There is an old adage that says "travel is the one thing that you buy that makes you richer". If you're reading this, chances are you're of the same mindset, and while you probably feel that travel is worth every penny, it is also an undeniably expensive pursuit. This is especially true of adventure travel, which often takes us to some of the more out-of-the-way places on the planet in pursuit of our next travel fix. Unfortunately, that fix usually comes with a hefty price tag, which is often the main stumbling block that prevents us from traveling more often.
But fear not fellow travelers, as there are a few suggestions that might save you some cash when you book your next trip. Read on for some helpful hints that will help you keep some cash in your pocket, without compromising your dreams of adventure.
Be Flexible With Travel Plans
If you can be a bit flexible with your travel plans, and don't have to book a trip too far in advance, you can often get some incredibly good deals on last-minute trips. Many tour operators try to sell the remain openings on their fast-approaching departures at steep discounts in an effort just to fill the spots. A number of great adventure travel companies even have pages on their websites dedicated solely to offering discounted rates on last-minute departures. This allows them to sell out a tour while giving travelers with flexible itineraries the chance to save some serious money.
Take for example G Adventures, a company that offers trips to every continent on the planet. Their page for last-minute deals is constantly being updated, and always offers some great trips at substantial savings.
One way to ensure you'll spend a lot of money on travel is to visit a destination during its busy season, or after it has become insanely popular with mainstream travelers. If you can arrange to visit when traffic is low, you'll almost certainly get better deals, and probably have many of the popular sites completely to yourself. Similarly, sometimes a natural disaster or political unrest can cause travelers to shy away from a destination as well, even though the area is completely safe. This can lead to some fantastic deals if you're willing to risk a visit during those lean times.
For instance, Egypt has been a volatile place in recent years, and as a consequence, tourism is way down. It is still a destination that every adventure traveler should see however, and if you don't mind taking a bit of risk, you can marvel at some of the great wonders of the world on the cheap.
Comparison Shop Online
The Internet has made it incredibly easy for travelers to comparison shop online, and it is important to use this great tool to your advantage. Look for the best deals on airfare of course, but always check multiple outlet so ensure you're getting the best deal possible. Sites such as Kayak or FlightNetwork can vary greatly in their pricing, or offer different flight options that you didn't even know existed. Similarly, if you're taking a guided trip, such as a hike along the Inca Trail, check multiple companies to see who is offering the best price and services.
The costs for those kinds of adventure tours can vary greatly, even though what each company offers probably won't be all that different. And if you're dealing with guides directly at your destination, you can often haggle to find the best deal as well, just be sure to check for reviews and comments so you know you're getting the level of service that you expect.
Barter For A Better Price
While you aren't likely to get the airlines or big travel companies to budge on their prices, once you have reached your destinations, it is always a good idea to haggle some. Local guides are a completive group, and they'll often take less money to have a job, over sitting at home earning nothing. You can extend this same principle to cab drivers, street vendors, and even some restaurants. In many countries, bartering is part of the business, and it is expected. If you don't try to haggle some, you're simply paying more than you should.
For many of us, the thrill of visiting a foreign country is a big part of why we enjoy travel so much. After all, who doesn't like experiencing new landscapes, foods, and cultures. But we shouldn't be in such a rush to travel abroad that we lose sight of what our own country has to offer in terms of travel opportunities as well. Chances are, you can find some great opportunities for adventure close to home, and save yourself quite a bit of money in the process. The cost of airfare alone will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, and you probably won't need to hire guides or join a tour group either.
Options for accommodations open up widely too, allowing you to spend as little or as much as you'd like. Traveling at home provides great flexibility, is often safer, and you won't have to worry about being screwed by a nasty exchange rate.
Travel With Friends
In recent years, solo travel has become more popular, and at times it can be a great way to break out of your comfort zone. But if you're looking to save some money, traveling with friends can certainly help. It is not uncommon for tour operators to offer group discounts for instance, and if you're traveling independently, sharing the costs on transportation, accommodations, guides, meals, and other expenses can be make a trip far more affordable. Traveling with a group – or even one other person – can alter the dynamic of the trip, and take away the ability to be flexible, but it is one way to cut costs.