Cheap flights are the basis, but if you want to make your trip really cheap, you need to pay attention not only to them.
Travel has never been as cheap as it is today. But cheap travel has its rules. And to get the best prices you usually must make quick decisions and be flexible. Let's take a look at the best practices of budget travellers.
Yes, we can travel otherwise than by air, but for this time we will expect that we travel long distance, so our choice will be the plane. But many of the rules for the purchase of cheap flights also apply to other modes of transport.
To buy cheap flights, it is most important to catch the right promo action of the airlines. It is often necessary to buy tickets several months in advance, but some of the best prices are also available as the last-minute deals. While it is often the case that you can save with early ticket purchases, it is no exception that you purchase early for a bad price - just because you buy at a normal, not the discounted price.
Some promo actions are available during only one day, other are available for weeks. Sometimes tickets are quickly sold out, sometimes you can buy them cheap even after some time of hesitation. However, it is true that airline tickets are - during the promo actions - often available at half the usual prices, sometimes even cheaper. On the other hand, the most expensive are last-minute tickets in the high season, such as Christmas and New Year's tickets to popular destinations.
So it's worth watching the promo actions of airlines and specialty websites that watch the flights prices (you can find a lot of them using the Google search engine). And it is always a good idea to look at more nearby airports, where flights to your preferred destinations may be a lot cheaper - even after paying for a transport there.
When buying tickets, read carefully what is and what is not included in their basic price. Low-cost airlines usually do not offer any checked-in luggage, but sometimes there is a hand luggage of decent size. The size of allowed hand-luggages is different for each company.
On a long journey you will also need some food and drink, beware of companies that do not allow your own food on board and sell their own at exorbitant prices. If you are traveling in a group, at cheap flights it may happen that your airline deliberately spreads members of your group far apart - unless you pay. So think about it too. And consider what airport the plane is flying to. Some airports are far away from everything so the transport from them could be expensive - then it may be be more convenient and even cheaper to pay a few bucks more for a ticket to a better airport.
Cheap flight is a good beginning, but it is not all you need. If you hesitate among more destinations with a similar ticket price, remember that the trip may cost you more when you have to pay even to enter the country. Although visa-free travel is more and more usual today, there are still countries where you have to pay a lot of money for their visa - a price comparable to the airline ticket price. Cheap destinations then can become expensive.
It is certainly worthwhile to check the current prices of accommodation in the target country. Not only Western Europe is expensive, but even countries with low living standards sometimes offer surprisingly expensive hotels. If the hotels are expensive, try private accommodation - with services as AirBnB. In some cities, the prices of private rooms are similar to hotel rates, but in some places you can save a lot with them, just one third or even half of the price per night at the same quality of accommodation.
Even the prices of food are not low in every country with low standards of living. The prices also depend on a number of other factors, such as the cost of transport of the food (in island countries, for example). In general, however, it is easier to eat cheaply in poor countries as the local people also have to find cheap meals somewhere. Local people do not have to stay in hotels, so they can be expensive, but they have to eat somewhere, so if you do not need fancy restaurants for tourists, you will probably find some food for acceptable price.
Another factor that will affect the final price of your trip is the cost of transport - and, of course, very important is how you intend to travel and what places you want to visit. In many countries youcan find cheap local buses, cheap shared vans or cheap shared taxi.
In many countries of the world, local residents pay much lower entrance fees to various sights than tourists. There is nothing you can do about it. But sometimes it is worth buying a tourist card that allows you to enter more attractions at a discounted price, somewhere you save on a prepaid purchase, on other places it may be good to look at when the place is open and to choose the time when the admission is cheaper. If you use the services of local guides, it is definitely worthwhile to bargain. Which, in many countris, applies in a lot of places.
It is probably not necessary to add that you can save a lot of money by good planning. When you know when, where and how you want to travel the country, you can find the best way to arrange your transportation, find the best times for the local attractions, find the cheapest accommodation... Sometimes you can save money by renting a car only for the days when you really need it, other times you can find a cheaper bus etc.
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