How to Save Money While Traveling
You have already figured out Ways to Save for a Vacation and then Planned your trip of a life-time, bought the right shoes for walking all day and have a brand new memory card for your camera. However, now that you are AT your final destination, it doesn’t mean you can go into “Ah, it’s vacation, I can do (aka: spend) whatever I want!” If you want to be a true travel hacker or just simply save a few bucks, consider the following tips on how to save money while traveling:
1) Eating out while traveling can be one of the biggest expenses.
a. Some of the best ways to save money is to get a hotel that has a breakfast. Eat a giant breakfast that will tie you over until an early dinner. If it’s allowed, try to take something small something away. Even a yogurt, apple or sandwich can now be a lunch.
b. Speaking of early dinners, many places have “early bird” specials so not only did you just save on not needing to pay for a lunch, but also saved a few pennies with a dinner special.
b. No matter where I travel in the world, I always take shakes for a quick breakfast if where I’m staying doesn’t have one. I also almost always will have snacks such as nuts, Quest Bars, apples, etc with me so that I can not worry on spending money and enjoy the sites. Bring along something that is easy to pack and easy to eat when you are in a crunch so you don’t have to worry about buying food along the way.
c. Depending on my transportation method, I might have packed other foods as well to cut down on costs. Taking into account the type and distance of travel I need to get to my destination, I may actually prepare full meals to store in a cooler to take along as well as small items such as fruit, trail mix and other snacks that preserve well. I have even been known to crack open a hard boiled egg on an early morning plane ride or whip out a cauliflower crust pizza that was stashed in my purse while sitting at the airport rather than paying outrageous amounts there. Sure, the people around hate me for the smells being emitted from those foods, but I just saved $15, suckas!
d. Search out the nearest grocery store and buy supplies for your day when you arrive. Depending on your type of lodging, full meals may not be possible. However, a yogurt for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch all bought at a grocery store will surely cost you less than eating out.
2) Find things to do that don’t cost money (or very little).
Almost no matter where you are at in the world, you can find things to do for free, if not cheaply. Some of our favorite travel moments have been just finding a park bench and watching the locals to get a feel for the culture. Nothing beats grabbing a cappuccino at a European café or a gelato in the summer and people watching or walking aimlessly through beautiful cobble-stoned back alleys.
a. Most travel books (my favorite has always been Rick Steves) offers free walking tours that take you around well known towns. They give just as much insight into the history and sights to see as a traditional, paid for sightseeing tour through a company would give you. Rick Steves even has free audio-guides now for some European cities so that you don’t have to keep your nose stuck in the book.
b. I can’t even count on one hand the tours that I have been willing to pay for. One of the biggest tends in city tours right now is the “Free Tour” Sandeman’s Free Walking Tours https://www.neweuropetours.eu/ . These are usually college-kids or just history freelancers who have a great sense of humor and huge knowledge for their city. You tip what you feel is appropriate at the end.
c. Trip Advisor now has great city apps. You can download a guide for specific cities and then while you are there, use it as a guide to find attractions, look up restaurant reviews or even plan out your own personal walking tour with tid-bits of information of where you are walking.
3) Figure out transportation
a. Most major cities have travel passes. If you are there for several days, these SOMETIMES are a great deal. They can give you discounts on public transportation, discounts into local attractions and often discounts on featured restaurants.
c. Walk. It sounds simple, but it is true. Sure, taking a taxi or using public transportation is fine and sometimes, necessary. However, for us, if we can walk it in 30-45 minutes and that saves us fare money, that is our option.
d. Figure out the public transportation. Sure, it may take you twice as long to get somewhere riding a bus than taking a taxi, but it may also only be $2 per person. What I just saved now gets me some great souvenirs (or maybe an extra afternoon gelato?) instead of having to waste it on a cab. Most major cities now have apps as well that make figuring out public transport a breeze.
4) Power in numbers
a. If you have a few friends that can travel along with you, this almost will always cut down on costs. It can help with anything from splitting the gas, sharing a room (renting apartments for a group is also often much cheaper than finding individual rooms) or having to split taxi rides. Even if it didn’t help w/ costs, if they were good travel partners, you were sure to be richer in memories (ugh, sorry…that was a bit too cheesy).
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg on how to travel on the cheap. Get creative, have fun, afterall, that is the beauty of traveling.
There are countless ways to save money while traveling. Tell me in the comments what you do that gets that money to stretch out a little further?