Of all things I hate, I hate when people waste resources. Especially money. For some reason, when it comes to travel, people seem to do it all too often. It is possible to accomplish budget friendly traveling. Let me fill you in on some secrets, but shhh, don’t tell anyone. Not like this is the internet or anything.
#1- DON’T BE A TOURIST POTATO (Like a couch potato, but insert tourist. You get it?)
For starters, that’s whack. Secondly, you miss out on the authenticity of the place you are visiting. Find the locals, stalk them and eat where they eat. No, I’m joking, well kind of. Find out where the locals are eating, where are their favorite places to hang out, shop, and have fun. I mean, think about it, if the restaurant is filled with tourist, how authentic could it be. The locals always know best. Which brings me to my next point.
#2- BEFRIEND THE LOCALS
They save you money. They know where to find authenticity, and normally they know where to find it on a budget. While asking them for suggestions, be sure to inform them that you are not looking to visit the regular touristy places. I have always found that locals really take a liking to you when they realize you want to see more of the city than what is typically found on google images.
#3- FIND THE LOCAL MARKETS
In most countries, you can find a street market at least once a week. Street markets signify quite a few things. On the bad spectrum, it can brew up a few pickpockets here or there. On the flipside, it also signals discounts, low prices, second-hand, aka a means of staying on budget. Street markets vary greatly; whether it be food, clothes, jewelry, or knick-knacks. Just find one and show up. You might pick up a local friend or two here.
#4- COOK FOR YOURSELF
I know, I know I just said find authentic food, and then I said, cook. Do not worry, you can do both. When it comes to saving money abroad, eating at restaurants on the daily can be your worst enemy. Next time, try heading to a street market for your essentials, pick up some ingredients traditional to your location, look up a recipe, and eat in.
#5- FORGET THE TOUR BUS
It seems great, I know. One way or another, they seem to convince you that you are saving money and diving into the culture. But not so much. For what it costs for most tour buses, you could rent a bicycle, walk on foot, or take public transit……like the locals…. And still, see the same things. Instead of being rushed to the next location, you have time to really take it all in. Not only do you save money, but in most cases, you can find more information on an internet search engine, than you can hear from a pre-recorded audio. Even better, you can talk to a local. Locals typically enjoy delving into their city’s history, so why pay someone for something you can get for free.
All of this is to say, do not go somewhere to see what can be seen online, or to eat what you can buy at home. Take a chance, save a dollar, and have fun. Do not be the average tourist. Remember people, it’s okay to be different.