Last updated on April 6th, 2018 at 09:47 am
When we say “where you stay” can help you save on travel, we’re not talking a simple hotel vs hostel choice. There is a lot more to picking a vacation accommodation and saving big. Time, transportation, and food costs (restaurant pricing) all contribute to what we’ve learned about saving on travel.
And, surprisingly, sometimes the more expensive 5-star hotel price can actually be the best choice for overall saving on travel costs.
There is a formula that seems to help narrow down the most cost-effective areas in vacation destinations.
Information online for average costs to travel domestically and abroad vary greatly. There are too many variables that can influence the cost of a trip. A lot of travelers have a set time of year they can vacation. This can lessen the wiggle room for finding the cheapest flights. Additionally, most people have a destination in mind and are not willing to opt for a less expensive alternative.
But, there are still lots of areas where people can save apart from the time of year and the particular vacation destination.
We think a combination of these two articles best defines cost parameters per person. According to MoneySense and Value Penguin cost percentages for accommodation average about 60% of a total travel budget (excluding flights costs), local transportation, and food, drinks and visiting attractions makes up the other 40%.
The methods we use to zero in on the best places to stay for our budget focus more on the costs for accessing things on a trip rather than the cost per night of our accommodation. We do enjoy a lot of free accommodation with international house sitting, but costs for time and access to things that are important to us greatly influence the assignments we take.
Staying somewhere close enough to walk to “needs” and “wants” is money in the bank. These are areas that have the best access to what we call, the location trifecta: close to local shopping, local entertainment and within walking distance to attractions but not in tourist areas. The key is to be far enough away from tourist zone to keep restaurant and accommodation costs down. But not so far outside that wasted time on long transport or high costs of getting around decimate your budget.
In areas outside tourist venues, you’ll find more local shopping and restaurants which are always cheaper than those trying to appeal mostly to vacationers.
Where we are staying in Cali has definitely helped us save on travel costs.
We search out these areas in Lonely Planet guides and online with Wikipedia and Google maps. I trust Lonely Planet suggestions. We have followed their advice and used their maps for inexpensive restaurants and accommodation and have never been disappointed. Wiki and Google maps help us dig deeper and see distance and whats on the street close to where we want to stay.
After selecting an area in a city we want to stay in we search accommodation through Airbnb. This has worked really well for us in Cali. Our place is walking distance to lots of shopping, cheap eats and photo opps. Not to mention a busy downtown cultural vibe we really love but couldn’t afford to live in back at home.
Here are 4 great places we’ve walked to from our place in Cali:
The religious complex of San Francisco is 4 blocks from our apartment. It was built between the 18th and 19th century in heart of Cali. It is a huge structure consisting of the Convent of San Joaquin, the Mudejar tower, the Chapel of the Immaculate, the Church of San Francisco and a museum of religious art. It’s nice we don’t have to take a bus or cab to hang out here and get a few photos. It has a huge plaza with fruit vendors and locals enjoying the beautiful weather.
Parque El Gato came to the city in 1998 in an effort to beautify the banks of the Cali River. It is a quirky little park consisting of 16 gatos (cats). The focal point and inspiration for this artistic installation along the River is the sculpture The Rio Cali. It is 3 tons of bronze crafted by the late Colombian artist Hernando Tejada. Fifteen uniquely painted gatos came 10 years after Tejadas bronze feline. This park is a cool place to stroll along the river and enjoy some art in the shade of the bamboo trees. We only have to walk 20 minutes to enjoy time here.
Iglesia de la Ermita is a neo-Gothic church that over looks the Rio Cali. It is the most photographed church in Cali and for good reason. It was originally built in the 17th century much smaller in a baroque style. The original church was totally destroyed in an earth quake and rebuilt to stand as it does today. Inside there is a marble alter and a painting of the Lord of Sugar Cane that dates back to 1787. The church is adjacent to a large city park along the Rio Cali.
Barrio de San Antonio is located just outside the center here in Cali, a 5 minute walk from our door. The architecture in this area is all traditional colonial. Many brightly colored shops, restaurants line the winding streets in this hill top community and the view of Cali is outstanding from many vantage points in this barrio.
It easy to spend the better part of a day wandering the lovely streets. We had a delicious lunch at El Zaguan, a restaurant in San Antonio recommended by Lonely Planet. We were not disappointed, the food was delicious and the view from the rooftop terrace is quite possibly the best in Cali. We will be walking back here to eat again for sure.
We have definitely saved on food and transportation costs because of where we are staying in Cali. This is travel money well saved. Doing research to find a location so close to all we need to live and want to see is well worth the effort, especially with a little one. It’s money that can go to helping us travel better, or stay longer in our next destination.
This is just one way we’ve learned to save money on travel. If you like more ideas on how to travel for less check out our other affordable travel tips in these posts here:
- 20 Easy Ways to Save on Travel Right Now
- Creative Ways to Save for Travel
- 59 Best Travel Tips Learned Over 595 Days of Perpetual Travel