Are you planning a vacation this year? Fantastic! Did you know that you don’t need to spend a fortune on travelling? You just have to rethink some of your travelling habits. Or read this article instead 😉
Planning is caring
First piece of advice – check the expiration date on your passport and the VISA process for the country you’re visiting. This will save you from a lot of struggle. Take photos of your passport, ID, and boarding pass on your smartphone to use as backups. Also, try to follow some travel blogs or join travel forums. Travel bloggers are nearly professionals for getting the most of their trips for less money than the average tourist. If you want to spend a longer period of time in one place with free accommodation and food, we suggest you volunteer for a project – for example, you can choose among the many options on Volenteermatch or Helpx.
Amusing places to sleep can be cheap (or even free)
Finding a cozy place to sleep doesn’t need to cost that much. The cheapest way is to register and ask various hosts for an accommodation on Couchsurfing. You might want to get some references first, or just write a heart-warming message to the host – otherwise, you just fade to the bottom of their inbox with the other “sleeping-on-couch” requests. If you plan to stay for a bit longer, try to use Room4exchange. You just simply swap a room for a certain period of time with somebody from desired destination. Our third piece of advice in this category is to use night trains for transport, so you can sleep while you’re on the move to your next stop (for free).
Let’s focus on sleeping while you’re moving to another destination. If you’re an adventurous type, you can download the app Hotel Tonight and can scan last minute offers from various hotels. You probably know Airbnb – the site where can you rent apartments for a short period of time. You can use equivalents like VRBO or Tripping if Airbnb has nothing to offer you.
Dining out with fine food, and not with your wallet
Our first piece of advice – try to mimic the eating habits of the locals. Visit the market and buy seasonal goods you have never dreamed of, cook a dinner at home, and invite somebody to share this fantastic meal with you. Or you can visit a supermarket and set up a small picnic outside, if the weather agrees. Each university in Europe runs a “mensa” – a cafeteria for students with cheap meals that is often open to the public. Universities are often in the centers of major cities, so you can enjoy warm meals for less. When you’re in the mood for eating out in a restaurant, try to avoid the typical tourist-orientated restaurants and find yourself a place with a good rating and low prices. You can find plenty of fine restaurants on Foursquare, Tripadvisor, or Foodspotting.
Paying with cash or credit?
There are many different opinions when it comes to paying while abroad. According to the famous traveller Rick Steves, he uses his credit card to book reservations, to cover major expenses (plane tickets, longer hotel stays), and to pay for things at the end of trips to avoid using the ATM. He considers cash as the best and only way to pay for buses, taxis, and local guides. Remember to ask your bank about credit card fees for overseas transactions. When you’re travelling to third-world countries, we strongly recommend that use cash. But always keep it in a safe place – with a money belt, for instance.
The way you travel matters
There are plenty of opportunities to find cheap boarding passes. First, you can subscribe to all the newsletters from different airlines and keep an eye on their offers. Or you can leave it to professional sites like Skyscanner or Vayama. From our experience, flight combinations can save you a lot of money. A lot! When you’re moving within you trip itself, try to use buses. They are not as grungy as they used to be –often they’ll include wi-fi connections and some basic food and drinks in the price of the ticket. The cheapest way of moving to another place is to hitchhike. Of course, you can use a more sophisticated way of hitchhiking and share travel expenses with amateur drivers via Bla Bla Car. This app is known for letting you choose the level of your willingness to chat with your travel companions. The cheapest way of moving within a city is on a bike. In modern cities, there are loads of opportunities for bike rental services, so grab one and enjoy the view from two wheels.
See more attractions for less
You can also consider your time on vacation in terms of monetary value. So we recommend that you wake up early or visit destinations just before closing time. You’ll avoid the lines for museums and galleries. Making a reservation or buying a ticket online in advance is a smart step to save time. When you want to get the most out of the local attractions, buy a combo ticket or sightseeing passes. Walking tours are cheaper then bus / boat tours and walking alone with a printed guide is the cheapest way of sightseeing. Entrance to churches, synagogues, or mosques are often free and they offer you tremendous insights into the city’s cultural heritage.
We hope that this article is useful and helps you cut down on the costs of your next vacation. We’d be thrilled if you could share it with your friends!