Want to hit the road and see the world but scared of the costs for your dream adventure? Unfortunately, most travels come with expenses, but there are many ways for you to save money while traveling and make your trip go even further without missing out.
Save Money with Pre-Planning
As any traveler knows, it’s way too easy to get caught up in the exhilaration of exploring new and exotic places, costing you more money than budgeted. Before you head out on your adventure, get out your guide books and do some pre-planning to get your travels and budget further.
Planning your trip before you leave can save you cash, frustration, and downtime (you only have so many hours on your journey, wouldn’t you rather use them to explore instead of to plan). While every adventure should include some spontaneity; too much flying by the seat of your pants will bust your budget. Before you leave, sit down and plan out your itinerary, so you’re using your holiday time the best way possible with the least amount of costs and travel times.
Make sure to plan activities that are close to one another on the same outing. Pre-booking any flights, buses, or trains in advance will not only save money, but some are only available if you book from your home country. Online travel forums like TripAdvisor are great places for research, tips, and up to the minute reviews about your destination, attractions you want to see or didn’t even know existed. A bit of research will let you decide if the places you want to see are worth it and help find new places to explore that you never thought of before.
When you’re traveling, it’s always wise to only carry only the money you need. However, debit and credit card fees can be expensive when used abroad (depending on your bank), and some of the smaller locations may not even take cards. By pre-booking travel, accommodation, transfers, tours, etc. before you leave home, you can minimize any possible fees and still get a good exchange rate.
If you’re heading to another country contact your bank and credit card companies before you fly to find out their fees for where you’re going and to see if they have an affiliation with a local bank that you can use (usually at a reduced rate). In general, local ATMs offer the highest exchange rates but be on the lookout for double fees (that’s when both your bank and the local bank charge fees for withdrawals). The exchange kiosks you see everywhere are convenient and take either traveler’s checks or credit cards, but make sure to read the fine print about their fees to avoid any shock. You can also buy prepaid credit cards that are accepted the same as normal credit cards but offer the comfort and safety of protecting your identity as well.
Save Money on Transportation
Getting to and from attractions, accommodations, and those great restaurants from the Travel Channel can quickly drain your budget. While rental cars or taxis are required for some places, using the local public transportation system will save you money in the long run and let you experience the local culture first-hand. Most cities and towns have excellent public transit systems that can be quicker than walking or driving.
With the recession came the new trend of extreme couponing, an extraordinary way to save money on everyday items and services. Stop by the information kiosk or concierge desk at your hotel/hostel, and the local tourism office as many businesses offer coupons and special rates for tourists that you won’t find online. Make sure you check them out as soon as you check in so you can reorganize accordingly.
Location Location Location
When booking accommodation, most people automatically go to the cheapest place that still looks clean and safe. It’s not like you’re going to Bangkok to spend quality time in the hotel. Unfortunately, most places that are clean, safe, and inexpensive are also further away from the action. When picking your accommodation, be sure to check the location in relation to:
- The distance from the airport, bus, or train station
- How far it is from where you’ll want to spend most of your time
You might save a bit of money on your accommodation by staying outside of the main areas, but end up spending more cash and time getting to where you want to go, and you never have enough of either when you’re traveling.
Save Money on Food
Unfortunately, we need to eat to survive, and it’s one of the biggest budget killers when traveling since most hotels make their profits from room service, restaurants, and bars.
After you get settled at your accommodation, go for a walk through the neighborhood to orient yourself and check out where the local grocery store is located. Stock up on necessities like juice, water, cereal, and snacks so you can have breakfast in your room while you’re getting ready for the day and bring your own water and snacks when you’re out on your adventures. You’ll be amazed how much cash you’ll save and have the bonus of being able to eat whenever you want.
If available book accommodation with a free breakfast buffet – it will save you money right out the door and many travelers ‘accidentally’ pocket some fruit or cereal boxes to snack on later in the day.
Find Someone to Travel With
Of course, the cheapest way to travel the world is to have a travel companion. Lots of the costs associated with traveling can be shared with your travel companion, and you’ll have someone to share your travel adventures with too!