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Traveling young and free

September 2, 2010
by budgettravelsac

Guest post by Andy Hayes

While Andy has risen from humble beginnings to travel entrepreneur, you never forget your first trip.  As he looks back on his trip, he remembers lessons learned that helped shape his perspective on travel.  As a college kid, budget travel can teach you a lot about what is important when you travel.

Traveling young and free

My first international travel experience was certainly an interesting one.  As I mentioned in my interview, during college my friends and I were one of the first people to use Google when it was publicly available.  We used it mostly for academic research purposes, but naturally when the time came to plan our week getaway, Google was the first place we looked. (Oh the irony to say those words over 5 years later).  That trip was a lesson in extreme budgeting and a lot of those lessons still apply to me today, even though my budget is a bit larger and my travel tastes and interests have changed.  Here are a few of my budget travel lessons I learned while traveling young and free.

Research = Savings

The more research time you spend, the more money you’ll save, generally speaking.  That’s not to say you need every second of your trip planned out, but it is worthwhile to know what your options are and what things cost.  Last minute things are always more expensive, and when you aren’t organized you’ll end up paying more than you should for all the little things like taxis or buying one of those ridiculous multi-entry passes that end up costing you more money than you save.

Check out tips on how to save money on your next vacation.  If you want to learn how to budget at home or on vacation using a spreadsheet, check out Budgeting 101.

Know What’s Worth Paying For

This is a huge issue for me because so many people seem to have a warped sense of reality when it comes to their travel budget.  Let’s use an example from my trip.

We knew that one of the perfect and can’t-be-beat experiences for us on our budget college trip was being able to drive a 4×4 jeep across the desert.  It was just a must-have experience for us, so we made it a priority spending item.  That meant a few less souvenirs here and there and it meant that we had to do some DIY snorkelling instead of joining an organised tour.  But that’s ok, because we had the experience wanted.

What’s the experience you want?  Maybe that extra-expensive extravagant meal in Paris is your perfect dream experience.  So do it- and drop something silly like a walking tour when maybe you’d actually enjoy getting lost and wandering around anyway.

Sometimes the Best Things in Life are (Almost Free)

Let me be clear – there is no free lunch.  But when you travel, some of the best things to be enjoyed don’t cost anything.  Looking out over a romantic vista at sunset with your special someone.  Enjoying the peace and solitude of a city park after a long day of solo sightseeing.  Watching your children enjoy the playground in a foreign place.  It’s amazing how a good dose of fresh air makes a bit difference to a great holiday.  Even if you’re not an outdoors person, what about free museums and other local attractions that are worthy of your attention.

Stop worrying about money and start enjoying your time away.  That’s why it’s call a vacation.  You don’t have to be young to appreciate that.

Andy brings up a good point – what is budget travel?

Andy Hayes is the managing editor of popular travel lifestyle magazine Sharing Travel Experiences, which encourages you to travel more.  Featured in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic Traveler, he is also the founder of the website Dream Travel Jobs.

Check out more of my interviews and guest posts from travelers:

Adventure travel – Ted Nelson (Part I Adventure travel, Part II Interview)

Family travel – Jenna Francisco (Part I Family travel, Part II Interview)

From humble beginnings to travel entrepreneur – Andy Hayes

Travel with your five sense – Keith Jenkins

Sharing your travel experiences – Melvin Boecher

Social media, travel industry, and tourism – April Mescher (Part I, Part II, Part III)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2010 7:08 am

    That’s right. Many awesome things are free. The mist beautiful view for me was lake tekapo in NZ, it didn’t cost me at all. All I had to do was just hang out bear the lake. I spend days in that little town and awesome in so many ways.
    Great point Andy!


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