Traveling is for sure one of my favorite ways to spend the vacation. Recently, I even made a list of thirteen places abroad I wish to travel to this year… Yup, that’s a lot and I probably won’t do it all but even a half of that would make me incredibly happy.
Well, and of course, traveling is not free. It’s possible to travel and spend a fortune or to travel on a budget, or to find that perfect balance.
Actually, that perfect balance is exactly what I want to share with you. I’m, just like everyone else, have an ordinary full-time job, limited vacation time, and financial responsibilities, which means I simply don’t have a fortune for traveling. Considering all that, I must plan my traveling carefully. So where do I start?
First of all, I set my travel budget. Yup, that is correct. In order to travel, I need to save money for some time. And knowing my financial capabilities at a particular time in the future, I do some other kind of planning.
A list of places and approximate duration of each trip – that’s also a very important part of my travel planning. It’s like a bucket list but a more real one.
For example, this year, my travel bucket list looks like this:
- Warsaw – weekend
- Lviv – weekend
- Tallinn – weekend
- Paris – 4-6 days
- Amsterdam – up to 5 days
- Romania – one-two weeks
- Georgia – one-two weeks
- Saint Petersburg – weekend
- Croatia – one week
- Azores – up to 10 days
- Vietnam – one month
- Norway – at least one week
Now let’s look at this list a bit deeper. So as you probably can tell already, there are some cheaper-to-be destinations, such as Lviv or Romania, and some a bit expensive ones, like Amsterdam or Norway. Also, some of them can be weekend getaways, such as Tallinn or Saint Petersburg, and others obviously would take a week or so, such as Azores or Vietnam.
What that’s all about? It’s a combination of destinations that are both cheaper or expensive ones as well as short or longer ones (in terms of the time spent there). And this particular combination is also based on my financial and vacation-related resources (not too realistic though).
Once I know where I want to travel, I hunt for the tickets. Google Flights is my best friend at this stage. This is a perfect place to look for cheap plane tickets with no particular destination but with price and time filters on. I like to set the price for up to 100 Eur, choose a weekend in a month when I’ll be busy but could find three or four days for a quick adventure, and just look for the tickets I couldn’t resist. Actually, during the past couple of years, most of my travel destinations were chosen based on Google Flights’ suggestions.
This is a perfect place to look for inexpensive tickets for the desired destination and therefore travel without spending a fortune.
Some other platforms I also check out from time to time are Skyscanner, Wizzair, Ryanair and Air Baltic websites, and international busses.
This year I already got three weekend-getaways planned because of the cheap tickets I found. The first trip already happened, it was a weekend in Tallinn, and now I’m waiting for a few days in Warsaw in March, and then four days in Lviv in April. I was lucky to get bus tickets from Vilnius to Warsaw for 14 Eur both ways so when someone swears that traveling is expensive, I can assure you, it’s not.
Okay, so after finding the tickets to the desired destination and back, what’s the next step to be done?
Double bed in a nice room, please
Checking hotels, hostels, and apartment options.
The thing is, plane tickets can be unusually cheap, but the accommodation on given dates can be very expensive. Therefore, before buying the tickets, I always check for accommodation options.
For example, recently I found incredibly cheap plane tickets for six days in Paris in May. However, the hotels and apartments were super expensive on those dates and I simply couldn’t fit that into my travel budget. But I also found nor cheap nor expensive tickets to Lviv and the accommodation for that date was so cheap I couldn’t believe. So were going to Lviv instead of Paris.
Where do I look for the accommodation?
On Booking and or AirBnB. That’s it. Other platforms do not exist for me. I like the various options these two platforms provide, the opportunity to read lots of reviews before deciding where to stay and the trustworthiness of both platforms. That’s because I love to travel stress-free and I want to be sure everything will go smoothly and as planned. I’m sure you’re also using these platforms when planning your adventures but in case you don’t, here’s a Booking reward for a first time user and AirBnB reward too!
So. When the tickets are ready to be bought and the accommodation option is sorted out and suits your needs, it’s about time to get those tickets and choose where you’ll be dreaming sweet adventurous dreams!
One more thing
It’s about that but one more thing should be kept in mind. If you have no idea if the country or city itself is expensive or cheap or normal, find out about the cost of living. Usually, this can be seen already when looking for accommodation. When the accommodation seems expensive, probably most of the other things in that city or country also be expensive for you. Therefore, the cost of living comparison can help you to decide if this destination will be what you are looking for.
And that’s how we can travel the world without spending a fortune. And it’s not only pretty words. I was traveling like that for a couple of years now and it was truly amazing. Try it for yourself!