Travelling around a country or around the world can be the best time of your life. Unfortunately, it can also cost a lot of money. You can always get a better deal if you take the time to plan your travel or vacation well in advance. You can also go to places where other people don’t want to go (or just haven’t heard of!), or travel in off-season. In general, you can save money when travelling if you have some flexibility around dates – which fortunately for us backpackers we usually do!
Here are some areas in which you can find ways to save money when travelling…
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Where you choose to travel to can dramatically affect the amount of money you will require. Your living costs for four weeks in Europe for example, would be much higher than if you spent the same amount of time in South East Asia.
You also need to factor in how you are going to get to your destination. The cost of living in Europe may be higher but it could me much cheaper to get to if you are already based on the continent.
Your best bet is to do some research! There are plenty of free online tools like Numero that allow you to compare the cost of living in different countries, helping you work out your daily budget.
Save on Accommodation
It’s great to stay in a nice hotel, but unless you get a great deal, this could break your travel budget. Think about staying in hotels as little as possible if you want to save money when travelling. There are so many more accommodation options to choose from including smaller hotels and motels to homestays and hostels.
There is also the possibility of doing a home exchange with another family from across the country or around the world. Many people are also using services like Premiere Suites which rent furnished suites and apartments for longer stays. This not only saves money on your accommodation costs, but you also get much more living space to enjoy while you are travelling.
As well as saving money, these alternative types of accommodation can enhance your travel experience as a whole with hosts sharing stories and insights into their culture, or by allowing you to stay in one place for longer, whether you’re traveling on a budget or not.
Save on Air Travel
Besides using up any available travel points, planning is the best way to reduce travel costs when it comes to air travel. There are air travel discount sites that offer deals for a small fee and booking round trip tickets is always less expensive than buying a one-way ticket. Sometimes flights that have connections might be cheaper and packing lighter can save you money when you go to check in your baggage at the airport. Most airlines now charge for every piece of luggage and extra for additional pieces. Maybe you can pack less at home so that you can buy new clothes on the road. Making use of comparison sites like kiwi.com can also help you save a substantial amount on flights.
Slow travel and taking the long way round is also a low cost travel option. A bus journey from A to B may take 10 hours compared to a 2 hour flight but it you’re time rich and cash poor this could be the better option.
Save on Food
Most savvy travellers do their own food research before they travel. They might splurge on one big meal at a fancy restaurant that everybody is talking about, but they also plan their basic food budget in advance. This might include finding a good and cheap breakfast place or buying some fruit as soon as they arrive. They look for good street food that can be a great and delicious option for lunch and then they try and find restaurants that have specials or a fixed price menu for dinner. Go self catering and book a suite hotel or apartment with a kitchen so you can cook some of your own meals.
Save on Car & Camper rentals
Watch out for the extras when it comes to rental cars or camper vans. This might include options to have them fill up the car for you (don’t) or provide you with satellite radio or an upgrade. Ask them if it costs any more before you initial on the dotted line and always buy your own gas. If they fill it up for you they will charge you an extra 25 to 30 percent on top of the price of the gas. Before you travel you should also talk to your insurance company. For a small fee, they will add a rider onto your vehicle insurance policy that covers car rentals as well. Then you won’t have to take the rental car insurance which can sometimes be more than the car rental costs themselves. Take the smallest car possible as well (unless you’re hiring a camper, obviously!). They are cheaper to rent, easier on gas, and much easier to park or commute around most major metropolitan areas than a large sedan or SUV.
Save on bank fee’s
This isn’t the most exciting of travel topics but it’s an important one as getting the right kind of credit or debit card to use when travelling can save you a lot of money in transaction and conversion fees.
Using a standard bank card abroad can often mean you pay out a fee not only to the ATM but also to your bank along with another fee for not using your home currency.
There are a range of alternatives you can look at depending on the providers in your home country. You want to look for a credit or debit card that won’t charge you for withdrawing cash abroad or for withdrawing in a different currency.
There are also a number of prepaid cards available which you top up before you leave and incur no charges when you come to withdraw your cash.
We hope you’ve found these low cost travel tips useful. If you have any more tips for how to travel on a budget we’d love to hear them! Just add them to the comments at the bottom of this post.