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Long haul travel on a budget

With winter fast upon us, it seems everyone’s brains are turning to their next great escape. But winter in Europe can often be dreary, to say the least… so why not consider expanding your horizons? Long haul travel doesn’t have to be daunting—rather, it can be an affordable way to see the world. Here are some of our tips to help you begin thinking about your next big adventure.

 Branch out

It’s easy to be swayed by classic destinations, like the excitement of Japan or the bright lights of Los Angeles. But don’t forget to consider the daily cost of living, and consider branching out to some more unusual destinations. Who wouldn’t love to brag to their friends about an adventure to India’s glorious western state of Goa?

Timing matters

There are certain times of the year when demand—and ticket prices—can spike, so you’re best off if you’ve got a little flexibility. The benefit of long haul travel, however, is that during your region’s high season, you can scope out a destination where it’s off-peak. The one exception to this rule is mid-December to the beginning of January, when worldwide travel can peak as people travel to visit family. The creative traveller can use this to their advantage, however—in most locales, the climate in late January is not going to be far different from the climate in December, but your flight, hotel, and activity prices may very well be!

 And… timing matters

No one likes a red-eye, but if you’re travelling a sizable distance, you’re likely spending enough time at your destination to recover from jet lag. If you’re willing to fly early in the morning, late at night, or in multiple legs, you’re likely to benefit from some serious savings. Plus, if you’re travelling across a number of time zones, your body may actually adjust more quickly anyway—many travellers report that past a certain point of “time zone confusion,” their circadian rhythms are more easily adjusted on arrival. Of course, you should still practise healthy travel habits to make sure you don’t get too run down.

Travel insurance, sorted

Travellers are constantly debating whether travel insurance is worth what it costs to obtain, and there is never a clear answer. However, if you look at the potential risk factors of your particular itinerary—weather, your health, amount of money down, etc.—you may well find that buying travel insurance is a worthwhile bet. Coverage is usually inexpensive, and well worth it to cover flights and the headache of navigating foreign medical services alone.

 Don’t overpack

When travelling to a far-off destination, it’s easy to panic and pack everything you might possibly need, just in case you can’t find something similar on arrival. But if you’ve picked your destination with care, you may find that the local currency compared to the GBP makes items a lot less expensive than at home that you’d do well to just put your faith in the local shops (remembering that local pharmaceutical laws may vary, so always bring your own medications). And if you can’t find just the right brand of tissues or toothpaste that you like? Well, that’s all part of the adventure of travel—you might just find a new product you like even more!

Consider your daily costs at home

We’re not recommending that you rationalise every souvenir purchase this way, but if you’re living in the UK, or one of Europe’s major cities, your daily life is probably pretty pricey. Think about it: transit, petrol, meals out… it adds up! If you plan your far-off getaway right, you could actually find that you’re spending far less than you might think compared to your daily life.

 To plan ahead, or not to plan ahead?

This is always a point of contention, with many independent travellers looking to begin planning their journeys months in advance to scour for the best deals. If you’re in the market for a tour or all-inclusive holiday, though, you may benefit from last-minute savings as operators see what inventory has gone unsold.

Don’t assume that a long haul journey is out of your reach just because the cost of a plane ticket might appear intimidating at first. There are plenty of ways to keep costs down, and ensure that you have a memorable holiday in a far-flung locale this year! Do you have any tips to share about how to control costs on long journeys? We’d love to hear them!