28
Nov-2015

Tips and tricks to travel on a budget

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When traveling, a large part of the budget goes to public transport, either to your destination or to travel from city to city. But to reduce the maximum your budget, there are special ways to travel and some tips

Also read our article “Budget: 28 sites and apps to save and even make money while traveling” to discover the websites that can help you further reduce your travel budget!

1) Traveling By plane at low cost

tips_avions

Across Europe

Everyone knows airline companies Ryanair and EasyJet offering great prices for flights. In some cities in Eastern Europe such as Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, there is another low-cost airline, Wizz Air..

Here’s a search engine for Low-cost airlines by country: Flylowcostairlines.

Other low cost airlines : Transavia (for Western Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean), which EasyJet from Zaventem with currently 6 destinations Vueling Airlines, Iceland Express, Meridiana, Jet2, ArkeFly Bluexpress or Tiger Airways from Asia.

      Tips for booking tickets online with Low cost airlines

1) When you book your ticket, take into account the online booking fee (by card payment) and airport taxes. This generally increases considerably the original price!

2) Do not forget to check-in in advance on the website (usually 15 days before the flight) and print your boarding pass, otherwise you will have to pay at the airport and it is quite expensive (€ 40 per ticket printed)…

TRAVEL BY PLANE IN ASIA

Domestic flights within Asia are often cheap, each country has its companies. Between different Asian countries, the cheaper is to travel with a few low-cost airlines such as: Tiger AirAir AsiaJetStar or Scoot.

THE QUESTION OF YOUR LUGGAGE…

If you are planning a city trip, it is not always necessary to take a checked suitcase  (because you have to pay 15 € for each suitcase and € 30 for a round trip, with Ryanair for example): hand luggage is sometimes enough and is free.

But be careful, because according to the companies, the maximum dimensions vary. For example, Wizzair is now making the difference between a “small hand luggage” which is free and a “big hand luggage” which you have to pay for.

Cabin baggage for LOW-COST
For a short stay, avoid paying a checked suitcase and prefer a cabin suitcase, you are entitled to 10kg! Take care to observe all restrictions to the letter under penalty of having to pay for registration of your luggage at the last minute (quite expensive)!
You will be limited in the case of liquid products (perfume, mascara, lip gloss, creams, toothpaste, sunscreens, deodorants, shampoo, shower gel …). You can not take these  products unless they are 100 ml each maximum (hint: keep your samples, they are very useful in these cases) and you will have to place them  in a transparent and closed plastic bag 20cm x20. You can use a freezer bag that you find in supermarkets. Some even have the words “authorized by plane” on the package.

Group travel
If you travel with a group, the most economical and practical solution is to take one checked suitcase to put your liquids and other heavy stuff, and share the cost with people who want to put their stuff in the suitcase. Each can also take a personal bag of 10kg as a cabin baggage.

Intercontinental flights: how to get the cheapest fare?

Despite what you might think, it is sometimes interesting to go to a travel agency asking prices of flights. We have sometimes been surprised that they offer tickets at lower prices than what you can find on the internet and with more guarantees.

The site Jetcost compares different operators such as Ebookers, Opodo, e-Dreams, etc.. to guarantee the lowest possible price. But we must take into account the small surplus to pay (taxes, electronic payment).

There are many flights comparators, including Jetcost which compares the fares of the different tour operators such as Govoyages, Opodo, e-Dreams etc. to ensure the lowest possible, or Kayak  where it is possible to find good deals. Note also:

  • With ITA Software, a Google product, you can compare flights over several days and from several nearby cities to make the best combination. For example, you can set up how many kilometres from your place you agree to go to catch your flight. This is particularly useful if you have several airports close to your home and if you have flexible dates. Be careful that the site does not include low cost flights!
  • Skyscanner allows you to see what are the cheapest destinations from a selected airport. This is perfect when you want to go on certain dates but do not know where to go.

Delays to get a passport (for Belgium)

If you are planning a trip outside Europe you need a passport. It will take 12 to 15 days to do it in Belgium but there is an emergency procedure where you can have it  delivered in 3-4 days for 250 €! The price is very expensive but it can be useful to know that there is an alternative to the cancellation of your trip, if like me you think you have lost your passport a few days before departure.

2) Budget traveling by bus in europe

Between some nearby destinations, it may be more economical to travel with the bus company Eurolinesthan by train. Eurolines offers attractive prices between many cities in Europe, with discounts for young people under 25 years. For example, a round trip Brussels-Paris costs only 25 € for 4 hour trip and a round trip Brussels-London costs € 55 for 7 hours of journey. It is better to book several days in advance to get cheaper rates.

3) Traveling by train at low cost in europe

tips_trains

There are also attractive packages by train to travel in Europe, starting with the InterRail Pass. There are also InterRails to travel within a single country, the One Country Pass.

But here is a good advice: InterRail is particularly interesting in countries where train tickets are very expensive (as in France), but in countries such as Italy and the Eastern countries, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a normal ticket. You should also look at the routes, as in countries like Croatia, the train does not stop in many places. Buses are sometimes better served and faster. Finally, note that InterRails doesn’t include any travel in your own country, so you have to pay another ticket to the border and the same to return if you are traveling by train from your country.
Here is a map of the European rail network to help you plan your trip.

The website A beginner’s guide to Europe & European rail pass provides extensive information on InterRail.

4) Traveling by hitchhiking

tips_hitchiking

People may think you’re crazy to hitchhike, but do not listen to what they say. To have experienced it in the Balkans and in Australia, hitchhiking is not only the most economical but it is also a great way to meet locals who will be happy to tell you everything they know about their country. This is ideal when traveling with only one traveling mate.

It is a means of transport that still requires some preparation. To help you, there is a community site dedicated to the hitchhiking where you will find all the tips from your predecessors and information on the country where hitchhiking works well or not, and other practical advice : Hitchwiki.

Some tips for hitchhiking:

  • Do not forget to bring sheets of A4 paper minimum and a thick pencil
  • Also take a map or at least print the route on Google Maps for the name of intermediate cities in which you must pass through to reach your destination.
  • Never do hitchhiking in the evening and night
  • Do not get into a car if you do not feel it.
  • If you do not know the language, it is useful to learn a few words like “thank you” if the driver can not speak English.

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