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How to Save Money When Traveling

Traveling is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do, but unfortunately, it does come with a cost.

Luckily there are many small, easy ways to save money when traveling that really add up.

Below are my favorite money-saving tips that I use to help make sure I can travel further for longer.

How to Save Money While Traveling

Saving Money on Accommodation

saving money on accommodation
Saving money while traveling by saving on accommodation

1. Book Directly Through the Accommodation Provider’s Website

An easy way to save money on accommodation is to book directly through the accommodation provider’s website.

I usually do my initial search on a site such as Agoda or Booking.com and then see if I can find the accommodation’s website to compare prices.

I’ve found that accommodation is often cheaper when booking direct, plus you can sign up to loyalty programs which can give you further savings in the future.

2. Stay in Hostels

An obvious but still great way to save money is to stay at hostels.

Hostels are usually the cheapest accommodation option, and they come with so many great benefits.

Most will have facilities such as kitchens, laundry, and common areas, as well as perks like cheap tours and bar drinks. They are also an excellent way to meet people, especially if you’re a solo traveler.

I use Hostelworld to search through different hostels, but again check the hostel’s website for rates.

Also Read: Staying in a Hostel – Pros, Cons & Other Things to Know

3. Consider Airbnbs

If you’re after a bit more peace and quiet than hostels offer, consider staying at an Airbnb.

There is a huge range of different budget accommodation types on Airbnb, such as guesthouses, apartments, or tiny houses.

When choosing an Airbnb, consider things like whether it has a kitchen, a car park, and the location, as these things can help reduce costs further. And check out VRBO as well, which is essentially the same as Airbnb, but sometimes with better deals.

4. Take Location Into Account

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing accommodation.

Often staying in a more central location will cost more upfront, however, it will save money on transport costs.

So if you want to save money when traveling don’t just look for the cheapest accommodation but also calculate the transport costs for different areas.

5. Ever Thought About House Sitting?

Especially if you’re traveling for a longer time or just enjoy staying in one place for several days or even weeks, house-sitting can be a great way to discover a new place without paying for accommodation.

For more information, read this article: House Sitting Abroad – How to Use House Sitting to Travel

Saving Money on Food and Drinks

cheap street food in Thailand
Trying delicious street food to save money when traveling

1. Cook Your Own Food

Cooking your own food is one of the easiest ways to save money while traveling, especially in countries where dining out is expensive.

When choosing accommodation consider whether there is a kitchen available, or at least basic facilities such as a microwave and kettle.

When I went on a three-month road trip around Australia I even packed a microwave in the car so I could always heat up food.

2. Search Google for Cheap Eats

A quick google search for ‘cheap eats’ in your location is another easy way to save on food costs.

Pubs will often have cheap deals on certain days of the week and sometimes restaurants will have lunch deals.

I always search this when I arrive in a new city, and usually end up finding some really good food for a great price.

3. Eat Local

Dining out where the locals eat is a great way to save money whilst also experiencing the local cuisine.

Tourist focused restaurants are usually more expensive, and often not as tasty.

Either research local restaurants beforehand, or choose places that look busy but are outside of touristy areas.

4. Take Advantage of Happy Hour

Buying drinks at bars or restaurants can quickly eat into your budget.

Going out for happy hours can save you a lot of money and is a great way to discover some new bars.

Also consider having a few drinks before you go out, as buying alcohol at a bottle shop is usually cheaper.

5. Fill up on Free Breakfasts

Try to eat a big breakfast if your accommodation includes it in the rate.

Also consider having a late breakfast, that way you might be able to get away with just having a light lunch or snack later in the day.

6. Get Loyalty Cards

If you’re staying in a country for an extended period, grab the loyalty cards for your favorite chain restaurants.

These cards will often give you a free meal or item after a certain amount of purchases.

Saving Money on Activities

A free walking tour in Paris
Join a free walking tour in Paris, France

1. Use Groupon and Klook

Booking activities through companies such as Groupon and Klook is an easy way to save money.

You can often find deals and discounts for activities that you would have done anyway, or you might discover something new to do.

2. Take Advantage of Free Activities

Most cities will offer a range of free activities, such as free walking tours, bus tours, or museum visits.

Hostels usually have great information on free activities available, or else a quick Google search should give you lots of options.

Outdoor activities such as hiking or beach days are also great budget options.

3. Book Activities Online

Tickets for attractions such as zoos, theme parks and viewing towers are often cheaper when you book online.

Check their website while you are planning your trip and consider signing up for their newsletter to see if they’ll email special discounts before you arrive.

Saving on Transportation

traveling by train
Taking trains can be a great and cheap way to see a country

1. Use Ride Share Apps

Rideshare apps like Uber or Grab are often cheaper than taxis.

Many also have sign-up discounts so consider signing up to a few different ones to see what deals are out there.

Do a simple Google search before you arrive at your destination to find out which app(s) are available and most popular in the country you are visiting.

2. Avoid Flying as Much as Possible

Flying is obviously the quickest way to travel, but it’s also the most expensive.

Traveling by train or bus may take significantly longer, but it can result in huge savings.

Many countries will have overnight options, so you also save on a night’s accommodation at the same time.

And, taking a bus or train instead of flying makes your travels more sustainable!

Also Read: What is Ecotourism & How to Be a More Sustainable Traveler

3. Travel During the off Season

Traveling outside of the main peak season can save you a substantial amount of money on airfares and accommodation.

Peak season will often be during the months with the best weather and during popular holidays.

The shoulder season however can often still be a great time to travel, it will be cheaper and usually less busy as well.

4. Be Flexible With Flight Dates

Have a look at flights a few days on either side of your ideal travel date.

You’ll be surprised how much the prices on flights can change within just a few days of each other.

Sign up for Airline Loyalty Programs

If you travel often, consider sticking to the same airline and signing up for their loyalty program.

This way you can accrue points that can be used for flights or upgrades.

5. Travel Slow

Rather than rushing from place to place, consider traveling at a slower pace.

This will save on transport costs, and you’ll also be able to appreciate the places you visit in a whole new way.

Slow travel also has the added bonus of being a lot better for the environment so it’s a win-win.

6. Use Incognito Mode When Booking Flights

Airlines can track how often you look at a flight, and will often raise the cost of the flight if you are looking at it regularly.

Browsing in incognito or private mode will ensure that the price of your flights don’t go up for this reason.

Also Read: How to Find the Cheapest Flights

Money Matters

getting money from an ATM

1. Consider ATM Fees

Choose a bank card that has no overseas ATM withdrawal fees or at least very low fees.

ATM fees can really add up particularly on a longer trip.

It’s worth considering this a couple of months before you travel so you have time to apply for the new card.

2. Get Travel Insurance

Whilst travel insurance presents an upfront cost, it can save you thousands if something does go wrong.

Make sure you have a thorough look through a policy before you buy it to ensure it will cover you for everything you need.

Also Read: How to Find the Best Travel Insurance

3. Use Credit Card Points

The value of this one will differ a lot depending on the country you live in, but using credit card points can be a great way to save money on flights and hotels.

Look into which credit card you can get in your country that lets you earn points. And of course, do read the fine print before you sign up for anything!

4. Haggle If Culturally Appropriate

Make sure you haggle at markets or for things like tuk-tuks.

The savings might be small but they add up over time.

Just make sure you research whether haggling is appropriate where you are visiting.

Saving Money While Traveling – Conclusion

I hope these tips have given you a good idea of how to save money when traveling.

Traveling really doesn’t have to be expensive. And the more you save, the more you can travel!

For more budget travel tips, also read:


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Author: Tessa
Tessa is a travel and nature lover from Australia. She loves sharing her travel tips and she's gotten really good at saving money while traveling.

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