Most people check the prices of the local travel agency and then they say travelling is expensive. Most of the times people don’t even know where they want to go and without realising, they choose premade travel packages, which may not be exactly what you need or want.
Talking to some friends, I’ve realised there are some tips for planning a holiday by yourself, which you should know.
People who book holidays through a travel agency are lazy people.
Sure sometimes they get bigger discounts because of the higher number of tourists, but when you want to go somewhere specific, it may not always be the case.
Nowadays we can travel anywhere, there is an infrastructure for it, and we have the tools to search for anything. You can get from point A to point B with more than one mean of transport.
The prices depend on:
- the day you’re buying
- the demand
- the number of days before the trip
Booking plane tickets
I always check some big search engines for flights, always in incognito window browser, and they check the same on the website of the airline.
Always buy from the website of the airline.
Planes can be expensive, and some countries don’t operate low-cost airlines. So open a map and take a look. How can you travel on land? Try taking a train to another city. Check the flights from there, if it’s still too far away.
Try to make connections. Match days and hours, plus transfer times, plus the cost of the transfer if necessary.
Travel by train
I love travelling by train. It’s comfortable and romantic and the train infrastructure in Europe is simply amazing. Because most countries are in the European Union, there are no borders. The trains stations have great connections, most countries have their own phone app, and everything can be done online. The wonders of the internet know no limits.
In most European countries, the railway companies have discounts for youth, below 26 years old, depends on the country. In Belgium, you get 50% if you are under 26 and in Austria you can buy a discount card for 1 year to get 50% of all tickets. Most companies have some cheaper tickets which must be bought a few days before the trip (up to 1 month before).
Check the connections yourself and check the prices directly on the railway website. If you are travelling from one country to another, check the price the tickets from both operators. You might be surprised.
I was travelling from Salzburg to Prague and the price from the Austrian railway system was 40 Eur and from the Czech Republic was 19Eur. Yes, it was the same train! So do your research and check all the options.
Travel by bus
In Europe, the train is the most expensive mean of transport, since we have a lot of low-cost airlines connecting most cities. But luckily, there are also many bus companies. Travelling by bus can be the cheapest, most time consuming and uncomfortable way of transport. That’s why we are discussing budget travel.
So next time you tell me you don’t have money to travel, think about the last time you took a bus to another country.
Travel during the night
Most transport companies have night trains or buses, which are cheaper. I always try to catch the first train on my first day of travel and the latest train when returning. This is how I make the most of the day and save time on travelling because I travel during the night.
It also saves one night of accommodation. I leave one city in the evening and then arrive at the next one in the morning. Trains are ok, but after 2 nights of sleeping on the bus, well then you get crazy.
In the end, is a matter of money vs. time. Of course, time is the most valuable resource, but when travelling is the priority, take your time and give it all in.