Traveling abroad shouldn’t be ruled out as an option just because you’re on a tight budget. If done wisely, international travel can be just as affordable as domestic trips. Practice these tips to make sure you stretch out your dollar to the fullest, and spend this summer soaking sun across the globe.
Scour the skies
We all know flights can be steep any day of the year. Want to travel in the summer? Forget it, right? It’s high season practically everywhere. Practically. To find those discounted destinations use Kayak Explore, a handy online tool that scans the skies for the cheapest flights. Flying out from Jacksonville (JAX) this summer is a flight to London for just $702 or Cancun for $257. With all the choices, you might find yourself hard-pressed to settle on just one city for your international excursion. Other helpful tools include Skyscanner, Secret Flying and Hipmunk.
Ditch traditional lodging
On average, half or more of travel budgets often get sucked up by hotel accommodations. Instead of booking traditional rooms (you know, a queen bed, mini fridge and bathroom) channel your energy into browsing Airbnb. This established online community offers travelers a variety of unique vacation rentals from private rooms to entire homes to luxury villas. You might be surprised how much you’ll get for less than what you’re spending at hotels. Other budget-friendly options include Couchsurfing and hostels.
Make for the markets
Forget making reservations, just head to the local markets for your meals. There, you’ll often find a culinary mecca brimming with freshly baked goods, sizzling street food and other local fare. If your accommodations include a kitchen (most on Airbnb do) try cooking your own meals from the ingredients you find at the market. Not only will you get the local experience, but you’ll be saving a great deal, too.
Use local transportation
Car rentals can run up the bill. Instead, get a pass for the local metro. These passes can be purchased individually, weekly or monthly. Using the local transportation allows you to hobnob with locals, while offering you the freedom to hop on and off without having to park the car. If you know you’re staying within a reasonable distance from your destination, rent a bike and cycle your way around town. It’s a great way to discover the city and get a good workout at the same time.
Some of the best ways to discover a city don’t involve a huge price tag or any at all! Walking down streets, people watching and visiting public parks are usually free. Many popular destinations even offer complimentary admissions to museums and select attractions. The key is to spend some time researching what your destination offers. Visit websites, subscribe to newsletters and follow bloggers from your destination. When it doubt, ask your destination’s information center.
Abroad Via Jax
Here are some drool worthy flights flying out from JAX this summer (prices based on Kayak Explore for summer 2015):
- JAX to LIM (Lima, Peru) – $661
- JAX to HKG (Hong Kong) – $878
- JAX to SJO (San Jose, Costa Rica) – $459
- JAX to MXP (Milan, Italy) – $872
For those of you seeking deeper discounts, try flying out from neighboring airports. Tickets are generally cheaper at larger hubs, like nearby Orlando (MCO). Rent a car and turn the drive into a mini roadtrip.
- MCO to SJU (San Juan, Puerto Rico) – $255
- MCO to RIO (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – $552
- MCO to DUB (Dublin, Ireland) – $640
- MCO to BCN (Barcelona, Spain) – $746