I refuse to believe that travel is expensive. If you’re flexible, you can travel cheaply and see the world! Below are some of the ways that I’ve saved money while traveling.
Airbnb has been on the scene for a number of years and provides a wide variety of types of accommodation. It’s a great way to meet locals and the price is normally cheaper than hotels.
Couchsurfing is a service that allows locals to advertise their couch availability to travelers for free. It’s a great community of travelers, and hosts will often spend time with their guests by being guides around their city. Because hosts provide travelers with a warm, comfortable place to sleep for free, it’s understood that travelers will share a little something in gratitude: cook for your host, buy fresh flowers, or share an expertise to show your appreciation.
Hostels have been around for a long time, but have recently gone through a revival. Many hostels have reinvented themselves with themed decoration or other features that set them apart from other hostels in the area.
BlaBlaCar is a great tool to use for carpool. It’s free to sign up. It’s similar to Uber in that no money is exchanged as it’s done through the site when you book your ride.
Bus and/or Train
The train game in Europe is fantastic! You have so many options so make sure to do your research to get the most out of your money. You can go the traditional Eurail Pass or simply buy one way tickets.
The bus can also be a fun and cheap option. BusAbout offers a type of hop on/hop off type of ride that lets you get on or get off where you’d like.
Europe seems to be the land of discount airlines. It’s best if you’re not carrying too much luggage, this is certainly the way to go if you need to make long jaunts in short amount of time. Sign up for newsletters with Ryanair, Easyjet and Flybe for extra discounts.
If you feel comfortable hitchhiking then this is a cheap way to get around. It can be tough because you never know when someone will pull over, but it can be a very interesting way to meet new people!
Food and drink
If you’re staying in an Airbnb accomodation, or have access to a fridge and appliances, make use of the local markets and grocery stores. I always try to buy breakfast and lunch food so I don’t have to spend a lot of money eating out at every meal.
Food trucks and stalls are also a great option for a meal. Grab a kabob or a gyro and find a comfy spot in a park for a picnic.
Many cities provide city cards that are valid for a fixed number of days allowing guests free or discounted access to a number of tourist sites, attractions and activities. Make sure to take a look at the attractions that offer discounts and cross check it with what you want to see. The card won’t be worth the price if you only visit one or two attractions.
Conveniently, some city cards also offer local transport on city buses, metro and trams!
Discounts (student, senior, etc)
Some attractions and museums offer a discounted rate to students, seniors or military personnel. Also, employees at large companies or unions can benefit from fringe benefits and group discounts to certain hotel chains or transportation companies.
Free Museum Days
Many museums worldwide offer free museum days. Free admission days tend to be quieter days, such as Mondays. Check the museum’s website ahead of time before paying admission.
Make use of Google maps. If you’re not wanting to use mobile data, a good alternative is Maps.Me. Download the map when connected to the Internet, then view it offline. Live like a local by finding locally recommended hot spots and off-the-beaten track with Use It Europe.
Free Guided Walking Tour
Most large cities offer free (or pay-what-you-can) walking tours by enthusiastic locals and history buffs. These tours are often small which leaves a lot of opportunity for questions.
What methods do you use when traveling to save money? Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.
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