Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Tips to Travel on a Budget

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In the spirit of my newly wandering soul and semester abroad, I have come up with two fabulous travel-themed guest posts by ladies who actually know what they're talking about. Here's #2 - written by Alisa Kaiser. Find her travel tips and amazingly honest ramblings over at Wordly

Ah, the world. Beautiful countries with so much to explore. I get it – you want to see it all. Put that cookie down and let’s plan your budget travel to the next destination of your choice.

1.     Know your limits.

“This summer I went backpacking through Europe. We slept on the roofs of the buildings, ate everything on McDonald’s $1 menu, and stayed at the sketchy hostels. It was great!” -- And it probably was. But let’s face it: a shower would be nice, a feeling of security is a nice bonus, and obesity was not on the ‘to do’ list. You don’t have to go away for 2, 3, months at a time. Plan your trip accordingly: if you typically go camping for only one night at a time chances are you won’t enjoy a 3 month trip... And you might start stress-eating. And stress-shopping. Or both! …while trying to change your fly out date to a closer one while you pay through the nose in fees. No-no.

2.     Do your research.

Explore the city before you get there. Hours on google maps are not required, but knowing that an uber/lyft/cab ride from Queens to the Upper East Side will cost you your daily budget might come in handy. But it would have been nice to just hail a cab and go…. Back to the point: getting lost in order to get the feel for the city is my personal must. But getting found is an insufferable part of it. Otherwise you might start stress-eating. Or stress-shopping. Or both! …while trying to request an uber paying surge pricing.

3.     All praise Couchsurfing.

The. Best. Creation. Of all time. And if you are trying to google all the couchsurfing-went-wrong stories: stop. Go back to the Tip #2. If you see something on the person’s profile that even remotely makes you uncomfortable – don’t send a request. Every online platform is full of creeps – you just have to be cautious and look for the red flags. It is OK to leave your CS place if your host is not what you expected: safety comes first. Nothing will make your experience better than staying with a local. For free. You will be gaining an accommodation for the night and a friend for life.
Make your profile look friendly, open, and inviting. “Empty” accounts attract ‘empty’ people. We don’t want you to start stress-eating. Or stress-shopping. Or both! …while booking a night at the very expensive hotel.

4.     Invest in shoes before your departure.

Chances are you are going to be walking. A lot. Your feet are going to sore and your whole body is going to be exhausted by the awesomeness of your surroundings and the high altitude of your singing soul. Your shoes will see the world with you. Don’t you want them to be special? To be the best? Keep you warm and be there for you?

5.     Invest in your inner ‘you’.

Don’t go on a trip if you are feeling blue… Remember the part about stress-eating = money spending? Adventures will follow you as soon as you leave your house – just let them do the trick. The cheapest way to enjoy your travels is to have fun. Follow restaurants and cafes on twitter to find out about their specials and happy hours. Crash someone’s party. Be free. Smile more. Money is good but irrelevant. Life is what keeps us going.

Be curious. Explore. Enjoy. Save some money for emergencies – or spend it on souvenirs at the end of your trip. It is going to be great.

Alisa Kaiser is a proud Ukrainian expat living life is the USA. She recently found out that she likes camping and judging her husband's fashion choices. You can find her on Instagram

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