Travel is one of those things you may dream of, but never actually do. Why? Because the perception is travel is expensive, and even if you do have the money, there’s always another “more important” way to spend that money. When most people sit down to compare a weeklong Caribbean vacation to installing hardwood floors their home desperately needs, they’ll choose the latter. However, this mode of thinking does not make you happier or more satisfied. An abundance of psychology research has shown experiences bring people more happiness than possessions.
When most people think of traveling, they imagine five-star hotels, expensive meals out, shopping sprees, and luxe living that provides a break from the doldrums of daily life. If you travel like this, you’ll quickly break the bank, but travel doesn’t have to be expensive. It depends on your willingness to go outside of your comfort zone, release expectations, and find your inner thrifty traveler.
1. Rethink your lodging
To save money, you don’t have to book a seedy hotel. In fact, hotels (even the worst ones) are one of the most expensive ways to travel. For your own space and access to bonus amenities — like a full kitchen — try out a serviced apartment, meaning the apartment or home’s owner rents their space out to travelers like you. Airbnb, HomeAway, and 9flats are good websites to check out. You can set up your own pricing restrictions and pinpoint a certain location to find the best options.
If you want to get really cheap, check out a site like Couchsurfing, where you literally stay for free on someone’s couch, floor, or spare bedroom. It’s a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Hostels are also an easy and inexpensive back-up plan where you can book a dorm-style or private room for your stay at a low price.