In case you haven’t noticed- I love to travel! And I LOVE hotels. And what trip is complete without good food? The only potential issue with this hobby is that it obviously requires money- something that often threatens to hinder any potential trips! Here’s my top ideas for travelling comfortably on a budget:
- Decide what you can compromise on
Apart from flights, the majority of budget trips depend on budget accomodation. For many, this means hostels. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this- I’ve stayed in hostels twice and had really positive experiences. However, I must admit that I’ve absolutely loved hotels from a young age and often my trips are centred around a promise of good accommodation. This can certainly be an issue- particularly as I’m often trying to plan a trip with a relatively low budget in mind. I also love good food and the thought of eating out of some dodgy restaurants leads to hallucinations as I recall getting food poisoned as a child. If hotels and good food are important to you read on…..
2. Choosing good hotels on a budget
As I’ve mentioned above, I am a hotel freak. While I can understand that many don’t share this opinion and consider it only a place to lay their heads, I have to admit that any potential trip involves me scouring the internet for good accomodation for a good price. The thought of arriving at a destination and simply choosing a hotel on arrival induces me with anxiety. Tripadvisor is my first port of call when choosing a hotel- I enter my destination, dates and select “traveller ranked.” This will give you the highest reviewed hotels in the destination and you’ll discover that a lot of the prices are surprisingly mixed. Another favourite of mine are sites like Verychic and SecretEscapes where you’ll find really good hotels (often at least four star) at significantly reduced prices. I booked my hotel for my last trip on SecretEscapes and have nothing but high praise for it- we saved around €150 off usual prices on our three night trip. I also recommend local Groupon sites for hotel searches- I booked a Paris hotel through the French Groupon website last year and saved over €300 on my three night stay. Booking through these websites usually grants you some perks- a room upgrade, breakfast included or a welcome drink. Well worth a look. Finally, remember the importance of location in choosing hotels. What good is booking a cheap hotel on the outskirts of the city if you’re going to spend the money you saved on Metro tickets for the duration of your holiday? Ensure that the city centre is at least within walking distance.
3. Choosing decent restaurants
I’m probably as much as a food enthusiast as a hotel enthusiast. Eating out abroad entails a completely new food experience and is one that I’m more than willing to try out. My first rule of thumb abroad is having the Tripadvisor app on my phone. Once you have access to WIFI you can turn on location in your app and find the highest rated restaurants near you. In the absence of a WIFI connection I walk around restaurants and see if they have the Tripadvisor Excellence sticker on their window- I actually won’t go in if there isn’t one! This is relatively easy and I do find that it usually guarantees a good meal.
4. Book attraction tickets online
This may not always save you money (it can sometimes be the same price as paying entry on arrival) but it will save you precious patience. Booking tickets to attractions online (for example the Empire State building, the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum) ensures that you don’t have to queue for tickets. You may also have a specific entry time which ensures that you can actually plan your day better. Thank me as you smugly skip the queues of mere mortals queuing for hours. 😉
Bon voyage- and if you see a deranged Irish female desperately following a Tripadvisor app on her phone in a foreign city it’s probably me!