Traveling inexpensively is not necessarily something I recommend at… all costs. With the explosion of low cost flights, airline ticket comparators, and competition (which always drives prices down), it’s easy – very, very easy, for anyone to get to cheap vacations. There is now even a comparator of all existing accommodation (CozyCozy, for those who do not yet know this site). In short, whether it is about promotions, sites specializing in the search for broken prices, technological developments, aggressive commercial policies, the observation is the same: over the years, going on a trip costs less and less. expensive.
Think about it: Over the past ten years, I have been able to travel, on average, six months a year, while earning less than € 1,000 per month. All the good plans and techniques that I use to go on a cheap trip therefore have some effectiveness, and some legitimacy. However, it’s been eight years that I have this travel blog, and I have always been reluctant to write this article – because of the increasingly disastrous consequences on saturated destinations, not to mention the pollution, the unsustainable tourist pressure. for premises, etc.
But these moods are deeply hypocritical on the part of someone who has traveled so much on the cheap. And then, since there are now thousands of blogs capable of telling you which sites to visit, which techniques to use to save money while traveling, I am happy to direct you to the best comparators, in an exhaustive list listing all the tips I use to go on a cheap trip.
6 golden rules to follow for cheap travel
1. Traveling out of season
It is obvious that you will never be able to go on a cheap trip if you go in the middle of the peak tourist season: in August and July, in France, prices can double or even triple in restaurants, hotels, etc. So don’t expect a miracle if you travel to France during this period: most of the techniques on this list won’t work.
However, be aware that the months of July and August may correspond to the “off season” period in certain regions of the world, especially in the southern hemisphere: in South-East Asia, or in Latin America, for example. Conversely, going to Cambodia in January is the worst possible time, in terms of prices and tourist attendance.
2. Leave on Tuesday
It is a very simple technique that few people know: when you are looking for a cheap plane or train ticket, or a hotel or any accommodation, do your research from a Tuesday if you have no requirements. Likewise, if you need to take time off or RTT, try, if possible, to leave on a Tuesday. The prices will be cheaper.
Explanation: From Friday to Monday the prices are higher because there is more chance that people will book tickets and / or go on vacation at that time. Wednesday is the day when children have the fewest lessons (so are more likely to be taken by their parents), and Thursday is a day that can serve as a bridge, when not put on leave by parents. people who want to have a great 4 day weekend. Result: Tuesday is the least often chosen day of the week to start traveling and vacationing.
3. Be ready for certain sacrifices
We can not have everything. Do not expect to travel on the cheap if you spend your time in restaurants and hotels. My food budget is often the highest budget of my travels, but it is a very personal choice because I am a big fan of good food, whether street or starred. But you’ll save huge amounts of money if, for example, you choose to:
– do not drink alcohol while traveling : I am not a heavy drinker, but just testing this over a month of travel, it saved me 20% on my food budget.
– take a local bus rather than a taxi
– travel off the beaten track
– travel without his children
4. Traveling with others
Traveling as a couple costs much less than traveling alone. This can halve your accommodation budget (which is often the highest item of expenditure), but also considerably reduce your transport budget (taxis), the price of tourist attractions (it is often possible to negotiate a discount when there are two of you. for an excursion, a trek, etc.), doubles the possibility of meeting people (it is easier to sympathize with a couple than with a solo traveler) or to be hosted by someone or to be taken in stop (a single man often arouses more mistrust), etc.
5. Traveling in a backpack
Why does traveling in a backpack cost less than traveling with a suitcase? Because’a backpack gives you a lot, a lot more leeway. A suitcase is a constraint, which forces you to settle somewhere; a backpack makes it easier for you to camp, hitchhike, follow someone who invites you to sleep in their or their home, and maybe even your backpack will fit in the cabin , avoiding you to pay for checked baggage. For having tested both, my observation is clear.
6. To travel inexpensively, you have to go where the cost of living is not expensive.
Finding a cheap plane ticket to Switzerland or Norway will cost you much, much more than paying for an expensive plane ticket, but to countries like Albania or Thailand.
Here is the list of the ten countries where the cost of living is the cheapest:
1 / Pakistan
2 / Afghanistan
3 / India
4 / Syria
5 / Tunisia
6 / Uzbekistan
7 / Venezuela
8 / Kosovo
9 / Georgia
10 / Kyrgyzstan
So, yes, you probably won’t go to Afghanistan or Syria. But maybe you would never have thought of Georgia, or Kosovo? You will find the complete list (and updated every semester) on Numbeo.
This list will be updated as I find it.
Let’s say it right away: finding a cheap plane ticket isn’t the most important thing. A lot of people think that it is enough to find a cheap plane ticket to go on a cheap trip, but it is not. In my many trips, the plane ticket represented, generally, only between 5 (trips of one year) and 25% (trip of two weeks) of my total budget.
Nonetheless, if you want to find a cheap plane ticket, here’s how, personally, I go about it:
1) Go to Google Flights
2) Define an outbound destination, a return destination
3) Select a time range equivalent to the number of days I have to travel: 21 days, 24 days, 25 days… The precise dates do not matter: this is the number of days of travel which is important! Obviously, you should not have too strong constraints and look for this time range in the period to which you want to travel
4) Start this time slot on a Tuesday
5) Adapt the search according to the prices offered in the calendar to select the cheapest option
6) Carry out a new research by adjusting the number of travel days
7) Perform a third search by selecting the cheapest departure and look at the prices available
8) Book the plane ticket directly on the company’s website, remembering the dates you have obtained (if the price is impossible to find, go back to Google Flights)
It is better to book directly on the airline’s website for reasons of insurance, cancellation, or modification of tickets.
A comparison of ALL available accommodation: CozyCozy
When looking for a hotel or accommodation of any kind, chances are you are like me: at some point, you identified a website that offered the cheapest rates (randomly: Booking.com) and, since then, you only use him (and possibly another). But CozyCozy will probably become your best friend, since this new comparator has the advantage of comparing ALL possible accommodation platforms: AirBnb, Booking, Agoda, Abritel, Hostelworld, Homestay …
Keep animals in exchange for a house: Nomador
A great deal for inexpensive travel is pet sitting in exchange for free accommodation. This is what we did in Quebec: seven months in a house by a lake during the winter, looking after a cat, without paying rent. We only paid the charges (water, electricity, internet); the owners, for their part, had taken care of buying the croquettes in sufficient quantity.
The best house and pet sitting site I have found is Nomador.
Free homestay accommodation: Servas rather than Couchsurfing
Finally, to meet locals and have them host you, I recommend Servas rather than Couchsurfing . Couchsurfer is still a great tool; but the philosophy and the profile of the people who frequent this site have changed enormously. It has become a little difficult not to come across “interested” people, who register on this site more to travel for free and / or flirt with (or even harass) women, rather than in a spirit of meeting, of exchanges. , and shared moments. Servas is much closer to this original spirit.
The best comparator to find a cheap car rental is the Carigami site.