Adventure Guides

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget, Part 1

Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith is a travel guru with a lifetime of valuable experiences. Here are a few gems he suggests if you’re looking for an inexpensive, authentic trip.


Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith is a travel guru with a lifetime of valuable experiences. Here are a few gems he suggests if you’re looking for an inexpensive, authentic trip.

Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget. Photo from the Dominican Republic taken by Kristen Kellogg.

1. Wait patiently before purchasing your plane ticket.

Airline ticket prices fluctuate, so be a little coy before you commit. Switch your browser to incognito mode so your cookies don’t give away your intentions, then check back on prices often. You can catch the best deals by keeping the timing and location of your trip flexible. Stay open to destiny!

Turn to sites like kayak.com/explore for cheap flight options. You can also set up alerts that notify you when flights to your dream location go on sale, buy unused airline miles on Craigslist, or commute to fly out of major airports. Also, try using a credit card that gives you miles as rewards so you can work your way to adventure, one hamburger at a time.

Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget. Photo from Nicaragua taken by ambassador James Roh.

2. Choose your wheels wisely.

Once you get to your destination, try anything from trains, trucks, tuk-tuks, bikes, scooters, taxis, or even your own two feet. If you use a taxi, talk to three or four cabdrivers before settling on a price and never use a cab right outside the airport—unless you’re looking to get rid of your money as fast as possible.

Be sure to give yourself more time to get around than you need. You never know when you might stumble across a beautiful cathedral or get stuck behind a flock of wandering sheep. Pad your itinerary for the unexpected.

NMagazineDominica_41_BorderFreeTravels white Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget. Photo from Yosemite taken by ambassador Tiffany Ngyuen.

3. Expand your sleeping horizons.

Housing will likely be your second biggest traveling expense. Luckily, this is where you can get creative. CouchSurfing, AirBnB, and HomeAway are all authentic ways to stay with locals at an unbeatable price. Or, try bartering for a hotel room: offer to clean dishes, fix appliances, or give business advice in exchange for a deal.

If you find yourself sleeping in an airport, don’t fret! Sleepinginairports.net provides an enormous database full of all the secrets you’ll need to sleep soundly in any airport.

Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget. Photo from the Thailand taken by Kristen Kellogg.

4. Follow your gut. And everyone else’s.

Be brave regarding local cuisine and you’ll open yourself up to a whole new dimension of traveling. Don’t shy away from street food or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. As long as they are busy, you probably don’t need to worry.

Carry a stash of granola bars with you to stave off hunger, and save money by buying food in grocery stores rather than going out for every meal. When you do decide to splurge and eat out, be sure to consult tripadvisor.com. This site is full of the wisdom of world travelers who can lead you to culinary success.

Traveling doesn’t have to be a huge production. Start small with road trips or short flights to neighboring states. Make travel a priority and stick to a disciplined budget. This will make room for more adventures in your life—which is definitely a llama-approved activity.

Want more? Here’s Traveling Tips Pt. 2.

 


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