Travelling on a budget

Given the current economic woes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d have to stay put and scrap any immediate travel plans. Not so. All you need to do is tighten your travel belt for while travelling can cost you the earth, it can also be done on the cheap. Here’s how…

1). Don’t just book the first flight you find. Be sure to search all the airlines in order to get the best value for your money.

2). Swap your high end hotel for a hostel or backpacker accommodation.   I can vouch for the YHA organisation which offers basic, but clean, comfortable and - most importantly - affordable accommodation all over the world. Not relishing the thought of being a backpacker once again? Try to think of your budget accommodation as purely a place to sleep.

3). Perhaps you have siblings in Sydney, South Africa and South East Asia, former work colleagues in the Middle East and family in France? If so, find out whether you can stay with them, just don’t forget the rule: fish and friends stink after three days. Unless you want to lose friends, don’t overstay your welcome.

4). Avoid eating out at overpriced restaurants aimed squarely at tourists. Consult the ‘cheap eat’ sections in guidebooks like Lonely Planet and think about bringing a stash of soup packets and noodles with you.

5). Be thrifty – contrary to popular belief it is possible to have a good time on your travels without returning with substantially less cash than you set off with. Take the train and other forms of public transport instead of taxis or walk; walking is not only free but burns off calories. Finally visit free or cheap attractions, for while some sights are expensive there are a few that will reward your eyes and your wallet. Be inspired by our sample selection below…

THE UK

Tate Modern
One of the UK’s most popular attractions since it opened in 2000, Tate Modern’s distinctive architecture and combination of innovative artists and installations make it a must-visit.

Stonehenge
If you’re driving past, you can admire these big stones for free. Built between 3,000BC and 1,500BC, Stonehenge is a magical site.

London’s Royal Parks
All of London’s Royal Parks are absolutely free to enter – time then, to check them out…

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
With well over six million visitors a year, Blackpool Pleasure Beach continues to attract fun seekers from all walks of life.

Lake District
Poetic magnificence right on your doorstep.

FURTHER AFIELD

Havana
The crumbling heart and soul of Cuba won’t break the bank.

Prague
The Czech capital’s prices appeal as much as its architecture

Great Wall of China
Described as one of the ‘wonder of the world’ – go and see for yourself; it’s free.

Middle Eastern markets
Saunter through the souks in the UAE, Oman and Egypt and haggle hard for the best bargains.

Dolphin and whale watching
Whether you’re in Oman, Iceland, New Zealand or the Caribbean, take advantage of what’s around you and keep you eyes on the sea…it’s free!