapest way. And that's why I usually use them to find flight connections and airlines between destinations, but then I go and search manually on the airline's websites.
Jirka's additional tips for cheap flying
- Delete cookies! Most of the (low budget) airlines use various algorithms. Very often, if you return back to the search, the price of the flight you are looking at will be higher. It's because the automatic system rise the price for popular destinations. Just delete your cookies so it looks like you just come for the first time. You will see the price will be different again. You can also try it from a different computer. In fact, you can bear in mind and apply this to anything on the internet.
- Many low budget airlines change their prices in the evenings of Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays For example, at Wizzair they do in the evenings of Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
- Traveling by plane will be in most cases much more expensive on weekends (Friday, Saturday), whereas plane tickets are usually cheapest in the middle of a week (especially Wednesday)
- Try different domains (.com vs local ones) and currencies (USD vs EUR vs local ones) - you would be surprised but there is sometimes a significant difference in the price when you look at the website from the general .com domain or from a localized one (.es, .it, .pl, .cz etc) . And it also applies to currency, due to their own exchange rate, there may be quite a noticeable difference between EUR, USD and local currencies.
Here is the list of the low-budget airlines. Low-cost (European) airlines
- Simple Express http://www.simpleexpress.eu/en (Baltic countries Central Europe / Russia)
- Polskibus http://www.polskibus.com/ (Poland, neighbouring countries)
- Luxbus https://luxexpress.eu/en (Poland, neighbouring countries)
- Onnibus http://www.onnibus.com/en/index.htm (Finland)
- Onniexpress http://www.onniexpress.fi (South West Finland)
- Pohjanmaa Express http://www.harmanliikenne.fi/pohjanmaa-express.html (Middle Finland)
- Åbus https://kauppa.xn--bus-tla.fi/ (Southern Finland)
- Meinfernbus http://meinfernbus.de/ (Germany, neighbouring countries)
- Flixbus https://www.flixbus.de/ (Germany, neighbouring countries)
- Orangeways http://orangeways.com/ (Hungary-based, eastern central Europe and Balkans)
- Alsa https://www.alsa.es/ (Spain, Spain-based Europe-wide)
- Sena http://www.sena.it/ (Italy)
- Lasta http://lasta.rs/
- Flibco http://www.flibco.com/en (from Portugal to France)
- Rede Expresos http://www.rede-expressos.pt/ (Portugal)
- Ecolines http://ecolines.net/en/ (eastern Europe)
- Megabus https://www.megabus.com/ (UK, central Europe and U.S.)
- iD Bus http://uk.idbus.com/
- Eurolines http://www.eurolines.com/en/
- Student Agency http://www.studentagency.eu/
- Student Agency Czech Republic studentagency.cz
- SimpleExpress simpleexpress.eu (Baltic states)
Sharing a car with someone else is definitely the most ecological, adventurous way of traveling.
In Hungary even more popular website for carpooling is Oszkár TeleKocsi. It works really great, you can find there many many rides.
Actually, I discovered the magic of hitch-hiking when I was pretty much forced to do so. It happened in Belgium, and there is quite an adventurous story behind it. You can read the story under my "Plenty of funny experiences".
Now back to the topic. What's there to say about hitch-hiking, you would ask? You just raise your thump up and that's it, right? Well, not much to add, but there are still a couple of hints to make it easier.
First of all, in some countries hitch-hiking works better, in some worse. Also, in some countries hitch-hiking is illegal. Before you decide to wait somewhere for a lift, I recommend you to check the comprehensive hitchhikers' guide. where you can find, well, everything, including recommended spots.
Here is some general advice from me too:
- hitch-hiking (walking) on highways is in civilized countries forbidden, and indeed dangerous
- hitch-hiking from the middle of a big cities is too difficult and may take lots of time - unless you are trying to get from a city where people are commonly used to give a lift, you should sacrifice a little money for a ticket and take a means of transport to get out of the center as far as possible
- be really careful about which exit of the city you are standing at
Alright, let's say you've found a flight to an interesting destination and the price is actually much cheaper than you thought, so you're finally getting exciting and want to go. Now you start thinking....wow, that sounds really cool, but where am I going to stay? Perhaps I should really call the travel agency and get the package they have for a great last minute/early bird price now. Nah, and what about the 30-50% commission you are gonna leave them? No worries, you can make it cheaper. See this.
I used this website for the first time when I moved to Budapest in 2012, and have been using it since then. Although after the website has been acquired by another company there have been some not so popular changes made, I still think it's the best invention for travelers ever! It will not only save you lots of money, but through couchsurfing you can meet locals.
There is not many people who would never heard about AirBnb, but there are still many people who have never used it, however. One of the good ideas that have turned into a disruptive invention.
FAQ - Can I use Booking.com to find available accommodation and then contact the accommodation provider directly?
Yes and no. Of course, you can check the places and their actual prices in the location and then contact them directly, I sometimes do it too, but there is a reason why most people won't do it. First of all, if the particular place doesn't use any other website, it may be not easy to find them. More importantly, however, also Booking has an automatic algorithm.
Soo....if you have read through up to here, you know pretty much all. Perhaps now you feel more comfortable, have lost at least a few of your mental barriers, and finally set out on a trip! But well....it all sounds so cool, but I don't have money for traveling. Well, then it's your business and I can't really organize your life 😀 But I can surely help you a bit with that too.
I understand that once you leave your country, there may be some questions and tricky situations rising regarding money exchange, transfers, payment cards etc. Therefore, I've listed a couple of tricks to help you overcome typical situations and issues, thus make your loses as low as possible.
Above all, be really careful where you want to exchange your money. There are many many countries and many places all over the world where exchange offices are built for only one purpose - to rip tourists off.
Last but not least, let me add just a few more sentences to convince you that EVERYONE who can and have time to read all this really can travel. You just need a will and perhaps more sparing. I know that saving hurts, but that's fully up to you. Here is what you can do.
- First of all, just stop buying crap and things you don't need!
- Negotiate. Anywhere you can. I guess in each country the possibilities are different, but I'm sure there always are some. From my own experience, it's very possible with mobile network providers and banks. I've dome it myself. Just go there and say you have a better offer from a competitor. If they care about not losing a customer, they will do something about it. If you run into someone who doesn't care, just try different office. But I'm pretty sure will leave with a better deal. Both mobile providers and banks services are overprices, they can afford to lower the price, they just don't want to.