Very little is as satisfying as arriving at a new destination prepared to explore and enjoy a fresh environment. If you’re a keen traveler and want to make the most of your opportunities, then you might want to consider ways to finance your journeys and savor your freedom to discover the wider world. Here are a few tips for saving before you go, saving as you’re making plans and even more saving when you’re actually on the move.

Before you go

Even small adjustments can make a big difference. If you are saving for a major trip, then ensure that you know about the best ways to optimize spending on your utilities. After all, you can always turn the heating down a fraction and wear an extra sweater if it’s going to buy you more time on the beach in the Bahamas. You can also make sure to switch lights off when you leave a room and take care to not leave devices on standby. If your appliances are energy efficient, then you’ll cut down your household bills, and if you occasionally walk a few blocks instead of taking the car or hopping onto the bus, then you’ll notice health benefits as well as financial ones.

In fact, self-help is a great way to save money before you travel. Making your own lunch and coffee is well worth the modest investment in reusable sandwich bags and a thermos bottle. If you’re looking forward to enjoying the culinary delights of far-flung places, then you can get involved in home cooking as an all-around healthier and cheaper option compared to eating out. Remember, you can also bring your own food onto a plane as long as it’s not a liquid or viscous item such as hummus or yogurt.

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While you’re planning your escape

Once your savings are beginning to look good, you’ll want to start planning your trip. If you’re flying, then you need to consider the cheapest dates and times to go and return as well as get better deals by shopping around and booking early. Comparison sites are useful for this, particularly if they allow you to view a month at a time. You should also check whether using airports that are slightly further away might be beneficial, even if you have to use a train or bus to do so.

Traveling in low season and splitting flights can also help you save money – for example, you can fly to Europe via Paris but return via London. Another money-saving option involves taking advantage of indirect flights, or those that involve a stopover. This can provide great opportunities if money is important but time is less of a problem.

If you’re traveling over land, then choosing a national bus or passenger train is likely to save money on standard automobile costs, including gas as well as wear and tear.

While you’re away

For the truly adventurous, visiting another continent can be awe-inspiring. As well as Antarctica, Europe, Africa and Asia, you’ll find that New Zealand and Australia beckon with tempting offers and some great financial incentives in terms of travel and accommodations.

For example, Sydney vacation rentals and self-catering apartments offer great value compared to downtown hotel accommodations and are ideal for exploring Australia’s capital. In London, England, you can save money by staying in chic apartments rather than more expensive alternatives. Backpackers’ hostels vary from place to place, and it’s best to be well informed before booking one in a country that you’re not familiar with.

If you travel as part of a group, then this can help save money on transportation as well as accommodations, so why not gather a few friends together and suggest an adventure?

Best budget bets

Finally, if you’re looking forward to getting away and want to know some of the cheapest places for a vacation, then you can count Thailand, Vietnam and South Africa among those regions where everything is affordable, including the scenery and the cuisine. Not far behind on this list are Uruguay, Greece and Cuba, closely followed by Prague in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Guatemala.

For a very different cultural and spiritual experience, you might choose to visit India or Egypt, both of which have long histories and are packed with extraordinary art and architecture. Mark Twain was right when he said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” Wherever you go, make sure to savor and embrace the similarities that you observe and experience as well as the differences.