Five Great Ways to Cut Down on Travel Expenses
Travel is an experience. It is enlightening, educational, alters your perceptions and opens you to the world.
You want to do everything you can to make it the best experience possible.
Stressing out about going broke is going to detract from the adventure. Travel doesn't have to break the bank.
Here are 5 great ways to cut down on travel expenses, and get the most out of your trip.
1. Go Easy on Accommodation (Consider a Hostel)
Hotels are essentially the same everywhere. Why would you pay a premium in a new country to feel like you are at home?
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Oh, there's cable television included with the room? If you are traveling you shouldn't be watching TV anyway! Get outside and mingle with people.
Hostels and dormitory accommodation options are not only vastly cheaper than hotels, but they can also be vastly more fun.
You get to live with and meet other travellers.
All of these other travellers also have their own plans, their own experiences to share, and their own travel tips for the area.
Some of the best hostels, (especially in Europe and Australia), include free city tours, events and breakfast as well.
The potential downsides of sleeping in a dorm can easily be mitigated with ear plugs for the noise, a mask for the light, and a lock to secure your bag in a locker.
The remote possibility of needing to use these measures is well worth it when you take into account that you may have just cut your accommodation bill by 90% or more.
You will be amazed at the generosity of traveling people and how easily you will start making new travel friends when you are temporarily living with them.
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2. Split Costs with Other Travellers
Among all the new friends you make in hostels you are bound to come across people who want to do the same things that you are looking to do.
Offer to split costs with them. Tours, transport, food and adventure activities can all be cheaper when the costs are divided.
When bargaining for something like a ticket to an event, being able to say, 'Can we get a discount if we buy two?' can save you a lot of money as well.
3. Buy Food at Markets and Cook It
Eating out is fun and a great way to engage with a new community.
Definitely do it, but you don't have to do it for every single meal. Cooking for yourself can save you a ton of money. Most hostels will have a small kitchen, but if you don't have access to one, make some sandwiches or wraps and keep them in a lunch box.
Another great way to engage with communities is at farmers markets and even supermarkets.
I find it fun to walk the aisles of a foreign language speaking supermarket and see all the strange ingredients. Bargaining with locals at a market is always an experience.
So go and buy a bunch of local ingredients, find some local recipes and try to create something delicious.
Consider doing a group cook up with your new friends at the hostel. Consider a local cooking class – you will save money putting it into practice, learn a new skill and have fun!
When you do eat out, consider going for lunch instead of dinner, because the prices will generally be cheaper.
4. Go to Meetups. Do Some Couch Surfing. Use the Internet!
The internet is a wonderful place. Not every country will have these specific options, but check if meetup.com is active in the area you are staying in.
It is a great way to find free events and get immersed in the local community.
You can attend meetups based on your interests, and meet locals who share your passions – who knows where that could lead?
There are also websites, (such as couchsurfer.org), that will help you find accommodation with “traveller friendly” locals.
Using the internet to contact people before you arrive at a place could also lead to housesitting and pet sitting opportunities – which, for you, could mean free accommodation.
It doesn't cost anything to do a google search.
5. Earn Rewards Points for Cheaper Flights
If you google the term 'travel hacking' you will find a host of guides that explain different ways to do it.
What it is, basically, is taking advantage of deals, (mainly with credit card companies), to get reward points that you can them redeem for cheap award flights.
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You can be as complicated as you like with it, but if you can choose a basic travel themed credit card, such as the United MileagePlus Explorer, you can instantly be awarded a bunch of points just for signing up.
If you then use the credit card for general purchases you can quickly build up a balance of points that can be used to save you money on air fares.
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Just be sure to ALWAYS promptly pay off your balance, and do your research before committing to anything!