Traveling on a budget after COVID-19

Traveling on a budget after COVID-19
Source: Pexels; Photo by Nina Uhlíková

The global nightmare and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away jobs and lives, causing a chaotic insecurity around the world. However, thanks to new cases reducing in parts of the world and countries easing travel restrictions, there is some positive news.

Traveling on a budget after COVID-19 still remains disconcerting and complicated. But, it’s not impossible. There are some practical tips that can be incorporated easily into your travel planning which will help you scratch that travel itch and stick to your budget. It’s not just choosing hostel over hotels, traveling by shared cabs or buses and traveling light – we have more tips that are easy to implement to your travel plans.

Let the destination choose you

What does this mean?

Most flight aggregators have an option of putting in your base destination and keeping your landing destination flexible with the “explore" button. Using this option, all the flight costs for that day or month are listed in ascending order. So, you need not give yourself a headache over permutation and the combination of checking each city and country around your budget. Whether you’re looking for domestic or international destinations – these websites have your back.

Keep flexible dates

Keeping your travel dates flexible also allows you to choose cheaper flights or other transportation options. For instance, if you originally plan to fly on a Friday (when tickets are usually more expensive), you may save money by keeping those dates flexible and opting to fly on a Wednesday or a Thursday instead.

Don’t miss out on the perks of solo travel

Maybe you originally had a group trip planned, but since then your friends have backed out. You miss out not only on a comfortable company but also on dividing the travel costs of rooms, tours and food.

Don’t write off that trip just yet. In this case, you can check out companies like G Adventures, Intrepid Travels and Gate 1 Travels. They offer tours for solo travelers who need assistance with local connections. They also help connect fellow solo travelers to each other. Together, you can divide the costs of food, accommodations and transfers. Plus, you get to make new friends along the way.

Take advantage of free activities and attractions

We can get so overwhelmed and excited with the idea of traveling that we often miss out on some low-cost or free attractions available in our destination. Try researching “free things to do in <city>" for some great ideas that won’t break your budget. You can also find some offbeat non-touristy things to do or places to explore.

Consider overnight bus or a train travel

In case the place you want to travel is a long distance away, you can choose to travel the distance overnight via a night bus or train. This not only saves money that you might waste on a hotel room, but also makes the most use of your time by not wasting a day you could be sightseeing just to get to the destination. Plus, you often will travel through beautiful scenery and parts of the country you may have missed otherwise.

Visit your friends and relatives

You kill two birds with one stone – spending time with your loved ones while exploring the cities and countries they live in. If you can stay with a friend or relative, you can save money on accommodations and take advantage of day trips and sightseeing in the area they live. Plus, if you happen to be traveling solo, you’ll find some great company along the way.

Skip the souvenirs

After I returned from my first international trip to Singapore in 2018, I came back home to realize that I had spent US$85 (HK$659) just on souvenirs! That is a whopping amount of money wasted.

Surely your loved ones back home will still be happy to just see your photos and hear stories from your travels. So, skip the souvenirs and use those funds to enhance your experience of a place. It’s better to go home with additional memories than a token or trinket that will simply sit on your shelf.

This article was contributed by Parita Bhansali. Parita was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She is an avid budget-minded traveler and an aspiring photographer.

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