Traveling on a budget can be fun as you get to meet all sorts of different people, immerse yourself in a wide variety of cultures, and see new places up close and personal. But for these same reasons and others, to travel on a budget and also have a safe travel experience can be a daunting proposition for most people.
First, you need the willingness and motivation to make some compromises and cuts. This doesn’t mean that traveling on a budget makes the experience less enjoyable — often, it’s quite the opposite if you approach it with the right strategy and make smart choices.
Here, I will give you some travel safety tips to bear in mind when traveling on a tight budget.
1. Consider a package
In order to cut all the stress and drama out, it’s a great idea to use a reliable travel agent that offers budget holidays. They will give you one of the best deals and work with your tight budget. In addition to the convenience and benefit, should anything go wrong, you have someone to reach out to for help.
The farther away from a well-populated town you are, the more you’ll probably spend to get around.
Consider staying in a central location that you’ve researched in-depth. Consult with the locals for details about the incidences of crimes, places to stay, and safest neighborhoods, and even read traveller reviews. Also, know whom to call in case of an emergency.
3. Plan around off-season travel times
More availability and less demand in the off-season means that airlines and hotels tend to offer affordable rates around these times. Again, be sure to do adequate research, as different destinations typically have different tourist seasons.
4. Pack light
Without a doubt, excess baggage entices hefty charges. Just limit your effects to a carry on and one bag for your essential stuff and documents. Also, don’t forget your personal travel safe if you’re travelling with valuables like a laptop or small items. A travel safe will give you peace of mind knowing that no one can tamper with any of your belongings. Consider making copies of crucial documents as well.
5. Book cheap accommodation online
Accommodation is the largest day-to-day cost of budget backpackers. If you want to travel without breaking the bank, consider taking advantage of online platforms, which always have great deals and discounts.
Choose to book a small locally-run homestay or guesthouse, or find an affordable hotel on the town edge online. In most states, the cheap accommodations provide the necessities any traveller would require, such as a door, running water, and bed, and they are also pretty comfortable, safe and clean.
6. Catch public transport
This is among the biggest fears for any first-time budget traveller, especially in destinations off the beaten path. On occasion it may take longer, but there are significant advantages to taking a local train or bus for those open to it. Public transport is not only affordable compared to tourist buses or taxis, but it is also safe and offers more insight into local life, maybe giving you an exciting story.
If concerned for your safety on public transport, approach your commute with a plan and try not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself as tourists might be targeted for pickpocketing. Go for inconspicuous clothing, which won’t entice attention, approach people carefully, and be discrete when looking at maps.
Public transport might be less comfy than taking a private vehicle, but remember – you’ve got a travel budget to stick to. So, embrace public transport or try hitchhiking if you’re really adventurous.
7. Eat like the locals
Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall eatery, a sit-down restaurant, or street food, the locals normally know where the cheapest and the best food is. In third world countries, western-meals are rarely as delicious as what you get back at home and expensive.
Do not avoid the local food out of fear that you may get unwell. If the locals eat there, then it’s probably safe. Both street vendors and fancy restaurants all purchase their food from those markets.
8. Do not forget travel insurance
Travel insurance is comprehensive protection should anything go wrong. It will protect you against cancellations, theft, and illness. While we would all like not to think about things that might go wrong on a trip, it’s best to be protected against the worst case scenario.
Consider world nomad insurance to cover your travel essentials.
9. Stick to a budget
Budget backpackers keep their spending on track by sticking to a budget. First, work out how long you plan to be away, make up a daily travel budget and stick to it.
Opt for writing down every amount of money you spend in a pocket diary to keep track of the figures, which will definitely give you a direction in spending habits. Doing this will help you not run out of spending money sooner than you planned to.
10. Don’t purchase things you don’t require
This may seem obvious; however, you will be surprised how difficult it is not to purchase that custom-made pair of shoes or funky trinket as you travel along.
If you’re on a short holiday, go for it. However, if you’re planning on being on a budgeted long-term adventure, you seriously have to hold off on all impromptu purchases.
For instance, you can cut back on or skip the alcohol as it will cut deep into your tight travel budget. Furthermore, travel usually is more fun and safer without a hangover.
11. Shop locally
If you’re looking at purchasing anything from new clothes or souvenirs to fresh fruits, then consider going to local markets, which are usually cheap and offer a great selection. Most stalls are able to provide affordable products as a result of low overheads.
If your room has a kitchen, or maybe you travelled with a stove, then you can purchase vegetables and meat from the markets and prepare simple meals yourself. This is why you should always reconsider booking a room that has enticing extras — buying from hotels is always pricey!
Traveling on a tight budget usually is hard work, especially on a long-term trip. But the most important thing is not to lose sight of your objective, because the reward is worth it!
Lastly, keep your family and friends updated, be wary of any public Wi-Fi, safeguard your room, and be aware of your surroundings.
Do you have any more tips for how to stay safe while traveling on a budget? Let us know in the comments!