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 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 heading out on your adventure, get out your guidebooks and do some pre-planning.
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 exploring instead of planning? While every adventure should include some spontaneity; too much flying by the seat of your pants will bust your budget. Before you jet, 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 for research, tips, and up to the minute reviews. You can check out your destination, attractions you want to see or didn’t even know existed. And a bit of research can help you decide if the places you want to see are worth it and help you find new places to explore.
When you’re traveling, it’s always wise to only carry 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 stores/attractions may be cash only. 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 traveling to another country, contact your bank and credit card companies before you fly to confirm their fees and ask if they have a local affiliation. Many banks are affiliated with other banks that you can usually use at a reduced rate. In general, local ATMs offer the highest exchange rates but may charge 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 standard 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. Rental cars or taxis will be required for some excursions, however using the local public transit 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. Many businesses offer coupons and special rates for tourists that you won’t find online. Once you check in, stop by the information kiosk or concierge desk at your hotel/hostel, and the local tourism office to see what’s available.
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 usually 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 locate the local grocery store. 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 on your first meal, and many travelers take extra 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!