Top Tips for Travelling on a Shoestring Budget


Tips, Travel

With travel costs soaring and the cost of living continuing to rise, finding budget-friendly travel options is more important than ever. But how do you enjoy your holiday without breaking the bank? In this blog, we’re here to help you answer this very question! Understanding the ins and outs of your itinerary and the country you’re travelling to can help you save money, have more authentic experiences and make the most of your trip. Let’s explore how a little research and some savvy planning can allow you to travel like royalty on a shoestring budget. 

Tip #1: Find affordable air travel

Flights can make or break your budget. While there are many perks to living in Sydney, cheap air travel is typically not one of them. However, there are ways to navigate this process so that you get the most value out of your (usually long) journey. Our first tip is to not dive head-first into booking your flights. Experts suggest that doing so eight months or more in advance of your trip means you’ll be purchasing the most expensive tickets, whereas booking three to five months before your departure date means you’ll be getting more competitive prices. To track changes, use flight search aggregators in incognito mode, so that travel sites can’t take advantage of your search history by ramping up their prices. 


There is a lot of debate out there about what day of the week to book your flights. Popular opinion seems to be Tuesdays or Wednesdays, however this is not always the case. Being flexible with your departure and return dates can be a great way to cut costs and make sure you get the best deal. You can easily search flights for the whole month on most search aggregator sites, and simply choose the least expensive date of the bunch. Alternatively, try travelling during an off-peak time in your destination country and avoid the tourist rush completely.

Tip #2: Be flexible with accommodation

Many of us dream of a holiday in a luxury resort with spa facilities, a big comfy bed and breathtaking views. Unfortunately, having a shoestring budget means you may have to be a little more flexible. It’s a good idea to consider how important the quality of your accommodation is to your overall trip. For some people, it is the main factor, but for others who want to explore their destination and try new experiences, budget-friendly options may be the wiser choice. Camping, glamping, overnight trains, hostels or even the homes of friends and relatives might not sound like the dream, but these unique options lead to more authentic experiences and make your trip more memorable. 

Tip #3: Make the most of your activities

Activities are a huge part of any holiday and can vary between different locations. Of course, if the options are available, we wholeheartedly recommend seeking out free activities and avoiding crowded tourist traps. Free walking tours are available in pretty much every big city around the world and sightseeing is something you can easily do without spending a cent. For cities big on culture, find out what museums and buildings are free or cheap to access. Reading reviews is another great way to sort out what’s overrated and which cheaper options might be more enjoyable. Most of the time, exploring nature is free. Don’t be afraid to go on popular hikes in the area, seek out watering holes and take happy snaps at lookouts around the city. 

Tip #4: Set a limit on food and drink

We get it — you’re on holiday. Drinking and eating out is considered the norm and the last thing you’re thinking about is setting a budget for your consumption. However, food and drink can make a huge dent in your budget, especially on long trips, and prevent you from doing all the things you want to do. If buying more grocery-style meals is not an option for you, at least aim to avoid tourist hot spots and look for restaurants, cafes and bars that are tucked away from the usual foot traffic. These places may just be a more authentic option too, so there’s nothing to lose! Another tip would be to choose hotel or accommodation options with breakfast included. These inclusions are often buffet-style, which means you can load up on food and coffee before hitting the streets for the day. 


Planning a summer in Europe? Blend in with the locals and enjoy a relaxing picnic of bread, cheese, snacks and drinks in the park instead of forking out 20+ euros for an average meal at a restaurant. Trying local street food is another great option if you’re feeling adventurous, but always make sure you’re aware of the risks and look for safe options. 

Tip #5: Reduce your shopping habits

When you’re in a new place, it may be tempting to shop til you drop, but if your budget is struggling, it may be best to avoid spending here. Consider the following when shopping: “is this the only place I can purchase this item, or could I purchase this back home?” If it is something you can buy back home, is the price difference enough to justify your purchase? Many people choose to buy gifts with sentimental meaning while on holiday, which is completely understandable; but being more mindful of how frequently you shop and for what reason is a great idea. 


It’s also valuable to research the market of the country you’re in, particularly when price tags aren’t required. In countries like Vietnam, you can be easily tricked into spending three times more on an item than you’re expected to. Haggling culture can be a little intimidating at first, but it’s a quick way to save a few extra dollars. It’s also essential to stay alert, particularly in crowded shopping areas, where tourists can be a target. Don’t be THAT tourist with their wallet hanging out their back pocket, asking to be taken. 

Tip #6: Navigate the city like a local

With most holidays, you’ll be expected to travel around. Trying affordable options such as public transport to get from one spot to another is a resourceful way to reduce expenses. As well as this, having a good understanding of the public transport options in your location is essential to avoiding fines. For example, in Berlin, the process of validating your tickets is complicated and scam ticket checkers will take advantage of this system. Make sure you understand the rules clearly before jumping on a bus or train. Taxi scams are another common occurrence across the globe. Only use trusted providers or set-price services to avoid paying unreasonable rates. 


Before you start booking your budget-friendly dream holiday, let’s ensure that affordable Sydney airport parking is first on your list! Saving money on this essential part of your travel is easy with Park on King. Park on King offers a year-round affordable alternative to Sydney International Airport Parking, with 24-hour security and on-demand shuttle services for International flights available to and from the airport. Make every dollar count with our airport parking! 


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