Even though the old cliché goes, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer,” it still costs money. And sometimes a lot of it. Thankfully after years of travel, we’ve been able to hone down our best tips for staying on budget. Whether you’re traveling like a backpacker or living large, we know our tips will be helpful to save on travel costs, so you can spend more on the experiences that make travel so amazing.
Create a Budget
Nobody likes the “b” word, but creating a budget for your trip can actually be very liberating. If you’re not keeping track of your finances it’s hard to estimate how much you’ve been spending. Even though keeping your head in the sand may seem easier than confronting your travel costs, you may find out you’re actually staying under budget! Checking your spending at the end of each day of your trip means you can decide when to save and when to splurge. Consciously scrimping on meals here and there will make splurging on an awesome experience even more rewarding! Budget travel apps like Trailwallet are excellent tools for keeping everything organized.
Find Cheap Flights
Chances are that your flight costs are going to be substantial part of your trip. Unless you’re traveling locally or domestically, airline prices are not going to be cheap. If you’re flying to the other side of the world you can expect your flight expenses to be in the 4 figure mark. Depending on how lavish your trip is, that could be a huge percentage of your travel budget. That’s why finding cheap flights is key for keeping costs at a minimum.
Luckily the internet makes it super easy to find the best deals. These days sites like JustFly compare every possible combination of airline carrier and potential itineraries to make sure you get the best deal. They even have a list of “top daily deals” from your location to get you inspired on where you can travel for cheap! Once you have a cracking airline deal, the rest of your trip planning tends to fall into place.
Stay in Hostels
We know, shacking up with 8 strangers in a dorm room with bunk beds isn’t exactly a dream vacation. But these days you can find some pretty rad hostels/guesthouses. We’ve stayed in some beautiful hostels that have hotel-style amenities like big comfy beds, rainforest showers and even an omelette chef in the morning (check Spin Hostel in El Nido!
Often times a private room in a hostel is still much cheaper than booking a hotel room. The bonus of a hostel is that they usually have very social environments, perfect if you’re traveling solo or in a group looking to make friends. Of course if you’re not interested in chatting with other travelers you can just enjoy the privacy of your own room.
When finding the best hostel deals we always recommend HostelWord, which is basically a massive booking platform for all the best hostels around the world!
Book an Airbnb
If hostels aren’t your scene, Airbnb’s are another great way to cut down on accommodation costs. There are tons of options, from super budget to super splurge. The types of accommodation is also really varied. We’ve seen VW vans, tents and even yurts listed on Airbnb. People often list private rooms in their homes for affordable prices. Since these rooms don’t come with hotel amenities, they are usually listed for quite a bit less than normal hotel rates. Oftentimes, they come with a kitchen which is perfect for our next tip…
New to Airbnb? Sign up through our link and receive $30USD off your first stay, it’s that easy!
Another pricey expense that comes up when traveling is eating out. When you’re back home eating out is usually a special treat. But when you’re traveling you’re forced to eat out at every meal. That’s why booking an Airbnb or hotel with a kitchenette is a great travel hack. Buying groceries and cooking for yourself can save you so much money in the long-term. Even just having a light breakfast or snack on hand can save you from tourist restaurants that have sub-part food for expensive prices. Plus shopping at a local market or grocery store is a cool way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Travel with a Water Bottle Filter
When traveling in countries that don’t have clean tap water, having a filtered water bottle is key. Not only do you cut down on single use plastic (the environment thanks you!) but you’ll also save money every day. It may not seem like a lot, but if you’re spending $5 a day on water bottles during a month long trip, you’ll save $150! Wouldn’t you rather spend that on a luxurious night in a swanky hotel knowing you contributed to a cleaner earth? Personally, we travel with these awesome LifeStraw Go bottles.
Test out Your Haggling Skills
In some parts of the world haggling down prices is totally normal. It can feel weird if you’re from the US or another country where haggling is frowned upon. But in many situations abroad, bargaining for a cheaper price is expected. Artisan markets are a perfect place to practice your haggling skills. Sellers will often start with a price that is double what they would normally sell it for.
Haggling is a delicate art that often means standing your ground and sometimes doing the old “walk away” trick. The seller will always have a minimum price that they’re willing to take in the back of their mind. And if you have a maximum price that you’re willing to pay, you’ll eventually find a happy medium between the two. To learn more about the art of haggling check out our guide.
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