If a diver's first love is the underwater world, then their second is travel. Most divers dream of far off, exotic locations, diving in pristine waters seldom seen by man. Nothing draws divers more than the promise of new adventures waiting around every corner.
Unfortunately, the reality is that traveling is expensive. Or at least that is what most people think. Well, here is a little secret: it does not have to be! Sure, traveling first class, dining in all the finest restaurants, and always staying at 5-star resorts would be fabulous! However, this is not what traveling is always about. Traveling is about adventure. Exploring and learning about new places and people CAN be done on a budget, believe it or not. Here are the secrets how:
Doing your research is THE most important secret to saving money. Booking activities in advance and directly with the vendor saves so much more than if you book right before traveling through a tour or ticket company. Spend as much time as you can planning and preparing for the trip. Sometimes booking tours on the spot can cost 2-3 times more than what it would have had you booked in advance.
Researching possible countries to visit is very important. By doing this, you can discover which countries are more affordable than others. By choosing a more cost-friendly country, you will be able to get around and eat cheaper than many others that may offer the same type of climate and beauty you are looking for. Great examples are Thailand, where you can stay for $15 USA per night, the Philippines, where you can drink coffee for 11 cents, or Vietnam, where you can live off $25 USD per day! It's all a matter of choosing a destination where your dollar will go a long way.
Sure, a fancy hotel room is fantastic but how much time are you really going to spend in it anyway? A true adventurer travels abroad to see the sights and explore the land, not hang out in a fancy hotel room. So, if you only need a place to rest your head at night, re-think the way you spend money on accommodations. Instead of a nice hotel, consider a room on Airbnb, staying in a youth hostel (yes, some are still just dollars a night), or a less fancy, off-brand hotel. So you can saving money!
This may mean spending hours online searching for the cheapest airfare, but it is out there, and if you put in the time, you will find it! Compare and contrast multiple tour operator's websites before booking a tour or tickets because the pricing is seldom the same. Some places will be cheaper than others for the same thing. So, do the research!
Eating out at a fancy restaurant for every meal WILL cost a ton of extra money. Planning out daily meals can help saving money a lot. Look for a simple, local-type breakfast to get you going in the mornings, grabbing ingredients at the local market to make your own lunch (meat, cheese, and bread anyone?) and packing it up to eat on the go, and then saving the bulk of your meal budget for a nice, relaxing dinner.
Unless you are traveling somewhere very remote and a car is necessary to get around, you can save a lot of money by NOT renting a car. Instead, take advantage of the local transport services; most countries have excellent public transportation. Not only is it cheap, but it is also a great way to see the area and meet the locals.
Save on foreign transaction fees by NOT using your credit card abroad. Plan out your days, decide on the approximate amount of money needed each day, and then order the foreign currency at your local bank BEFORE leaving on the trip. This will save you from all of those foreign transaction fees, plus you are likely to get a better exchange rate from your local bank. However, if you want to use a credit card, make sure to get one that does not charge foreign transaction fees before you go.
What is cheaper than free? Many places have beautiful beaches, parks, museums, and gardens you can visit for free. You can find all of these hidden gems by doing your research before traveling. As stated above, researching your destination is the most important thing. Seeking out what is free to do in the area will allow you to save big AND see some amazing things.
Now, after realizing how traveling really CAN be affordable, get saving, and get packing! Not sure where to go next? Visit SSI's MyDiveGuide and explore a world full of wondrous destinations. Find your next adventure here.