Heading out on the open road for more than a short vacation is a daunting task, made even more daunting if your finances are tight. Budget travel can be exciting, but you have to find luxury in minimalism when you’re taking time off from work to experience the world for a month or more. These budget travel tips will allow you to splurge on a crazy cool helicopter ride or a worth-it wine tasting instead of overrated hotel rooms, all while earning you Cash Back at Ebates.
Wait to Book
Unless you can score an unbeatable deal on Hotels.com, shopping around in person, as opposed to online, can save you significantly, which is critical since accommodations likely will be your largest expense. If you’re doing on-the-ground research, do yourself a favor and get a backpack rather than hauling your roll-aboard suitcase down cobblestone streets or dirt roads. Summit Online has deals for backpacks that will suit travelers who need lightweight, durable options, such as this 65-liter pack from the North Face.
Pack Like a Champ
Traveling for a month means keeping your packing to a minimum, but that doesn’t mean you need to look like a backpacker. Inevitably, you’ll need something to wear for a night out, so instead of packing a few dresses or spending money (and valuable space) on a new dress while on the road, invest in something that packs well and is versatile. A convertible dress that can be worn multiple ways is the ideal solution for looking and feeling great, even when you’re traveling on a budget. Wear it multiple ways over and over, and even you won’t notice it’s the same piece of cotton. Maybe.
Travel by Ground
One of the best ways to keep your money in your pocket while traveling long-term is to travel by bus or train as opposed to by airplane. Booking convenient flights between budget travel destinations is a quick way to destroy your budget. Plus, over-ground transportation often is one of the best ways to see a new country and experience a place as a local would. Ground transportation is especially budget friendly if you head to a destination that has plenty to see and do all in one area, such as Southeast Asia.
No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll need to stay hydrated. Whether you’re hiking in the Andes or lounging on beaches in Southeast Asia, water may be an added expense. A SteriPEN water purifier from Walmart is the best budget option if you’re traveling to a place that may have unsafe drinking water. Sterilizing allows you to fill up with tap water and still stay healthy, saving you money and saving the environment from a month’s worth of plastic bottles.
Keep Your Electronics Charged
A universal electrical adapter that can accommodate a USB is a must for international travel so you can charge your phone, camera, laptop or tablet. You may find yourself in places with different plugs and voltage (even if you’re just traveling from, say, London to Paris), so you’ll need to start your journey with a universal adapter that can fit various plugs. You won’t want to have to buy a new phone while traveling because you destroyed your old one by charging it with the wrong voltage.
Chelsea is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, specializing in lifestyle and travel. When she can't get on a plane herself to visit somewhere obscure (Montenegro anyone?), she's training her sweet puppy and taking visitors to wine country with her fiancé. She loves being able to share ideas and stories proving that doing good and having fun can go hand in hand.