Going on vacation for little money - that's what everyone wants, right? A cheap plane ticket is easily found, but there are always additional costs for accommodation, transportation, food and activities. Use these smart budget tips and arrange a cheap vacation.
1. Avoid traveling in high season
If you have children and are bound by school vacations, this is a lot harder, but if possible, travel outside the high season (or go for a cheap last minute). For Europe, high season is in July and August (summer vacations), for winter sun destinations it is in December and January (Christmas vacations). Prices may also be higher during spring break and autumn vacation.
2. Travel to cheap countries or alternative cities
Montenegro, Albania or Poland: they may not be the first countries you think of, but you can go there on vacation for a good price. Also in these countries you will find beaches, sun, culture, good food and friendly locals - just let yourself be surprised! Want to go on a city trip on a small budget? Then choose alternative cities: Strasbourg instead of Paris, Valencia instead of Barcelona, Bologna instead of Rome and Padua instead of Venice.
3. Do home exchange
If you really want to live like a local, you can also think about home exchange. Each home exchange is tailored to your needs: you choose when, where and with whom you would like to exchange. It's a great way to travel cheaply and save on accommodation (very handy for long vacations with the kids)!
4. Or sleep in a bothy for free
Popular in Scotland, Northern England and Wales: sleeping in bothies. A bothy is a mountain hut or barn, usually without a lock, in a remote mountain area. Sleeping in a bothy is free, but not for everyone: you must have experience with camping or sleeping (surviving) in nature. The only thing you can expect is that the building is water- and windproof so you can sleep dry. Most bothies have a stove or fireplace, but you have to provide your own heating material. You get water from nearby streams and nature is your toilet. An unwritten rule is that you always make room for a fellow traveller, if he or she also wants to sleep in the same bothy.
5. Save on car rental and fuel up cheaply
Take a look at the possibilities of renting a car for a week; in many cases this is cheaper than renting for six or eight days. In addition, diesel cars are often cheaper than gasoline cars. However, diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, so these cars are a lot worse for the environment. Finally, try to avoid toll roads as much as possible to travel as cheaply as possible and never refuel along the highway, but at supermarkets or on the outskirts of a village or town.
6. Cook yourself and go to the local market
Eating out while traveling is of course delicious and you get to know the (food) culture of a country. But visiting a restaurant every day can - depending on your destination - be quite expensive. Cooking yourself simply means saving money. An apartment or studio is ideal for self-catering, but hostels often have good facilities for cooking (together with travel companions). There is nothing more fun than doing your own shopping at the local market or supermarket.
7. Don't book a tour, but go on your own adventure
Joining an organised tour can be relaxing, especially if you don't know your destination. Sometimes you can't escape it because you can't get there on your own. But, going out on your own and looking for adventure can save you a lot of money and is usually a lot of fun. Get some inspiration for a walking vacation, you can do this in your own country and you don't have to take much with you! Search for walking holidays in Switzerland, or Tour du Mont Blanc.