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Top Trip Memories
  • Taking a cargo boat up the river Niger to reach Timbuktu.
  • Living in a Buddhist monastery in India in exchange for teaching English lessons.
  • Experiencing home stays with families in Himalayan villages.
  • Spotting whales from the beach at Doradillo, near Puerto Madryn in Argentina.
  • Sampling street food and drink in Bangkok.
  • Taking a self-guided trek in the Langtang region of Nepal and staying at local tea houses.
  • Cycling around the Bagan temples of Myanmar.
  • Exploring the smaller (and cheaper) parks and reserves of Kenya, and getting up close with giraffes, wildebeest, rhinos, elephants, zebras and more.
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Tour Tips
  • Shop around. When paying for anything from flights to accommodation to luggage to a place to eat, the first price you find is unlikely to be the cheapest.
  • Do as the locals do. Eating at local cafes or street stalls instead of restaurants and traveling by local bus instead of taxi will not only stretch your budget further, but will give you a more authentic experience of the country too.
  • Choose your destinations wisely. Obviously traveling in Southeast Asia is going to be far cheaper than traveling in Europe, but a little research will show that Cambodia is also cheaper than Vietnam.
  • Significant discounts on accommodations and activities are often available during the off season. Student discounts may also be available, especially in Europe and the Americas, and some travel companies issue an intentionally recognized student card (ISIC) for those under 26 (even non-students).
  • If you're trying to stretch your budget, then accept a certain level of discomfort. You may not have a hot shower, or gourmet meals, or a private room, but it's worth it when it means you get to travel longer for less.
  • Have a splurge day every now and again. Treat yourself to a tasty meal, a softer bed, or whatever comfort you have been craving.
  • Consider working or volunteering abroad. It's a great way to travel without having to spend too much. Even if paid employment is hard to come by, you can often find work in exchange for a room or meals.
  • Don't become a slave to your budget! It's easy to fall into the habit of saying "I can't do that, it's too expensive.” But if you say this too often, you may return home having missed out on some once in a lifetime opportunities.
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Budget Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

12,984 Reviews

Excellent 10,279 Great 3,091 Average 4 Disappointing 3 Terrible 7

Rating Details

Value
4.8 Guide
4.8 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.8 Transportation
4.8 Meals
4.8
Tour Reviews

Perfect Trip to explore Italy for the 1st time

Gate 1 Travel Company Reviews

5.0 June 2017 Gate 1 Recommend: Yes My wife and I just returned from a 14 day Italy tour with Gate 1 for our 25th anniversary. It was our 1st time using them, and 1st escorted tour as well. We typically travel on our own and I was very skeptical of having someone else herd us around for 2 weeks, as I tend to always think I can do better on my own. Well, I was wrong! The entire experience was wonderful. We landed in Milan, spent 2 nights in Lake Como, 2 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Florence, then 3 nights in Rome and finally Sorrento. Our "luxury motor coach" was a really nice tour bus that was comfortable and well equipped. After seeing the chaos of driving in Italy (viral Vespas) I was very glad to leave all the driving to someone else and save my blood pressure. The Tour leader (Michela) was amazing. She was very knowledgeable and prepared, kept us very organized, but never rushed. The accommodations were great, nice hotels, king size beds, centrally located and nice and clean. We ended up doing all their optional tours. After seeing the quality of the local tour guides Gate 1 employs, we quickly realized we would have missed so much if we had attempted this on our own. We could have seen the same things, but the narrative from someone who was so knowledgeable and passionate about venues, we understood so much more about the subject, time period and the artists. We didn't have to wait on long lines at venues with the "condemned" like the Sistine Chapel or the Coliseum. We had wonderful meals in Tuscany at vineyards, a fun interactive dinner opera show (I hate opera), and they went out of the way to make us feel special on our actual anniversary. I look forward to using them again and recommending them to our friends and relatives. They won't be our choice for every destination vacation, but for any visit where we want to do a lot of sight seeing, and especially in a country that is not English speaking, they will be our 1st stop. Read more

Avalon Affinity – Rhone cruise 2017 - Disappointing – some good bits and some poor

Avalon Waterways Company Reviews

3.0 May 2017 Avalon Waterways Recommend: Yes First the good – the crew onboard gave exceptional service; the food was good and most of the included excursions were well organised. The poor came under 3 categories, firstly exhaust fumes in the cabin; secondly, some of the organisation and thirdly, communications.

Regarding communications, we booked this cruise through an agent. Avalon boasted that regional flights within the UK are offered. With no explanation they did not offer us flights from Bristol They gave a small discount enough to cover the flights, but not transfers. This would still be better than travelling to Gatwick. It took 2-3 weeks to find out that our transfer would be from Nice airport to Cannes – further than we were expecting. So we negotiated for transfers to be included. They agreed. When we arrived at Nice airport, our names were not on the list for transfer. We were told that we should have a voucher to produce. We had no vouchers and very little information. We were however able to join another couple in a car to the hotel, and were assured that transfers from Paris would be included. They were, but our names were still added in biro to an already typed list. On the boat, I wrote 2 sides of A4 to Avalon’s head office and gave it to the cruise director. I asked some questions about regional flights, and where things went wrong. I never had a reply. Listening to others on the cruise, it seems that flights and transfers were haphazard. A group flew from Manchester to Nice via Amsterdam. Another couple from Somerset were taken by car from Wiltshire to Gatwick (a lot further than the 75 mile pick up they offer), but had flights at antisocial times. The organisation and communication could do with review.

The organisation of the cruise itself was patchy. There were some excellent excursions, but we seemed to spend a lot of time moored up, and on some days, would arrive and leave two or three different towns without any or much time to look around. I realise that this depends on many things, but perhaps it could be looked at. Some days were lost to travelling. Information was lacking too. We were always told what time the boat was leaving, but not what time it would arrive and how long we would be sailing/moored for. This information could help people plan.

The third issue is of fumes in the cabin. This happened when we were stationary – quite a lot of the time. We were advised to turn our air conditioning off at these times, but then it got very stuffy. When moored up, if we opened the window fumes would sometimes also blow in. We looked at the stern of the boat and saw that the two exhausts were just below what looked like the inlet for the ventilation, so it was hardly surprising that this was a problem when the boat was not moving. It was not pleasant, and was disappointing. We have been on two other cruises including a river cruise in the last year and had no such problems on either of them.

In all, I would not recommend Avalon. I don’t think we will be using them again.
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I would say it was the best experience of my life

Indochina Discovery

5.0 April 2017 G Adventures Recommend: Yes I would say it was the best experience of my life. I was worried about the trip as i thought perhaps there may have been alot of younger people who were not like minded on it. This trip allowed me to meet many amazing people from all over the world and see and experience things i could never imagine being possible. The thing that made the trip so amazing for me was mainly our guide Chenda. If it wasn't for his knowledge and wisdom throughout the trip and giving us an incite into his life in Cambodia it would not have been the trip it was. I particularly enjoyed when Chenda took us to local home stays and to local places to eat. These experiences I will never forget. I felt at all times due to Chendas professionalism and caring nature i always felt very safe and at ease with where i was and what was doing. I felt the trip was so well organised and was so diverse every day. I struggled with how sad i f Read more

India is an interesting place but a challenging one with the amount of pollution in the air causing myself to have issues with breathing and traveling in open air tuk tuks for large distances unsuitable

Uncover India–Delhi to Goa

5.0 April 2017 G Adventures Recommend: Yes India is an interesting place but a challenging one with the amount of pollution in the air causing myself to have issues with breathing and traveling in open air tuk tuks for large distances unsuitable. Personally I think G adventures did a good job with the trip overall but some of the transport links between locations could have been better and it felt like money savings were being made. In Peru and Vietnam we had coaches organised for full days which made it eastier to get to the optional activities but in India we had to constantly pay for extra transport which became a frustration. Also sometimes vehicles did not have enough space for people and bags which shouldnt happen even on a basic trip. The above is meant as feedback and overall i enjoye Read more

It was a great time because of the CEO, but I felt like the pace of the tour was too fast because I spent half of the time on this tour on a bus or train

East Coast Encompassed–Sydney to Cairns

4.0 April 2017 G Adventures Recommend: Yes It was a great time because of the CEO, but I felt like the pace of the tour was too fast because I spent half of the time on this tour on a bus or train. I got to see a lot of different places, but I don't really feel like I got enough time to enjoy any of them. I think that the ground covered on this tour should take at least 25-30 days to do properly. Activities in Cairns and Sailing in the whitsundays were definitely the highlight of this trip. Air conditioned vehicles and accommodation are essential to keeping morale up, and I feel like everyone would have had a much better time and a lot more energy if we had A/C the whole way through (especially at the end) I learned a lot about the east coast of Australia on this trip, so I will definitely be returning next year to airlie Read more
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Budget Travel Trips & Tour Advice

Traveling on a budget can have its downsides, such as dingy hostels, long journeys on uncomfortable buses, and hours of searching for the best price. But don't overlook the upsides to budget travel. Eating at street stalls, staying with local families, and traveling overland can provide a far more authentic experience than that of a luxury traveler. Not to mention that traveling on the cheap will allow you to travel for longer. So swap that fancy restaurant for a local cafe, that luxury hotel for a tent, and that private taxi for a shared jeep, and find out what new experiences lie in store (and how much you can save).

Accommodation

When traveling on a budget, your accommodation will likely consist of hostels, tents, home stays, and basic guesthouses or hotels. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Hostels can be wonderfully social places, with lively common areas and lots of like-minded travelers. Small, locally run guesthouses and hotels can have a charm and warmth to them that is unheard of in large hotel chains. Camping tours can be a great way to experience nature, and provides the thrill of roughing it in the wilderness. And home stays offer a insight into local life unlike any other. Shop around to see what suits you, and be sure to ask about discounted rates.

Transport

Transportation on a budget will likely involve local buses, shared vehicles, and trains, with flights often being out of the question. Again, this is not always a bad thing. Traveling overland offers views and local experiences that are missed out on by those in the air. Yes, there may be horrible experiences of being bounced around on unpaved roads, going stir-crazy on 20 hour bus journeys, or being squashed into the back of a shared jeep, but sometimes these experiences are the ones you'll remember most fondly!

Overnight transportation can be a blessing or a curse. If it's comfortable, it can be a handy way to save money on accommodation while sleeping away the distance between destinations. Uncomfortable overnight journeys, however, can really test your limits. The comfort varies from region to region. South America has overnight buses with seats comfier than any bed, while Europe has trains with individual cabins to rival some hotels. Parts of Asia and Africa, however, have overnight buses that can be downright painful (as well as incredibly cheap accommodation, making overnight transportation not worthwhile anyway).

Wherever you are, when booking tickets, have a look at the price differences between classes- sometimes air conditioning or a reclining seat are worth the extra dollar or two.

Food and Drink

When dining abroad on a budget, you'll have to forgo snooty restaurants with pristine tablecloths and imported drinks. Instead, you'll be forced to dine on fresh, local food, drink local beer with plenty of cheap refills, and chat to local people at roadside stalls or in cosy diners. Actually sounds quite appealing, doesn't it?

Activities and Interests

Here's where travel costs can really spiral out of control. A visit to a safari park, for example, can be a camping trip with basic amenities or a private tour with luxury hotels, with thousands of dollars in the difference. Look at the cheapest trips available, but make sure to find one that suits your needs. It's not worth saving money if you end up missing out on memorable experiences, or on a tour you don't enjoy. The cheapest is not always the best value.

Working, Volunteering, and Studying

Working, volunteering, or studying abroad can be a great way to experience life in another country while keeping costs to a minimum. Even if you aren't earning much (or anything at all), you may be able to work in exchange for accommodation and meals. Also, staying in one place rather than moving around can keep costs down, as well as allowing you to really experience a destination in depth.

The availability of paid work varies greatly from region to region, as does the amount of pay, so if you are planning to work abroad, pick your destination wisely. Teaching English is often a good job opportunity in Asia, Central America, and South America, especially if you have a qualification such as a TEFL certificate. Getting a work visa may be difficult in some countries, however in places such as Australia, it is common for visitors to stay for a year on a working visa and find a job. If you cannot find paid work, you may be able to work in exchange for accommodation. In South America, for example, it is common for hostel guests to work in exchange for a free bed. Make sure these kinds of deals are worth it though- you may find yourself working for several hours in exchange for saving just a few dollars.

Volunteering is another excellent way of living for less abroad, not to mention doing some good while traveling. Do your research when finding a volunteering opportunity, as some organizations charge substantial amounts for finding placements, while others do so for free, and others, such as the Peace Corps, even pay volunteers. Some placements will provide food and accommodation, and some of the most rewarding placements can be in destinations where costs are minimal.

Studying abroad may not provide any money or free accommodation, but it still allows you to do something worthwhile in one destination, rather than spending all your travel fund moving from place to place. Substantial discounts are also often available when booking accommodation for a longer period. And it's a great opportunity to follow a passion, whether it's learning to tango in Buenos Aires, learning to cook in Italy, or learning to speak Mandarin in Beijing.

Budget Destinations by Region

Of course, the easiest way to keeps costs down when traveling is to choose a cheap destination.

Asia: Asia is budget traveller heaven. Countries such as India, Nepal, China, and most of Southeast Asia allow you to live on a budget of as little as $10 a day, while offering incredible sights and unforgettable experiences.

Africa: Many less-visited African countries can be very budget-friendly, though travel and sleeping conditions may be tough if you really insist on the cheapest option. Even more touristy countries such as Kenya and South Africa are very affordable, particularly if you choose your trips and safaris wisely.

South and Central America: This gigantic region comes with a vast range in prices. Argentina, for example, is one of the cheaper countries, while just next door, Chile is one of the most expensive. One major cost is getting around the massive landmass- those long bus journeys through Patagonia, and short haul flights over the Amazon do not come cheap. So plan your route well.

North America: North America doesn't come cheap. If you're trying to keep costs down, the easiest way is to avoid trying to cover vast distances, and focus on smaller areas. Though if you're determined to see as much as possible, try renting a car, or better yet, a camper van. These rentals can be surprisingly cheap (be warned, however, that insurance is not included in the initial price, and can bump up the overall cost significantly).

Europe: Even a short visit to London, Paris or Rome comes with a price tag that would shock some luxury travelers. But Europe is not out of the question for budget travelers. Inter-railing (traveling by train on a multi-stop ticket), road tripping, and camping are all popular means of affordable travel. And don't forget that a trip to Central or Eastern Europe costs a fraction of the price of a visit to its western counterpart.

Australia and New Zealand: It's difficult, though not impossible, to visit Australia and New Zealand without having a large budget or a local job. Not only are they two very expensive countries, but they are located in their own far flung corner of the globe, and therefore costly for most travelers to reach. If you're determined to visit here on a budget, try camping or couch surfing for free accommodation, or look for hostels where you can cook your own meals. Also, keep in mind that air fare prices are significantly lower outside of the peak summer season (December to February).

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