How To Save Money On Travel
Money is one of the biggest things that holds people back from traveling. How do we afford to travel? How can I save money in order to travel? How do we save money on travel? These are some questions that we get asked and something that you might be asking yourself as your planning an upcoming trip.
Keep in mind that you do not need to be rich to travel. Sure we see luxurious trips on Instagram and places that may make a person seem rich, but a lot of this is either free for the traveler or given to them at a huge discount!
But what if you aren’t an influencer on Instagram and aren’t able to get these trips covered or discounted? Well, there are endless ways to save money on travel - trust us. Some of these tips, we never even thought of and now use every time we plan a trip!
Read through these tips to learn how you can save money on travel
1.) Be flexible with your trip dates and times
If you’re able to, stay flexible with your trip dates and travel times. Flights may be a couple hundred dollars cheaper two days after your original trip date. Our favorite apps to track this are Hopper and Sky Scanner where you can look at a calendar showing the most reasonable times to fly to the destination.
There are also lots of websites that will give you a list of places to go and the current flight cost. If you’re extra flexible and can go anywhere any time, then this is a great option and can be a really fun spur of the moment decision.
Some of our favorite low-cost flight finder apps and website are:
2.) Get free flights
If you have good credit, one of the best ways to get cheap flights is to sign up for a few travel and airline credit cards. Most cards offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, and some in-flight offers will even double that.
We both use a travel credit card for almost every single expense that we have. Including significant expenses such as rent, monthly bills, and of course all of our travel bookings. We recommend Chase Sapphire, Bank of America Travel Rewards, and Capital One Venture Card. Just be careful about how many credit cards you open and close - this can have a negative effect on your credit score.
3.) Travel like the locals
Use public transportation when possible. You’ll learn about the location you’re visiting by hanging with the locals, is a more authentic experience and will cost you a lot less than renting a car. Although we do understand the convenience of renting a car so if that’s what you decide, spend some time doing research ahead of time to get the best deals. In some parts of the world, you can hire a driver for the day and it costs less than most Uber rides! When I was in Bali, I hired a driver to take me to some of his favorite local spots and it only cost $15 for a 12 hour day!
4.) Slow travel
Spacing out your travel is a great way to save money. Take your time in each place and spend time taking it all in. Walk, grab a bus, and discover the free stuff. Traveling quickly can add up really fast especially when your booking flights back to back or spending money on gas. We found this out the hard way after driving for 12 days straight!
This is something that we haven’t done but hitchhiking is a common and free way to get around and is relatively safe in many parts of the world. Just use common sense and have your wits about you!
6.) Walk or bike as much as you can
It’s free!! Walk around and explore local markets, wander and take photos of awesome locations, or use it as your way of getting from place to place. There are also lots of free walking tours in major cities which are a great way to learn - be sure to tip at the end! Rent a bike or motor bike and explore the city like the locals.
1.) Stay with locals for free or in National Forests
There are tons of websites that let you stay with locals for free or help you find free camping in the national forests. This is an awesome way to get off the beaten path, avoid tourists, and learn the ways of the locals.
2.) Rent an Apartment
Apartments are the best when you’re traveling because they’re relatively affordable, usually have laundry machines, and you can cook at home saving tons of money!
3.) Call the Hotel Directly
A last minute phone call directly to a hotel, or hostel, asking about cheap rooms can be a great way to save money. Often times hotels will want to fill extra rooms and will give a discount. Just have a backup plan in case you’re traveling in a popular area, and everything is booked!
Most hotels are booked Friday-Saturday for travelers and tourists and Monday-Friday for business travelers, so sometimes it’s slow on a Sunday night, and you might be able to get a discounted room. Pay attention to the city you are in too. Is it a popular travel town or a business city? This can make a difference in room rates.
5.) Stay in hostels
A hostel is a low-budget accommodation shared among travelers and is a great way to save money on travel. They aren’t as scary as you may think and are a great way to meet other travelers. We recommend HostelWorld to find a trusted place to rest your head.
WWOOF or WWOOFING stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a world wide network where they link volunteers with organic farmers. In exchange for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer accommodations, food, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. You have to pay to get there but once you have arrived, everything is covered!
7.) House Sitting
A great way to save on travel is to house sit or do a home exchange for a longer period of time. House sitters provide their pet and house sitting services for free in exchange for accommodation. Here are some of the best house sitting sites. And just like renting an apartment, these houses have kitchens that save you extra money on food!
8.) Sign Up for email notifications
Sign up for travel brands and flight sites newsletters. They send promotional codes almost weekly that will save you big time!
1.) Use the Free Days
Research the city you’re headed to ahead of time and see when there are local free days such as free tours, free museum days, or major discounts.
2.) Talk to the Locals
When you arrive, be open to talking to the locals and see how they would spend their day. Often times the tourist attractions cost money but the real hidden gems are completely free. You could even go as far as searching for people on Instagram ahead of time. Search for the city and check out posts from other people. Then find a few that look like cool spots and message the person to find out more about the area. Some people won’t be willing to share the locations but if you’re friendly, chances are, a lot will open up about the hidden gems in the area.
3.) Use sharing apps
Use sharing apps to find cheap accommodation, tours, rideshares, and home-cooked meals. Once again, this is a great way to meet the locals and learn more about the location you’re visiting.
Airbnb - great for experiences such as tours, activities, and random things to do
4.) Cook your meals
One of the best ways to save money on travel is to cook your own food. Nothing adds up faster than fast-food and meals out. Even if you don’t have the ability to cook (although we highly recommend getting a small camp stove if you’re on the road) you can always make sandwiches, carry fruit and bars for snacks, or bring instant meals — were a huge fan of Mountain Houses and BackPackers Pantry!!
5.) Buy the National Park Annual Pass or City Tourism Cards
You’ll save a lot of money if you’re traveling through the US and Canada and hitting multiple national parks. It’s only $80 for the year and covers a whole car of people!
6.) Student, Seniors and other discounts
Don’t forget if you’re a student, military, teacher, or senior citizen or even just an AAA member - there are discounts everywhere!
By using all of these tips, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on travel! Traveling should be something that everyone can experience and not be about how much money you need to spend. With a little creative thinking and time spent on Google — and of course, this blog — you’ll find plenty of ways to save a couple hundred or even a thousand dollars on each trip!