Traveling has become a compelling source of benefits related to self-confidence, personal growth and gaining new experiences. It opens new doors and makes you a more well-rounded individual, and offers memories that you can hold onto for a lifetime. Traveling is simple for some, but not so easy for others. In most cases, a person can’t travel due to their job, budget or overall availability, or may have a tough time sticking to a budget once they are at their desired destination. But there are certain factors that you can take into consideration to help you defeat those hurdles. For those of you who are budget-friendly, here is a compiled list of travel hacks that can help you save money!
Establish a Budget
When you are traveling with a budget in mind, it is vital to come up with a spending plan. While booking flights and reservations, prices may inflate or additional fees could come into the picture, so you want to be as prepared as possible for any unexpected expenses. Setting financial goals will not only help you stay organized, but can also limit your tendency to go over a set spending limit.
Use Cashback Sites
There are a variety of travel cashback sites out there, and many come with a lot of great perks! If you spend a certain amount of money on one thing, you could save money on another aspect of your travels, such as an upgrade to first class or a free one-night stay at a hotel or hostel. Research your options to find the best offers and receive exclusive travel deals that are in your favor.
Consider a Mobile Banking Account
If you are a frequent traveler, it is imperative to have a reliable way of tracking your money with little to no downfalls. Since there is a great chance you’ll be using your smartphone during the duration of your trip, consider an online bank account without foreign transaction fees. This makes it extremely easy to track your savings, transfer money and avoid additional costs associated with handling your earnings.
Sign Up For Frequent Flyer Miles
As a way to save additional cash, it may be beneficial to ask an airline about frequent flyer miles. The more money you spend on flights, the more points you gain. These points can add up more quickly than you think, often to the point where discounted or even free flights can become available. If you’re brand loyal to a specific airline, talk with someone on that airline’s team for assistance on how you can sign up for this benefit.
Don’t Overpack to Avoid Upcharges (at baggage check-in)
Believe it or not, saving money can start from the time you begin packing for your excursion. Suitcases can become a hefty payment if you’re not careful about how you pack your belongings. To avoid upcharges at baggage check-in, pack as lightly as possible by only bringing clothing, shoes and toiletries you know you’ll definitely wear and use.
Even though scheduling daytime transportation may be the most ideal time to travel, a red-eye flight, train or bus ride can potentially cut down your costs. By getting from one place to another during the nighttime, you can lessen the amount of nights you require lodging— resulting in less money you pay for your stay.
Opt for Hostels or Airbnbs
Hotels can be extremely expensive, especially if you are traveling with a group of people. Instead of stressing over the price, look into a hostel or Airbnb in the area. These listings are significantly cheaper, come with unique accommodations and are usually owned by a local (who may have valuable knowledge to share about your location)!
Find Work Exchange Opportunities
Many restaurants, hostels and small businesses offer work exchange opportunities in different areas of the world. Hosts and managers are always looking for additional help with a certain skill set that their business lacks. As a traveler, you can work for them temporarily in exchange for a discounted stay or a free travel accommodation that can save you money. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn something new, meet people, and ultimately, give assistance to someone who is in need of your hard work ethic and knowledge.
Always Look for Restaurant & Food Coupons
When you’re exploring a new place, there is a strong chance you’ll want to check out the local coffee shops, eat at a famous restaurant or order take out to eat at your residence. But before placing any food orders or making reservations, research available coupons that you could use to get discounted meals. Another option is to seek restaurants that offer discounted food or drinks, such as a three course meal or unlimited wine. When you have that much food, there’s bound to be leftovers to carry you through another meal.
Shop at Local Grocery Stores or Farmers Markets
Compared to grocery chains or take out options, local grocery stores and farmers markets are the way to go if you want to get fresh food at a low cost. Usually, these places sell fruits, vegetables and dairy products that are grown and prepared in great condition. Yes, it is totally fine to eat out if you have a desired food preference, but this option is great if you have strict spending limits, opt to eat-in, or want to buy in bulk.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Having a reusable water bottle is not only eco-friendly, but can prevent you from buying a countless amount of plastic water bottles to satisfy your thirst. In certain public areas, refill stations are provided for individuals who prefer to use a reusable water bottle, so you won’t have to worry about where to fill it.
Avoid Additional Data Charges On Your Phone
If you’re traveling to another country where your cell phone provider limits data, consider downloading apps like Skype or What’s App to communicate with family and friends. This decreases the number of minutes you’ll use talking with loved ones. Therefore, it lessens your chance of receiving additional costs associated with using your smartphone to text or talk.
Use Free WIFI Whenever You Can
For those of you who have the urge to stay connected to the internet for social interactions, work or other everyday purposes, there are ways you can avoid paying for the privilege. Start by looking into your cellphone and laptop providers to see if they have network hotspots you could take advantage of. If this brings you limited success, bring your device(s) to a cafe or restaurant to link to free WiFi.
Get to Know The Locals
When you’re in search of free and fun activities to do, don’t be afraid to speak with the locals. Visiting a location is entirely different than living in one, so communicating with a resident may persuade them to share their well-kept local secrets about the best places to check out These are usually unique and entirely different from a tourist’s suggestions.
Use Public Transportation
Using a service like Uber and Lyft can get pretty expensive depending on the day of the week and the distance you’d like to travel. Instead, use the public transportation system to get from one place to another. If you feel like increasing your physical activity as well, walk or ride a bike to each stop. You may find that you’re gaining more experiences than you thought you would and are following your budget all at the same time!
Ride a Bike Instead of Driving
If it’s an option, ride a bike around town instead of driving a car. The more you use your vehicle, the more gas you’ll have to pay for—and depending on your location it can be quite expensive. When you’re out and about, look for bike or scooter racks! Many places provide them to the general public to use for a certain amount of time.
Look For Free Activities To Do
Finding free activities to do is essentially one of the best ways to save money. It can be extremely easy to become immersed into tourist traps, which limits your independence and ability to pay for other accommodations. Walking through local parks and site seeing are great examples! It’s about finding the endeavor that’s right for you or your group.
Exploit Your Student ID
No matter your age, your college ID can be put to good use for numerous travel discounts, vacation packages and random shopping deals. As for students looking to travel during college, using your student ID can save you cash on airfare, train tickets or bus rides. It is vital to show it to the appropriate person, or else they won’t know to lower your transaction cost for being enrolled in school.
Don’t Read Into Travel Myths
“Traveling is too expensive. A travel credit card is a terrible decision. You should handle all currency related tasks at the airport if you’re traveling to another country."
Most hacks that are associated with traveling become a societal norm, which causes more and more people to abide by these rules. It’s important to stick with what you know and what you feel is right when it comes to your budget and money.
Treasure Experiences Rather Than Materialistic Things
All in all, traveling is about making memories, and many of these experiences come with simple and non-planned moments. Don’t stress about having to purchase the perfect souvenir to remember a specific time or place. Instead, take photos, laugh with your friends or family and appreciate the place you’re in. The simple moments often mean the most.
There is no better way to live and learn than through adventuring outside your comfort zone. Whatever your age, financial situation or life status, traveling is possible. The more you prepare, plan and evaluate certain aspects of the cost, the more success you’ll have.