Exploring the country doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you do some good planning. You don’t have to set up a tight itinerary for every day that limits your flexibility, but you should know the route you want to take and roughly how long you plan to spend at each stop. This means there’s less chance of encountering unexpected costs, such as having to take last-minute flights, which can be very expensive.
Be accommodation savvy
There’s no need to stay in expensive hotel suites. A website like Airbnb gives you the opportunity to stay in someone’s home at much less expense. You will also get a chance to experience how local residents live, and your host can give you insider tips on great local restaurants and attractions.
If you’re planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park, staying in Gatlinburg at Great Smoky Mountain cabin rentals is an affordable option. The team at Smoky Mountain Realty Partners offers comfortable cabins that will be your ‘home away from home’ while you explore the area and experience its many attractions.
Travel out of season
In season, all the prices go up to take advantage of families who can only travel at those times because they have children in school. If you can, it is much better to travel out of season. Research the best time to visit the destination you have chosen and then travel just before or after its peak season.
This is called the ‘shoulder’ season. It gives you the chance to still enjoy the weather and everything the area has to offer, but the prices of accommodation are lower as soon as peak season ends.
Be smart about transport
The closer to your departure date you book your flights, the more you pay. Make sure you book any flights well in advance. Midweek travel prices are also cheaper than weekend prices, and the queues at airport check-in will be shorter. Fly economy and look for special deals offered by budget airlines.
Compare the cost of flying to journeying on a train or bus to your destination. It is likely to be much cheaper. At your destination, you could hire a bicycle to ride around as a cheap transport option. Public buses are another cheap mode of transport. Look into carpooling services as this can save you money when traveling on a budget.
Avoid tourist traps
Going to a tourist hotspot is likely to be a lot more expensive than going off the beaten path and visiting less well-known destinations and attractions. You will have more fun when you don’t have to battle with all the crowds and stand in queues like you do when visiting top tourist destinations. Eating spots are also likely to be less crowded and more affordable.
To find lesser-known destinations, talk to friends, research blogs or guides written by locals or ask restaurant staff. They may just know about a beach that’s tucked away and not as well known to tourists or a local spot near a waterfall that’s not crowded where you can have a picnic.
Don’t eat away your money
Rather buy lunch at a local fresh food market or the supermarket than eat at an expensive café or restaurant. Take along snacks for car trips rather than eating at roadside restaurants.
Don’t just go into the first restaurant you see to eat dinner. Ask locals for recommendations of restaurants where you can enjoy affordable, fresh, local food. Choose accommodation with a kitchen so you can cook for yourself and you will save plenty of money.