How to Save Money While Traveling
So you have finally saved enough money and are off on your big adventure, you’re having so much fun and you want to know the best ways to extend your travels. Lucky for you there are so many ways to reduce spending in order to travel longer and here we will help you discover them. Here we will give you some ideas on how to save money while traveling!
Accommodation is often one of the most expensive parts of traveling. There are ways to reduce how much you are spending on this however.
Stay in Hostels
This may seem obvious but it really can save you money! Instead of booking a private room, book into a dorm room. This could save you at least $10 a night. If you are traveling as a solo female, try to find female only dorms if that makes you feel more comfortable. Make sure there is a locker available for your valuables, just to ensure nothing important goes missing.
Using the Couchsurfing community can save you heaps on accommodation and give you a better experience within a city. You will be staying with a local and they will be able to offer you tips and advice for the surrounding area. The people offering Couchsurfing as usually travelers themselves and you will end up making great friends with some I’m sure!
An alternative to the expensive hotels, people will put their own houses/apartments/rooms on the website. It often works out a lot cheaper and like Couchsurfing, gives you access to the locals so you get the best advice!
There are many websites dedicated to house sitting. You can create a profile and travel all over the world house sitting for people.
Short Term Rentals
If you are staying in one place for a while then look for a short term rental. Especially in popular tourist destinations, you will find people offering short-term rentals. In Guatemala, we were doing 6 weeks of Spanish school so we decided to rent our own house for $180 for per month for 2 people. This included hot water, Wi-Fi, electricity and drinking water.
Another great way to save money while traveling is to volunteer. There are some great websites dedicated to connecting volunteers with hosts around the world! My two favorite ones are Workaway and WWOOFing. Always make sure that the volunteering opportunities you take are ethical and are for the right cause.
Workaway is a great way to save money while you travel. You can sign up for either a single account or if you are a couple/friends, a couple’s account. You can then search through the host lists for your preferred country and find hosts that suit you! It might be volunteering in a hostel, with rescue animals or on an organic farm. You could be teaching English, helping build a community or do a cultural exchange.
In return for your volunteering you will often get accommodation provided for you, sometimes meals and if you are super lucky, some will give you a small bit of cash as well.
Most opportunities you will have to commit for at least a week, sometimes a month and sometimes even longer. The things you learn are amazing however and you really get to immerse yourself in a local community
WWOOFing is a movement that links volunteers with organic farmers and growers to provide a cultural and educational experience. You will live alongside your host and help with everyday activities. You will be provided with free board, sometimes food and also gain valuable knowledge about organic farming and building communities. There are more than 120 countries in which you can WWOOF. There is a fee for each country you decide to WWOOF in so make sure you check how much this is if you are planning on doing it in many different countries
Another huge cost of travel is often the transport of getting from one destination to another! There are ways in which you can reduce your spending here, sometimes you just have to think outside of the box.
Bla Bla Car
If the trains and buses are full or are too expensive then try Bla Bla Car! If someone is traveling from one city to another and has seats available in their car then they will offer it on Bla Bla. You then will aggregate the costs of travel and you will both save! Member profiles have to have govt. ID verification and there are ratings available for each member. It is easy to communicate with each other through an in-app messaging service and offers price limits for each journey to ensure prices are fair and transparent.
If you have to take a long journey then try using an overnight bus or train. This way you can save on accommodation for the night and get to your destination while you sleep! Although you can sleep on the bus, I will say you probably won’t feel the most rested when you arrive but they are a great way to save money
Book Train Tickets in Advance
Often you can save a lot of money if you book your train tickets well in advance. You can even buy bundles to save even more. There are open tickets available so you have already purchased your ticket and you just book on the train when you want to.
Hitchhiking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a great way to save money! Many people traveling in NZ will hitchhike as the cost of transport is so high. There are many countries where hitchhiking is safe, it is always up to the individual though. Make sure you do some research beforehand and make sure you feel safe.
Use Public Transport
Make like the locals and grab the public transport! Often you will save a load of money just by doing this. In Sri Lanka for example, we were taking public buses for a few dollars where as a private van would have cost us several times the amount. Being bumper to bumper in a ‘chicken bus’ is quite an experience in itself so make sure you take the opportunity if it arises!
Making smart decisions on the food you eat as you make your journey can definitely help you save money while you travel! Depending what countries you are traveling in the options will change but here are some ideas for you!
Eat Where the Locals Eat
Always look for where the locals are eating! It is often a sign the food will be affordable and delicious.
Make your Own Food
When you are traveling in more expensive countries it will often be a lot cheaper for you to cook your own meals. Make a meal plan and then do some shopping and cook at the hostel. This can save you anywhere from $5 – $15 per meal! That’s a lot of money over a week. Get ingredients that are easy to take with you as you move from one hostel to the next. Often people will leave food behind in hostels and you can help yourself to this ‘free food’ as well.
Check for Deals on FirstTable
FirstTable is a great site if you are traveling with a few people! This allows you to book the first table in a restaurant for $10 and then you will receive 50% off your final bill! It allows you to book for up to 4 people, so if you are feeling like having a meal out, check sites like this first! Currently, it is in NZ and Australia but it is sure to expand!
Doing activities when you are traveling adds a lot of expense to your trip! It is half the reason why you go though and you want to be able to make sure you get to do all that you set out to do!
Book Through Your Hostel
A lot of hostels have the software to book activities for you throughout a whole country. If you are booking several different activities through the one place they should be able to offer you a bundle discount. If you book as a group of people it may increase the discount also.
If you are in a country where you can haggle, do it! Especially in countries like Thailand, make sure you negotiate the price. Don’t be too harsh, as they are trying to make their living but make sure you can agree on a price that benefits both of you
Look for Free Activities
Most cities will offer a free walking tour, there will be museums that have free entry or just a donation. Look for hikes to do and visit local sights. There is always things you can do for free, you just need to do some research. In Christchurch for example, instead of paying $20 NZD for going up the gondola, put on your walking shoes and hike to the top. It will make the view that much better when you get there!
Alcohol is a very expensive item when you are traveling. However, it can be a whole lot of fun to go down and have a drink with old friends and new.
Look for Happy Hours
Find out what bars have good happy hours and go there. If you can get a drink for cheaper at a bar you may as well go as your dollars will go further. Check Facebook pages, forums and whatever else to find out where has the best deals!
Some bars in certain countries will offer free drinks for an hour etc. An example of this would be Vang Vieng in Laos. There are several different bars that offer free drinks for an hour each night. Work yourself around them and save some money!
Hopefully, you have found some useful tips here on how to save money while you travel! There are so many opportunities to keep costs down, sometimes you just have to think outside of the box. We are sure there are hundreds of other ways to stretch your money further, this post may get some ideas rolling for you! Below are some extra tips!
Traveling in countries that have different currency can mean it costs you a lot in the long run. Here are some quick ideas to avoid spending unnecessarily.
- When you are withdrawing cash, always withdraw in the local currency. Your bank will generally give you the best exchange rate. Going to the exchange counters will end up costing you more.
- Invest in a travel card if it is applicable to where you are traveling. This allows you to pre-purchase currency for the country at a certain rate. Then when you withdraw cash you won’t be getting charged as many fees
- Try to find a bank that will refund your bank fees when you travel
Purchase a Local Sim Card
Save on roaming charges and avoid getting stuck with no data and invest in a local sim card. Many places will offer tourist cards for 7 or 30 days. They are handy to have and means if you get stuck somewhere, you are able to call for help/find your way home.
Bring a Refillable Drink Bottle
Purchasing water each day can be expensive! Bring your own water bottle so you can fill it up for free at your accommodation and bring it with you for the day. It will also save you paying crazy amounts for water at the airports! I bring mine with me everywhere. It is insulated so stays nice and cold even when we are traveling in hot and humid environments!
Travel in the Off-Season
If you really want to save money while you travel then try to go in the shoulder season or off season. Often prices will drop in order to attract more customers. It does come with a downfall however as the weather might not be favorable or activities you want to do might not be operating.