30 Easy Ways to Travel Cheap. Practically everyone can think of a place they want to visit in the future. Traveling is a fantastic way to get away from the hectic nature of the world we live in and escape to not only a new location but also a different head space.
Assess What Are and Aren’t Willing to Compromise On
Before you begin your trip take time to think about the things that you are and aren’t willing to compromise on. Are you willing to stay in a hostel, or do you need to be in at least a three-star hotel? Knowing what compromises will affect your ability to enjoy a trip is essential.
Though hostels may not be the most private way to spend your trip, they are a great deal. Plus, you’ll be out sightseeing most of the time you’re there anyway! If you know you’re going to be staying in a hostel in advance there are oftentimes single rooms that can be booked.
Though flying is faster, traveling by car where you can is the cheaper option majority of the time. And this way you don’t have to worry about how many ounces your liquids are or fear
that your bag may get lost.
Split the Cost by Traveling With Friends and Family
Think about all of the expensive vacation costs that could be split: car rental costs, hotel room costs, gas money, etc. Plus, the more people involved the more connections to be utilized. You know people who know other people, and they know people who know other people. Connections save money and time.
Only Dining Out Once a Day
See if Breakfast is Included
Only eating out once a day doesn’t mean eating well just once in a day. If you’re staying at a hotel see if there is breakfast included. This will knock out the most important meal of the day and get your day of adventures off to a great start.
There are going to be some really fancy restaurants that are going to catch your attention. And yes, the food looks fantastic. The good news is that you don’t have to deny yourself these things if you do some digging. Most of the time fancy restaurants have lunchtime pricing that is far less than the daunting dinner prices.
Happy Hour Specials
Just like at home drinks are more expensive later into the night. Lookup when happy hour is, so you don’t blow all your cash on night one. And if happy hour is too early for you, think about pregaming. Just like at home buying alcohol from the store is way cheaper than buying them at a bar.
Take advantage of the fact that you’re somewhere new that has different foods to offer. Farmers markets are a great place to get inexpensive natural foods that you can fully transform into excellent meals.
When You Do Eat, Make Sure You Get Full
When traveling is not the time to eat light. You’re going to need as much energy as you can to take in as many beautiful sights and heart-racing adventures as possible.
Have a Picnic
Avoiding going out to eat doesn’t have to be bland. Make an event of it. Have yourself a picnic in central park and let all of the beauty and nature soak in, while also eating an inexpensive meal.
Flying Budget Airlines (Do Your Research)
Doing your research as to what airlines are going to get you there the cheapest is important. This is also where you have to think about what types of sacrifices you’re willing to make. Do you want more leg room? Do you want to avoid a particular airline? Know where you draw your line because flights are one of those things where price reflects experience.
It always best to buy straight from the airlines when buying plane tickets because it takes out the cost of the middle man. However, there are several great websites to help you find good deals on flights such as google flights and Whichbudget.
Travel to Get to the Airport With the Best Deals
Oftentimes your local airport is not going to be the one with the best deals. Look into the cost of flights leaving from your surrounding areas to see if you can get cheaper/more direct flights.
Before you buy a round trip see if two one ways are cheaper. One way tickets are purchased far less often than round trip tickets and are usually less expensive. If you know what days you would like to arrive and leave this tip may end up saving you a good chunk of cash.
Fly at unpopular times. No one wants to catch the red eye, but if you’re willing to you could save a good bit of cash. Plus when you do this, you’re also essentially paying for a place to sleep.
Don’t fly on Sunday. Everyone is coming back from their vacation on Sundays. Just take an extra day off from work and count all the money you saved on that Monday flight.
Pack Light, so You Don’t Have to Check a Bag
Checked bags are ridiculously expensive. So, if you can, packing extremely light and only bringing carry-ons is ideal. Even if you end up buying a ton of stuff on your vacation, you can get a bag there and only have to check a bag on the way back home.
You would be surprised by the amazing things that can be done locally, and the amount of relaxation that can be had just a few miles from home. Staying local has some major perks: you probably know somebody who knows somebody, you get the experience of a vacation without the hassle of extended travel, and you get to experience the state you love in from a whole new perspective. You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Car
Road trips are only effective if you take the right measures to make them so. Taking care of your vehicle can save you money in the long run, especially when you’re going to be racking up your mileage on a road trip.
Check the pressure of your car tires. Drive slower. Use the right oil to increase mile usage. Watch your luggage – the heavier the car, the more fuel you’ll use. Pack inside your car not on top.
Have an Extra Extended Stopover Somewhere Cool
So what you may have to go back through security! There is no rule that you have to stay at the airport for your whole stopover. Book two red-eye flights and spend the full day exploring the city you’re in. Go to a museum. Catch a movie. Go out to eat. These are all things that don’t take much time and can help you to really experience a city from more than just the airport.
Use Public Transportation
Ideally, you would want to walk as much as you can in order to avoid the costs of transportation, but that isn’t always an option. So when you do have to travel, take public transit and keep these options in mind.
Take overnight buses and trains when you can to save money. Just like red-eye flights, no one likes to travel in the dead of the night, but these times are oftentimes much cheaper, and the trains/busses are less crowded.
Rent a bike. If you’re staying in a city, everything you need will probably be in close proximity. There are several cities that have bike or scooter rental stations.
Research Museum Pricing and Free Nights
Most smaller museums have a free night, and some also have family deals. Just do a little digging before your trip to see where you can save a few bucks at a museum.
Join a Travel Rewards Program
Though it may take some time to build up ‘points,’ there are several programs that reward members with travel rewards points—like Bank of America and Capital One and hotels like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo. Loyalty is important to companies like these, and you can be rewarded for your commitment to them.
Find a Free Place to Stay
It pays to look for a host well in advance of your trip. The Hospitality Club and Global Freeloaders will also put you in touch with locals willing to host you and/or show you around town.
Work Your Contacts
Now if that sounds like a bit of a stretch for you—like it did me—there are other options for free places to stay. Talk to that aunt you haven’t seen in 10 years and see if she has a spare room. It may sound crazy, but I have actually done this. Some distant relative is the only reason I got to spend two nights in San Francisco with my sisters for free and got a full-fledged tour of the sights. But make sure to send a thank you note at least.
List Your House with Airbnb
Take advantage of the fact that you’re going to be out of the house. Make money while you spend money! Airbnb is a great site that connects people who live locally and happen to have an extra room and travelers who need a place to stay. Plus you could always have a friend or family member stop by and check in on the people staying at your house to make sure everything is going all right.
Crowdfund Your Trip
Your family and friends want you to be able to go on trips and will gladly donate to make an experience happen. People want other people in their lives to be happy, especially those they love. It may seem silly, but every dollar helps.
Obviously, if you have zero camping gear, this is not the option for you. However, if you happen to have some camping gear gathering dust in your garage, this is a perfect way for you to save money and have an unforgettable vacation.
Know What Countries Have a Lower Currency Conversion Rate
At the moment this is being written 1 USD = 27 Argentinian Pesos. This gives the term stretching your dollar a whole new meaning. It pays to know where your money is worth more so that you make the most out of every cent.
Go During the Off-Season
You’re not the only one who wants to be sitting on a warm sunny beach when it’s negative five degrees outside. Everyone flocks to beaches in the winter. Think smart and do some on when peak seasons of travel are and when there are lulls. There is more to that gorgeous beach than warm weather. You may not be as toasty as you want, but you will be able to experience your vacation destination at a lower price and with fewer people around.
Find a Job That Pays You to Travel
Teach or Build Something While You’re There
Pinpoint a skill you have and contact a company that may comp your stay in exchange for that service. For example, if you’re a fantastic photographer and find a hotel that needs pictures for their website offer to take those pictures for them, and teach them a little bit about taking photos, in exchange for a discounted stay.
Volunteer at an Organic Farm
WWOOF is a site dedicated to teaching people about farming organically which offers living expenses in exchange for work in countries all across the world. So if you aren’t afraid of working hard and getting dirty, this could be a great cheap traveling option for you.
Work Remotely While Traveling
Making money while you’re spending money is a great way to help pay for a trip. Getting work done from the comfort of a nice hotel room is far nicer than being stuck working in your fluorescent office.
Use Apps to Call and Text People at Home
Unexpected roaming charges can add up fast, and applications like Whatsapp and Viber can help you avoid them. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you will have several options as to how you want to contact your family and friends back home.
Before You Book, Think About Your Location
Stay outside the city if possible, but don’t go too far because it’s important to think about transportation. If you’re within walking range of some key locations: shopping, eating, and entertainment while being out of the immediate range of the expensive city life you have found the prime location.
If you’re anything like me being hungry can ruin your entire experience and having to spend a ton of money on snacks will not make the situation any better. Bringing your own snacks with you at all times will help you stay on top of your hangry nature and save you money in the long run.
Attend a Timeshare Presentation
Going to timeshare presentations with no intention of buying. It may sound sneaky, but it’s done all the time. If you aren’t the type of person who can stick to their guns, then you might want to sit this one out. Think about the money you’re saving. You get a free stay and a couple of comped meals. It’s totally worth having to sit through the mind-numbing presentation.
Spend More Time in Fewer Places
You want to make the most out of your vacation but traveling to five different countries in 10 days is often more stress than it’s worth. Plus, hotel deals get better the longer you stay in one location.
Shop where the locals are
Use the six-block rule. Don’t shop or eat within six blocks of a tourist sight. Prices around tourist sights skyrocket. People love to take advantage of convenience any chance they get. However, locals wouldn’t stand for that sort of thing. Look for locals and see where they are shopping because they know where to go to avoid $10 coffee.
Get City Tourist Cards
If you plan on seeing a lot of sights in a city, you should get a city tourism card. These will offer you discounted and/or free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as free public transportation. I saved over $100 with the London pass, $80 with Paris Museum card, $50 with a Helsinki card, and tons more with other city tourism cards.
They are a fantastic way to save money on attractions that not enough people use. Just head to the local tourism office to find out what cards are available. They can help answer all your questions and make sure you save as much money as possible.
Take Free Walking Tours
Actually, take free anything! You were going to take a tour anyways just do a little bit of digging, and you can find one for free.
People often take for granted that being anywhere besides your own home often feels like a vacation. Yea you might have to feed a dog and water a plant every now and again, but it’s still a break from reality. You don’t even have to limit yourself to just housesitting for friends and family. Trusted Housesitters, Home Exchange, and House Carers are all websites people go to when they are in need of a housesitter.
A lot of times it pays to plan, but that isn’t always how life unfolds. Being flexible with your arrangements can also pay off in the long run. Hotel Tonight provides discounted hotel rooms for same-day, next-day, and following-week stays. Jetsetter advertises flash sales on hotel rooms and vacation packages. Hipmunk displays flight deals for the upcoming week and weekend.