Saving money on traveling has become easier than ever, as well as more affordable than ever before.
Traveling allows me to dive head first into a whole other world. You’re breaking out of your comfort zone and opening yourself to an adventure filled with unpredictability and the unknown. I highly recommend anyone reading this to embark on some kind of adventure, whether it be to a city in your state that you’ve never been to, or an entirely different country.
I also highly recommend visiting a new place by yourself. There is nothing quite like traveling on your own. Here is a post about what happens when you travel solo. It’s made me so much more independent, strong, and a myriad of other positive traits.
You probably will get lost, but you will also find your way with the help of locals, a map, or whatever you need to do to figure out where you are.
My first solo trip outside of the United States started in Cusco, Peru. You can read about my adventure in Peru here.
My second solo trip outside of the United States was in Bologna, Italy. I was an au pair for 2 months. You can read how to become an au pair here.
I often get asked how I’m able to travel so frequently. Below is a list of my go-to ways to save money on accommodations, restaurants, local hotspots, and more.
So many people overlook accommodations when it comes to traveling. It is no longer necessary to book a hotel or Airbnb. Housesitting is becoming the newest popular way to travel and stay in the comfort of a fully equipped house for little to no cost. The most popular websites are TrustedHousesitters, MindMyHouse, and much more.
If you haven’t tried CouchSurfing already, it’s time to sign up for an account now. I’ve met the coolest people on Couchsurfing that I am still good friends with.
Meeting locals is HUGE when it comes to traveling. I talk more in depth about this at the very bottom of this article. Meeting locals is key to having the truest and best experience in the city you are visiting.
I’ve met the coolest people on Couchsurfing that I am still good friends with. My mom has couch surfed MORE than me, so don’t let age stop you.
3. Local transportation
Find out the best ways to get around in the city or country you are going to.
When I arrived in Europe, BlaBlaCar was a life saver. What is BlablaCar you might ask? It’s a ride sharing service that should be used all around the entire world but is only used in Europe at this moment (as far as I know).
BlaBlaCar got me from Bologna to Nice, France for a mere $20 euro. That’s cheap, people! It’s basically Uber, but for long distances and you will most likely be sitting in a full car with other people using the same ridesharing website.
Europe: FlixBus was my go-to for bus riding services across Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, and more.
4. Take overnight trains or early morning flights.
I always take 5 AM flights and overnight trains. They are always the cheapest, there is more leg room, and the planes usually keep the lights off anyways, so it’s easier to sleep.
5. Venture off into the unknown.
Okay, maybe not totally unknown, but venture out from the city center. Restaurants and tourist shops are usually the most expensive in this area because all of the tourists are migrating to this area.
Walk a few blocks out of the city center and go to a restaurant that is off the beaten path. I went to a restaurant in Rome and got a 5-course meal for 12 euro. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I still vividly remember the experience. The food, server, ambiance, and decor was to die for.
Lonely Planet’s Europe guide helped me out tremendously. You can get the Europe guide here. This is especially helpful if you are new to traveling or Europe.
Related tip: Use Groupon to save BIG on travel expenses. Group has tons of crazy deals (that are actually legit – my friends have used them).
6. Sign up for Ebates and get cash back on online purchases.
Ebates is awesome because most of us regularly shop online anyway, why not make money while purchasing items online? You can get up 10% cash back on flights and other travel related expenses.
7. Join a travel group on Facebook.
I’ve been in a group called Girls Love Travel for the past 2 years and it has helped tremendously when it comes to budget traveling. I also get to find out the local spots and the cheapest way to travel within a certain city.
This travel group has also saved many girls when it comes to safety issues. This group will call out companies that have treated people unfairly, are drugging animals, or have treated girls inappropriately.
Travel is unpredictable. The reality is that sometimes bad things will happen. The best thing you can do for yourself is to always have a good idea of where you are, where the “dangerous” areas are, and how to stay safe abroad. Don’t wear flashy jewelry, keep important documents stored away, and keep your purse or backpack close to you.
I highly recommend keeping track of your journey every single day. My only regret is not writing in my journal more. This is the journal I used while I was in Europe.
8. Join T-Mobile.
No, I’m not sponsored, but I damn well should be. I cannot believe how much I was missing out on when I was with AT&T, and I was paying an extra $90 when I was abroad.
With T-Mobile, I paid zero dollars extra and had unlimited text messaging. T-Mobile also has unlimited coverage in not only the United States but Canada and Mexico, too. You can also call your buddy that is abroad in another country.
9. Find out what cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Foreign transaction fees can add up quickly, especially if you’re making a lot of purchases. There are travel credit cards out there such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card that gives you back double the points on travel and food.
Also, let your bank know you’re going abroad. If you don’t, you’ll most likely find out the hard way. Your bank might shut off all your cards for security reasons.
Related tip: Use Ibotta to save on groceries, clothing, travel-related items, and more all from your phone. Get $10 for signing up here.
10. Get involved with WorkAway.
Workaway allows you to stay at someone’s place in exchange for help. You’ll also (usually) get free food, wifi, a bike, and other pluses. The average number of hours of work needed is between 20-35 hours a week.
Whether you’re into organic farming, animal sanctuaries, helping out a hostel, rescue, there is something for you. You can volunteer pretty much anywhere in the world.
WorkAway is an awesome way to travel and I cannot wait to use it.
I stayed at a sanctuary in Italy and ended up finding out that most of the people staying in the hotel were actually volunteers from WorkAway.
TIPS YOU MUST KNOW:
- Find out when the free days are for museums.
- Ask the locals how much you should be spending on taxis, at the restaurants, and more. Don’t end up getting taken advantage of just because you’re a tourist.
- Buy tickets or accommodation straight from the source, not a third party. The third party (Ex. HostelWorld) charges you more for getting the same exact thing as you would if you went straight to the actual hostel’s website.
- Don’t expect free food on a plane, especially if the plane ride is short.
- Try out hostels if you haven’t already. They are incredibly cheap and an easy way to make friends that come from all around the world.
- In my opinion, hop on hop off buses are worth it. I was able to see the entire city of Paris without having to walk miles and miles. I also had the worst time with Paris’ public transportation, so the hop on hop off bus helped tremendously.
- Volunteering abroad has its ups and downs, so do your research on why volunteering abroad can actually be damaging to everyone involved.
- Use Groupon and other coupon sites for travel deals.
- Google Translate app will save your life. There’s even a feature where you can hold up the camera to a sign and it will translate it to you in your language. How amazing is that?!
- Skip the souvenirs, and take pictures instead.
What are your go-to tips to save money while traveling?
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