Travelling on a Budget

Lets be honest travelling is expensive with various expenses like ticket costs, accommodation, food, shopping etc. you need some good cash $ Now as I have said before and I’ll say it again before someone tries to jump my band wagon I am no expert. I am merely speaking based on my personal experience in efforts to help someone out, from one sister to another 🙂 The key to a successful peaceful travel experience is to PLAN AHEAD, the earlier the better. This includes ticket purchases, hotel accommodations, and money conversion. Do your research ahead before you get blind sided with extra costs and unpleasant surprises. Have an idea of what you plan to do during your time away. Where will you visit, for how long? What attractions are you interested in seeing? How much money will you need? Local scams? These are all questions you need to answer while planning a trip.

Tickets

I stressed this before and will again but honestly the earlier the better and cheaper. Once your certain where you are going, you have your days off of school, and work book that ticket!  I tend to be hard headed sometimes and this time was the wrong time for me to act up. I did not listen to my aunt and cousin when they told me to “book early Wida”. I mean it was February and I was not planning on traveling till June. Whats the hurry, relax guys! Really I should have listened to them because they have had far more traveling experiences then myself, (Mashallah). I was just a newbie and thought I knew it all, WRONG. 

 

IMG_0407
Before when the prices were nice and gucciIMG_0413

After the prices went up!

As they advised me to start looking I started to get a bit worried that “hey maybe they are right” and began searching. $1,266 CAD for YYZ -> LHR -> NBO return trip, amazing! Sure enough I still thought it was early and did not end up purchasing my ticket till mid March. I still had my eye out on my travel agents website as I  frequently checked the ticket price. It stayed the same for the next few weeks, so I still was in no rush.

 

Then tragedy happened, IT WENT UP not by a little amount either but $500 more (that was our whole budget for Paris). All I could hear was my families voice at the back of my head mocking me saying “told you so.” Hey we live and learn right? So I immediately booked it then moved forward from there.  

Same thing applies to train and bus tickets! We are at an advantage that everything is internet accessible. With a few clicks you can purchase anything. So why not take advantage and save a few bucks which you can put towards souvenirs and such.

Money

You always want to get the most for your money so when converting currency do not be in a rush. First do not go to any of those currency converter booths in the mall, random loan stores, the airport, or touristy locations. GO TO THE BANK! They will give you the current rate with the lowest fee. Speaking of rates if you are not in a rush, monitor the currency rates for a week or two to get the best rate for your dollar, pound, euro etc. If you can don’t change it all at once. The rate is always fluctuating so you don’t want to realize it has gown up or down right after you changed all your money.

 
I don’t know about you guys but I was not up to traveling with a lot of cash with me so I had about under $500 (which was still a lot). My mom was able to money transfer the rest through out my trip. In addition, make sure you have a credit card, in my case it was my life saver! No need to travel with your bank card, especially if your bank is only available in the country you reside in. The ATM and currency converting fee is ridiculous.

Accommodation

I was lucky to have family that I was able to stay with through my travels so I did not have the worry about booking and paying for hotels. However, if you don’t the best thing to do is once you have booked your plane ticket is start searching. Look for one’s close to transit or even better close to the main attractions you want to visit, however those tend to be pricier. Ultimately, check reviews thoroughly. If you keep seeing continuous good reviews keep checking, they might be hiding something. Better yet I usually just search the hotel name and insert “scams” if a lot comes up, you know to look for another one. It is so easy these days for companies to write their own reviews or even pay people to write good ones, so it is important to do a thorough search before booking.

Peace and Love,

 

Widaad

“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” 

 – Geoffrey Fisher

 

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