We oftentimes hold ourselves back from some experiences because of monetary issues. Especially as college students, our means to travel are quite limited. When faced with this issue, there are two options: Don’t travel or travel on a budget. As a lover of travel, I’m most likely going to opt for the second option.
Traveling on a budget may come easier to some than others. Luckily, budgeting is a quick and easy fix to allow for cheaper travel while still benefiting from the full experience of seeing and experiencing different cultures.
One way to travel cheaply is to drop the souvenirs. Yes, there are cute snow globes with the little people inside to represent skiing or somewhere cold, and there’s a mini sea turtle sculpture to represent time spent in the Caribbean, but not buying them can save you a lot of money. Souvenirs may be cute and seemingly inexpensive at first, but let’s be honest, do you set the snow globe out on the kitchen counter or will it be pushed to the back of the closet where you find it 10 years later? In my experience, it has been the latter.
In order to combat spending unnecessarily on souvenirs, I tend to take more pictures while traveling. Pictures are not only inexpensive, and most of the time free, but also do the job of saving memories in a photograph. Experiences and cultures can be captured and memories made will forever be cherished. After visiting a few snowy or cold places, will you remember which place was once home to the snow globe? Probably not.
My personal way of gathering souvenirs from all of the places I’ve traveled to is to collect leftover money. To me, it’s not worth it to have a small bill of foreign currency exchanged back to American dollars. So instead, I keep it as my souvenir from the trip. I have a plan to create a collage of currency from different countries I’ve visited to hang up or display somewhere in my house in the future. Having this collage will constantly remind me of my experiences and may even serve as a conversation starter with guests. Anything to spark a conversation about my travel experiences is always welcome.
In addition to cutting back on souvenirs, eating on a budget would save more money than you could ever believe. Eating while traveling is an extremely large expense that is often not thought about, yet your wallet slowly drains from all of the necessary meals and snacks. Eating at nice restaurants while traveling is often a nice way to sit back and relax after a busy day of exploring, but is it truly necessary to experience the place you’re visiting if you want to travel on a budget? Again, probably not. I’m in no way saying that eating at nice restaurants is bad, but to cut back on the expenses, cheaper restaurants may be the way to go.
One of the best parts of travel is the ability to search online and discover restaurants or places to visit off the beaten path. Exploring areas not often visited by tourists can lead to some of the best places you’ll visit on your trip, and many times, the cheaper option. If you’re trying to travel on a budget, forgo the fancy upscale restaurant and explore other local options, both to experience local culture and save some cash while you’re at it.
Traveling on a budget takes practice, but once it’s mastered, there’s no going back to souvenir buying and upscale dining — well, sometimes, if you want to splurge. Next time you’re out exploring the world, check out places off the beaten path and take more pictures — you’ll save a lot of money and focus more on the experiential rather than the material aspect of travel.
Danielle Campbell, ’18, is an assistant visuals editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]