How to save money While Traveling
There are ways to cut back on expenses while traveling. Personally, I will splurge on the occasional nice meals & the comfortable flight or the sleeper bus, but a few ways to cut costs are:
– Eat on the cheap
– Travel overland
– Buy local flights/trains/buses once you’re there
As opposed to pre purchasing
– Pick a cheap destination!
Obviously, consider cheaper regions to travel like Asia or South America or India but also remember that even though its cheaper once you land, the tickets to those places are most likely more expensive. Keep in mind to opt for off the beaten path choices, because places less traveled and overrun by tourists are rarely going to have tourist prices. Obviously a carribean beach vacation will be more expensive than say Eastern European beach destinations. Check out a travel social network such as TripnTale to see other traveler’s photos and experience, and get tips from other travelers there.
Get some culture, get to know a local, and get to stay for free!
– Stay longer & rent a cheap place
– Stay in Hostels
Gone are the days of hostels being solely being dirty bed bug infested places, (i mean, there are still tons like that) but now, hostels are hipper, nicer, places where you get to meet a lot of interesting folks! (especially in Europe!)
– Utilize strong search engines that search other search engines
(I don’t know how true this is but in my experience, Kayak is best for US flights, Mobissimo for international flights and skyscanner for South America)
– Use Bing’s Farecast
Farecast provides you with a graph of fares over a period of time so you can buy when its lowest)
– Use Budget airline options via Which Budget
Their search engine isn’t a traditional search engine. It doesn’t generally list prices but you’ll know about airlines you’ve never heard of before just by entering the city you’re looking to fly to.
– Call the airline
For SOME reason, even thorough search engines fail to show the lower rates. It pays off to call the airline directly because the person on the other line will tell you what fares they have that are cheapest for what you are looking for.
– Utilize frequent flyer miles
Pretty straightforward but there are cards out there with insane benefits that you can really use for travel (CapitalOne has great cash rewards cards that you can use on anything, check outNerdWallet for credit card recs.) Also FlyerTalk is a great forum for frequent flyer miles discussions.
Also, if you have a frequent flyer account of an airline that is in One World or Star Alliance (alliances of multiple worldwide airlines) – generally you can keep that number and tack on all your flights’ points from different airlines into that FF account if they’re within that network.
– Explore Home Stays
Get in touch with organizations that can put you in touch with a host family. You will get to know a place well this way, but it is definitely more about an extended stay. Take a look at Worldwide Homestay, Homestay Booking and Homestay Finder.
– Swap homes
– Be a caretaker
Another long stay option – if you want to be based out of a place for awhile is to be a caretaker. Tons of homeowners with second homes want someone to watch their homes when they’re away. To take care of the pets, the garden, to keep the house safe in general. The Caretaker Gazette is the best site for opportunities, but its not free. Still, you can browse your options and see if anything piques your interests.
– Volunteer Travel
Although not all volunteer travel is free- it usually does give you access to cheaper room and board. But I would advise to do it only if you want to volunteer, not for the sole purpose of cheap lodging
– Be a Travel leader
For the experienced travelers. A free and great way to travel is to lead an expedition or lead a travel tour group (my friend Max just recently led a group up Kilimanjaro for the second time.) Look at tour operators like STA travel and YMT Vacations are good starting points
It has been my mission for YEARS to debunk the myth that travel has to be expensive.
I traveled with 3 friends to seven European countries over 2.5 weeks and spent under $1500 USD on the trip per person.
Travel CAN be affordable and more often than not, even without slumming it, its cheaper to be traveling than to stay living in a city in the US!
Hopefully this article can be a great resource to start your travel planning on the cheap!