It’s no secret that traveling can be a costly endeavor. There are plane tickets, accommodations, food, activities – you name it. But there are ways to save a good chunk of your hard earned money. I’ve learned a few tricks on how to save that money over the years, and I would like to share with all of my fellow nomads. My tips are a bit more geared toward international travel, but can easily be applied to travel within the U.S as well.
1. Dig Deeper For Plane Tickets
When I traveled to Valencia, Spain back in 2015, I spent around $1,600 for a round trip ticket. Like many people would, I used Expedia to find my flight. Since this trip, I’ve uncovered a few great “underground” websites for cheaper flights. For example: Sky Scanner is an amazing service for comparing different flights – whether they be national or international. It operates like Expedia and the other flight comparison sites, but they factor in a bunch of great airlines that those sites rarely offer in their search results. Sky scanner searches for flights with some airlines such as Norwegian Air, British Airways, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Iberia, and many more. I did an example search of a roundtrip flight from Tampa, Florida to Valencia, Spain set for two months from now. What was the cost? I found a flight as cheap as $575. That’s literally over a grand in savings!
2. Try More Humble Accomodations
Hotels are great because of the room service and amenities they offer, but you’re likely going to be spending a pretty penny for all of that. Airbnb is a neat service in which people will rent out their own homes/apartments. Whether they’re simply renting out a room, or the whole place, that’s often going to be significany cheaper than a hotel. I’ve been using this website for years and I love it! Plus, I think it’s more of an authentic experience than a hotel. Staying in a hostel is also an authentic experience, and hostels tend to be even cheaper than renting an Airbnb. Many people conjure up images of shady rooms in old, rundown buildings when thinking about hostels. However, many of them are actually quite nice. Some of them even offer complimentary breakfast. Pricing for hostels will depend upon how many strangers you’re willing to share a room with, but still a pretty inexpensive choice regardless of your privacy preferences. And if you’re really strapped for cash, Couchsurfing is a website that lets you browse around for people willing to offer up their couches for a few nights. I’ve never personally used this service, but I have several very satisfied friends who have. Each of these three websites also offer apps that make booking a place to stay super easy.
3. Skip The Restaurant
Now, I’m not saying that you should completely avoid restaurants. It’s nice to treat yourself! However, restaurants tend to be pricey – especially in particularly touristy cities. There are other ways to experience another culture’s food. Many countries will have an abundance of street food prepared and sold by locals. Street food is usually quite inexpensive. And it’s delicious. Hitting the local grocery store and making some of your own meals is also a great way to save some money on food.
4. Beware of Taxis
Taxis in many countries can end up being a huge rip off. A taxi in Rome once tried to charge me about 50 euros for a drive that was less than 10 minutes. There are many taxi drivers who won’t hesitate to take advantage of naive tourists. But don’t get me wrong – there are also plenty of honest taxi drivers who do their jobs well. It really is just the luck of the draw. However, they do often tend to be the most expensive option regardless. There are many other transportation options available to you. Uber is an option in many counties. But aside from that, many cities also have subways and buses (often called metros) that don’t cost much at all. Public transportation is the way to go! When you’re really just wanting to reach your destination ASAP and want to flag down a taxi, make sure the taxi has an actual meter. A meter usually means that they’re a legitimate taxi driver. And make sure they switch the meter on as soon as you get in, to make sure they can’t just make up a price at the end of your ride.
5. Choose Your Time Wisely
This may seem like common sense, but perhaps try to plan your trip during your destination’s off season. Prices are usually much higher when you go during prime time. Plus, some countries (like Sweden) actually close down a lot of their businesses because there are so many residents off on their own vacations! Traveling during prime time is definitely a lot of fun, but more costly. And more touristy.
I sincerely hope my tips help you plan your next vacation. Money should never hold you back from seeing the beautiful world we live in.