1. Explore the local markets and/or supermarkets!
When we travel, we eat at a restaurant maybe once or twice if we are travelling for a week. The rest of the time, we are picnicking.
By picking up fresh fruit, bread, some deli goodies including cheeses, you can spend as little as $10 for a feast, with leftovers provided for lunch the next day. By exploring the local markets, you gain additional insight into the culture and it’s a great way to discover a place!
2. Take your own water bottle.
While you can’t take a full water bottle through airport security, you can take an empty one and fill it up at the water fountains on the other side. If you drink a lot of water (and you should!) and are travelling through safe countries, this is a must and it will save you (and the environment) a TON.
3. Find Hotels with a kitchenette.
If you have a fridge, (and pay attention to tip #1) you are less likely to eat out and if you do, you can store leftovers safely. If you are road tripping, consider packing a soft cooler with you. It will allow you to keep goods cold as you venture from one destination to the next.
4. Use the hotel’s amenities.
Here is a good tip for those who stay in hotels: Use the hotel’s amenities, such as shampoo, conditioner, and the hair dryer. This will save room in your own bag and if you are travelling for a short time (a week or two), who cares if you aren’t using your salon-purchased products or your hair straightener? Your hair will survive!
If you decide this isn’t for you, at least take the sample bottles from the hotel when you leave. They really come in handy for camping!
5. Look at the free activities available.
Consider a day at the beach or a hike in a nearby park. Research if there is a free entry day or a discounted time at the museum you’re interested in. There are a lots of free activities available in cities. Google the city’s website when planning and take advantage of any free or even discounted activities they offer.
For an ‘off the beaten path’ idea: Have you tried Geocaching? It’s a great way to explore an area, sometimes to areas that aren’t in the tourist guide. The App is free to download and the activity is free. We’ve found some hidden gems geocaching during our travels.
6. Consider staying in hostels or campgrounds.
Many hostels offer private rooms and sometimes with bathrooms. They may be bare bones, but they provide you what you need: a clean bed to sleep in. Also consider campgrounds or Holiday Parks. Many offer cabins or villas. These are usually self contained and a great deal cheaper than a hotel.
Of course, if you have camping equipment, camping is always cheaper!
7. If you are embarking on long-term travel, consider WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
The WWOOF organisation provides opportunities to volunteer on organic farms in exchange for board.
8. House Sitting.
House sitting will give you an opportunity to see areas outside the realm of touristy areas. If you are slow travelling, this is definitely the way to go. Help someone out by housesitting for them, while they take a much-needed vacation for themselves (like farmers for example). There are lots of organisations out there that facilitate this option.
9. Walk rather than use transport.
I’m not talking long distances, unless you are into that, but in cities, walking is definitely an option. Sydney, for example, is a walkable city and you can save a lot on transport.
10. Look for discount travel cards or travel during off peak times.
Many cities offer travel cards or off peak rates. Opal cards are available in Sydney, which offer a small discount over paper tickets. London offers the Oyster card. Other cities offer travel cards as well, so check it out before you travel.
Additionally, if you are traveling outside of peak hour times, the cost to travel usually reduces significantly. Another bonus, depending on the travel card used.
11. Find hotels that include breakfast, but only if its cost effective.
Sometimes hotels do provide a breakfast option but it’s an outrageous extra expense. You are better off finding a café or supermarket and buying a coffee and your breakfast there.
BUT, there are still budget hotels around that offer outstanding breakfast options that are included in their tariffs. Seek these gems out and fill up your belly before heading out on your explorations.
12. Share meals.
We do this a lot when we travel. Rather than everyone ordering an entrée or even entrée and a dessert, consider sharing. Buy one entrée and one dessert and then split both.
13. Consider using in a credit card that earns you points for each transaction.
By earning points, you can then buy more travel with the points you earn. Use this credit card between travels too to build up your points.
We have a credit card we use for everything and as a result, it’s provided us with free flights and hotels many, many times.
14. Before you travel, look at your bank’s international affiliates.
We have a Westpac card in Australia so we can withdraw money in the U.S. at any Bank of America and not be charged foreign transaction fees because of their affiliate program. We can also withdraw in Europe at any Barclays due to that same affiliate program.
You can really save yourself from ‘throwing money away’ by doing this since many banks will charge $5 (or more!) per transaction.
15. Save on laundry costs.
Either book a hotel which provides a washer/dryer or hand-wash in the sink as you travel. Not only will you be able to carry on your luggage because you have less to carry, thus saving on baggage fees, but you will also save on Laundromat costs along the way.
Carrying your own laundry detergent, sink plug and clothesline take up minimal space too.
16. Free unlimited Wifi.
Every traveller’s ‘must have’ nowadays. Save your money by emailing, Facetiming or Skyping home, rather than calling. Viber is also an option if you prefer to call.
Just make sure that the WiFi is robust enough to handle all your needs, ranging from booking or confirming your next destination, keeping in touch with friends/family, and updating your social media sites.
17. Consider re-locations when hiring a car.
Many rental companies offer this to drive from Point A to Point B. At massively reduced rates, you can hire a car and drive it from one destination to the next. The only limitation is the time you are given to do it. Sometimes petrol costs are subsidised or even included in the rental.
18. If road-tripping, look into annual national park passes.
This can save you a lot of money if you are visiting more than two parks on a road trip. A definite must have if you are in the U.S. on a camping road trip.
19. Look at annual travel insurance if you travel more than once a year.
Travel insurance can be costly, so if you are taking more than one trip a year, look at investing in an annual policy.
Yes. I really said that.
You want great stories to tell. You want to make your travels worthwhile. You want the richest, most memorable experiences you can have. I mean, really, why else are you travelling but to see and do what you’ve been dreaming about?
The key here is to determine what it is you REALLY want to see and do and plan for that.
Skip the hundred other things the tourist guides tout you ‘must see’ but don’t really turn you on. Instead, do what makes your heart SING. For example you may not be a museum fan, but a cycle tour in France makes your heart flutter! So, skip the Louvre and do a bike tour!
We splurged in New Zealand for a smaller cruise on Milford Sound. The thing that sticks in my mind about that experience is having the front of the boat go under the waterfalls and getting drenched as a result. It was fantastic! When I looked at other cruises in the area, they could only gaze upon the waterfalls from a distance.
By prioritising what’s important to you, you will get more from your trip. It will be your incentive to save elsewhere so you can continue to do and see the things you love.
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