Visiting Edinburgh has been a lifelong dream of mine, one I always assumed was unrealistic. This last summer I got a taste of travel and thanks to advice from fellow adventurers, learned a few tips for affordable trips. A few days ago, I was playing around on my favorite travel resource sites and discovered that a trip to Edinburgh was not only realistic but inexpensive. I booked my trip for $740 total, including transportation, hostels, and entertainment. All I have left to pay for is food and any spontaneous adventures I might find myself on. Here are some tips to book your dream vacation without burning a hole in your pocket:
1. Skyscanner.com is your best friend.
Skyscanner is a great tool that searches hundreds of travel sites. I haven’t found a site that finds prices cheaper than Skyscanner. What I like most about this site is their search everywhere tool. Using this tool has opened up to visiting places I hadn’t initially considered. I visited Romania last summer and fell in love with the country!
2. Be flexible.
You can also search entire months on Skyscanner. The site will show you prices for each day. To utilize these great features, flexibility is essential. Being open with date and location can take you on an unexpected adventure and save you hundreds of dollars.
3. Travel in the off-season.
I took my last trip as tourist season was picking up. I booked this trip during January, which is not a heavy tourist season in the United Kingdom. With the holidays over and the cold weather peaking, cheap tickets were easy to find. I’m excited to experience winter in Scotland – and so is my pocket!
4. Stay in hostels.
Staying in hostels rather than hotels can save you hundreds. For a week in Scotland, I paid $75. You might be able to spend one night in a sketchy hotel for that price. For a lot of people, the thought of staying in a room with strangers can seem nerve-wracking, but it’s a lot safer than you might think. Most hostels have lockers in which you can keep your valuables and 24-hour security. I also recommend staying in larger dorms. They are cheaper, safer, and provide more opportunity for meeting fellow travelers. If safety is still a concern, many hostels have female only dorms and extensive online reviews and safety ratings. I recommend checking out hostelworld.com for your next trip.
5. Pack light.
It is easy to find no-frills flights for highly discounted prices. I was able to fly from Warsaw to Prague for $10 and from London to Edinburgh for $13. However, with these no-frills flights, your allowable baggage is limited. You can check out my advice for traveling light here.
6. Spend a lot of time shopping around.
When I say a lot, I mean a lot. I probably spend two to three hours a week playing around on these websites. Most days, I don’t find practical trips; but every so often, I find my dream adventure for cheap.
With enough thorough exploration, flexibility, and the right tools, it’s easy to book your dream adventure.