Money Hack—How to Travel on the Cheap
Here with another edition of “Money Hack,” we’re excited to be talking today about one of the things nearest and dearest to our hearts: TRAVEL!
Everyone enjoys going on a good trip or vacation, but doing so can be p.r.i.c.e.y! And while you’re most likely not going to get away with a completely free globetrot, there are some important tips to stretch your travel budget as far as possible. Without further adieu.
Budget first. If you can’t afford travel, you can’t afford travel. Your first step is to budget for it. It might take some time and a dose of patience, but making sure you have the cash to cover your adventures instead of going in debt is the way to go. You’ll enjoy your experience all the more without the worry of how you’ll make debt payments when return.
Leverage shoulder seasons. Every destination has a peak season, shoulder season, and off-season. Finding that magical sweet spot between a location’s busiest times and slowest times can be a cost-effective way to travel. During shoulder seasons, you might have a higher risk of less-than-perfect weather conditions, but you’ll also be able to save loads of cash and your destination may even be emptying of tourists.
Use flight prediction. If your travels require airfare, don’t blindly purchase tickets. Instead, use an app like Hopper or Kayak.com’s price predictor tool to find the cheapest tickets. If your dates are slightly flexible, an adjustment of one day could save you hundreds on one international flight alone.
Pack light. We get it; you’re heading to Europe with five destination spots and need lots of outfits and gear to choose from. But your hop from England to France to Germany to Italy to Spain to Portugal will start adding up very quickly. Checking a bag for a trip like this will cost (on average) $25 per flight, plus your return flight. That means an extra whopping $150 per person. Fitting your necessities into one carry-on will save you cash as well as hassle (think dragging your roller bag across ancient cobblestone streets and tiny alleys) in the long run.
Clear your cookies. Make sure your Internet cache is cleared before purchasing any tickets, especially airfare. Certain sites will monitor your access to their URL via your cookies and consider it a higher demand. They will then raise prices that are displayed on your specific device. Outsmart these tactics by clearing your browsing history before purchasing.
Consider alternative accommodations. Hotels and B & B’s are notoriously expensive in touristy areas. Outwit hoteliers by staying elsewhere. Hostels, for example, are an extremely affordable housing solution. You can also look into an Airbnb or even go off grid by pitching a tent! If your final destination requires lots of road travel from spot to spot, you might also consider renting a RV instead. This option will combine your need for a rental vehicle as well as accommodations for maximum cash-saving potential.
Plan ahead. Know what attractions you want to see and what fees are associated with them ahead of time. This will not only help you budget accordingly, but will also assist you in prioritizing. Sometimes you can’t afford every single tourist attraction in one area. By setting priorities that fit your budget, you’ll be able to see what’s most important and maybe even open up your schedule a bit to veer off the beaten path and discover something new and underappreciated.
Go public. Public transportation that is. Private cabs, taxis, and charters can be super expensive, and a lot of major cities have either very cheap or free public transit. Plus, you’ll get to rub elbows with the locals. It’s a win-win!
Rent a kitchen. Eating out is by far the biggest strain on your budget with dining costing an upwards of $50 a day per traveler. To avoid this, choose an accommodation that has access to a kitchen and go grocery shopping when you first arrive. This way you can prepare your own meals at home before heading out. Bonus tip: take snacks with you so you don’t have to cut into your sightseeing to return for a home cooked meal.
Bring a guidebook. Instead of paying a hefty fee for an actual guide, bring a guidebook instead that highlights your chosen destination. Typical guidebooks come with handy street maps and highlight areas of interest and attractions.
The world is your oyster. It’s a big, exciting place out there with limitless opportunities for exploration. How sad would it be to only be limited by your funds? We hope these money hack tips will help make your traveling dreams a reality soon!