First off I’d like to say that I am in no way an expert on this topic, but in recent months I’ve been doing slightly more in the way of planning than I have done before and I think I might have a few pointers that any beginner travellers out there could fine useful. These are mainly budget orientated, since my life is currently ruled by my ever decreasing bank balance, but I’ve still managed a good few adventures on my minimal amount of dollar.
I guess the first thing to say is to expect a little bit (read: a whole lot) of compromise. Sure, I would love to travel in style and would make full use of British Airways and their complimentary on-board snacks if I had the budget for it. But it’s always good to have something to aspire towards and until that day there are always alternatives.
Coach travel is the one thing to consider. It’s a much slower option but it’s not particularly strenuous, there’s none of that trying to squeeze your liquids in a tiny clear bag, you just hop on and enjoy the ride. Price wise it can often be a fair amount cheaper than trains and planes, probably due to the slower travel pace, but you can’t enjoy the countryside views from the aisle seat of a plane, can you? I took an overnight coach from London to Paris and as expected it was not the most comfortable night of my life – but a little lack of sleep never hurt nobody and the price included the ferry fare too.
Another tip I’ve learned is that when you can, don’t bother with hold luggage. On most of the budget airlines they whack an expensive extra charge on for baggage, which is probably why the ticket was so cheap in the first place. But depending on how long you’re travelling for and how much of an over packer you are (guilty!), there is usually enough space in a cabin bag for all your belongings. This also cuts down your time at your destination airport, when you glide on through to passport control and leave all the losers behind while they wait forever for their bags to come through. So long suckers!
Accommodation can often rack up the cost of your trip if you’re not too careful and there are a lot of options out there, offering a much more low cost alternative to hotels. I’m a huge fan of AirBnB, so much so that I might even dedicate a whole post to it sometime. But having used it twice now and had really great experiences both times I can’t really recommend it enough. I love something that’s a bit quirky, and I promise you it’s not as weird as you might think to stay in someone else’s house for a few days. Often the whole apartment is available for you to stay in, which is possibly even more convenient and private than a hotel. You can grab yourself something from a local shop or deli for breakfast and make yourself a little picnic too – it’ll be far more cost effective than multiple restaurants for three meals a day. And yeah, maybe I’m just a bit nosey and enjoy having a little look around!
Right now, I’m out and about in Italy. I cannot say how much I’ve been looking forward to this trip – I’m in desperate need of some warmth and some vitamin D and I plan on eating all the pasta and all the pizza. Watch out for some food envy posts!