Bolivia is not only highly underrated when people are thinking about their next adventure, but it is also one of the world’s cheapest countries to explore. There are many things to do and see in Bolivia, and it can easily be explored on a budget.
There are several tips to help travellers make the most of their time in this wonderful country whilst also making their money go further.
People should compare flights before booking. Most people arrive in Bolivia by air, and the flights to Bolivia and from the country is often the largest singular chunk of money spent on the trip. It is therefore really important that people compare flights and make sure that they have the best deal possible. It is worth looking at a few dates either side of your planned departure dates, as prices can vary significantly depending on the day of the week; if you are slightly flexible with regards to travel dates, this can be a great way to save some money before you even begin the trip. If time is not so limited, it may also be worth looking into flying into one of the neighbouring countries and then accessing Bolivia by land. People should be careful to stick to luggage weight and piece restrictions to avoid additional fees. It is always better to leave some free space and weight to allow for buying souvenirs and gifts to take home.
You should check the weather conditions and climate for the time of year in the areas that you plan to visit; why waste money buying clothing when away if you already have suitable attire at home to take with you?
There are various types of accommodation options in most parts of the country. These range from top of the range and luxury hotels, though to backpacker hostels with shared rooms and bathrooms. All budgets are catered for. However, bear in mind that a hostel may very well be the same price as a mid-range hotel, so do your sums and work out where you would rather spend the night for the same amount of money. Likewise, it is pointless blowing a lot on a fancy hotel room hat you are not going to be spending so much time in. Some of the cheapest places to stay are in smaller family run guesthouses. Think everything over before chosing the hotel in Bolivia.
As there are fees for using credit cards, ATM machines, obtaining Western Union money transfers, etc, people are advised to seriously consider the amount of cash that they take. Cash attracts the less fees, ie none, but, as with everywhere in the world, it can be risky to carry too much cash on the person. People should carefully consider how much money they want for their Bolivian adventure, and how they will access their money and pay for things whilst on the trip.
Follow the local crowds at mealtimes. Locals will always choose the best places to eat, as well as those that are inexpensive. Places that are packed out with solely tourists may be popular, but will also have adjusted their prices for the expected incoming tourist dollars. Food need not be an expensive affair in Bolivia. Also, local and traditional bolivian food is often significantly cheaper than international dishes and foreign chain restaurants.
When buying souvenirs and other goods in markets, it is important to haggle and reach the best price possible. In fact, bartering is expected. It is also important though to remember that people are trying to make a living to support themselves and their families, so make sure that you do not become so entrenched that you are arguing over what is a really small amount to you. It is also important to remember that markets are more often not cheaper than supermarkets, and tourist orientated places will always be more expensive.
Not only is walking free, but it also enables you to see so much more of whatever Bolivian town, city or village that you are in. If you must take a taxi, do not use the ones outside hotels; it will be more expensive than if you call one for yourself. Public transport is readily available, so choose that before taxis and other more expensive means of transportation. Also, whilst there are some places where a tour is almost essential, there are other places that can be explored and experienced completely under your own steam and without the need for a tour guide or translator. Choose the best way how to get in and around Bolivia.
With its varied landscapes, interesting history, vibrant and traditional culture, and wide selection of things to do, see, and experience for visitors, a holiday in Bolivia can be a very cheap trip to take. With some careful planning and care to avoid looking like a cash laden tourist, it can also be an incredibly cost effective place to travel around for those that are really watching the pennies.