Yes, traveling can be expensive. Yes, you can make it affordable for you. While there are lots of ways to make and save money before traveling, there are also a few fool proof ways to save money while you travel. Try some of these clever tips to save money while you travel so you can actually go where you want and do everything you can!
Before reading please remember that time and money are two different things. It is up to you to decide if you rather take the cheap, crappy hotel over the comfortable, luxurious one. Or if you are OK with taking a longer flight instead of a short direct one to save a few hundred dollars.
Personally, I rather spend an uncomfortable night on a bus instead of paying for a hostel in order to save money for that wine tasting in Tuscany. I’d rather deal with a 3 layover flight so I can pay for an excursion out to Stonehenge. If you are like me, and rather rough it in order to get the full experience, or if the adventure is worth more than comfort, then keep on reading!
1.) Cheap Flights
The flight, in my opinion, is the most expensive cost when it comes to traveling. The best way to find a flight is by using Skyscanner (or student universe, for students). Skyscanner is a website that compares lots of other sites and tells you who has the cheapest flight. So far it has given me the best results.
Along with flying, keep in mind that you don’t always have to fly first class. ‘Getaway’ or ‘business class’ flights are a lot cheaper than first class. No, it may not be as comfortable, but you will save a ton of money.
I have also found that the more layovers you are willing to accept the cheaper your flight tends to be. The same goes for time of the flight. The cheaper flights tend to be at the most ungodly hours of the night or morning. The more hassle you are willing to go through, the cheaper your flight can be.
2.) Take a Bus to Your Destination
When deciding how to travel around, the bus is normally your best option. (Note: It may not be an option depending where you go.) Bus rides are long, but they are cheap! It’s best to take an overnight bus for a long journey. This way you do not have to pay for housing. Just keep in mind, sleeping on a bus is not comfortable (trust me on this one).
3.) Give up a Meal
No, I am not telling you not to eat. Defiantly eat! What I mean by this is that you do not have to eat out for every meal. It is fun and important to try the food everywhere you go, but that does not mean you have to buy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, pick a meal or two each day that you can pack and eat along the way.
You should also look for hostels that include breakfast. This was you wont have to worry about spending on breakfast, and you can take some of the food with you for the day.
I cannot stress this enough! Before heading on your adventure, set up your route and pre-book everything: the hostel, the transportation, the excursions, the tickets to the event you want to see, ect..
It is SO much easier and cheaper to cancel your reservations and change your plans than it is to try to do it on a whim. Yes, spontaneity is fun and sometimes it works. However, would you rather pay that $10.00 cancellation fee to your hostel and stay an extra night in the one you know has open rooms, or go from hostel to hostel hoping to find a cheap, available room?
How would you feel if you were excited for a museum in Paris that was on your bucket list and once you got there you had to wait in a two hour line? You just wasted time that could’ve been spent inside admiring the beautiful sculptures and works of art. Or, imagine not booking a train ticket in advance and the only ones they have left to get you to Venice are $50 more than you could have paid online. Trust me, pre-book it all! You can always cancel and change plans as you go.
5.) DO NOT Only Look at The Website
Whatever you are booking, do not always trust the website. This goes for prices, photos and reviews! Websites only put up the best photos and reviews on their personal sites. Think about it, if you were advertising your house for someone to stay in, are you going to show the bedroom all made up and perfectly cleaned or right after a party in which crazy and possibly disturbing things could’ve happened? You’re going to pick the latter because people will spend more of their money (or any money at all) on the better looking place. And this, my friends, is how you get ripped off.
You can book through other sites and get the same thing at a lower price. For example, when booking hostels, try the website, Hostel World. Not only will you be able to compare hostels and find the lowest price, but you can look through reviews and know where is safe to stay. As stated before, you can also find cheaper flights other than on the airlines website itself.
6.) Get out of the Tourist Spots
When traveling, lets get real, you HAVE hit the tourist spots! They are famous and popular for a reason. However, you do not have to stay near or eat around the spots. Go off the beaten path. You may find a hostel that is only a 20 minuet walk from the London Eye for half the price of on that is a 5 minuet walk. Or, one that is a half hour from a beach in Mexico that cost less than the close ones do, including the $5 bus ride to the beach itself.
You will not only find cheaper foods down the streets that are further away from the hot spots, but more authentic food. In Italy, we found the most authentic tasteful foods far off the path. The food was cooked better and the establishments themselves were more for the locals (aka: how and where actual Italians eat) and not set up for the tourists. And they were much cheaper!
7.) Bring a Reusable (Filtered) Water Bottle
Lots of places you go you will need to bring a filtered water bottle because not every country has safe drinking water. However, even if you do not need to bring one, do it anyway. You can always find a water fountain or bathroom sink to fill it up. This way you wont be spending money on water or drinks.
8.) Use Cash
Decide how much you want to spend each place you go, or for your trip in total. Then make an ATM withdrawal of that number and use cash to pay as you go. This way you will realize how much you are spending and how much you have left without unknowingly racking up your credit card bill.
9.) Skip the Hotel
Hostels and Air bnbs are not only cheaper but they are much more fun! By saving tons of money you are meeting people from all over the world, getting to know the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ places to see and making friends that will take you to the hot spots. It is an adventure all in itself.
10.) Always Look Up Discounts
Many museums and “must-sees” offer student, military, group and senior discounts. Even if they do not advertise it, always ask when you get there or look it up before you go.
Do lots of research before you head off. Find out where the discounts are at and how to get more bang for your buck. You would be surprised at how many useful tips and tricks you can use to save money, and you can find them by reading blogs and post from people who have been there.
12.) Decide What is More Important
I said it at the start, and I will say it at the end. It is up to you to decide what is more important. If you rather have a comfy hotel and fly first class, then you will be spending more, but you will also be traveling the way you choose. And that is NOT a bad thing. You can travel in luxury and style and call yourself a traveler, you will just need more money to do so. If you rather rough it for a bit and see more than that is great too!
You need to decide how you spend your money and in what way. Once you get that down, and you know how you want your money to be spent, just work out how to spend less on the other things.
No matter where you are going, you can get there. No matter the cost, you can afford it- even if it takes some time to save up. The only thing stopping you, is you.