We all love to travel – well, most of us anyway! But who wants to spend lots of money doing it? If you’re on a budget, travelling cheap is a necessity. But even if you have the money to spend, there are lots of ways you can save on a trip, which then allows you to put money aside for the next adventure. Join us as we run through some of our favourite tips on how to travel cheap.
Saving On Travel – Getting There, And Getting Around
When it comes to getting to your destination, there are lots of hacks out there which will save you some dough. By far the biggest thing that will help you in your quest is to book early. While that means sacrificing a little flexibility in your schedule, the rewards are huge. The later you book, the more eye-watering the cost of any flight, bus or train is going to be. But now, let’s look at ways to travel and how you can save on each.
Lots of credit cards still offer flyer miles for purchases. Also, if you’re loyal to one particular carrier you’ll often get rewarded for that loyalty with discounts, perks and rewards. By booking early and combining credit card miles with reward points on your favourite airline, you’ll find the savings soon adding up. If you have no choice but to book your travel late, then why not hunt for some discounts instead. Airlines are usually desperate to fill empty seats at the last minute, and many have the discretion to offer price reductions to do so. A little haggling can go a long way…
Buses and Trains
But on the other hand, why fly at all? It’s carbon-intensive, and there are plenty of sustainable (and in our view, more fun) alternatives out there. Catching a bus or train is often cheaper for all but the most long-haul journeys, and even then – we’d argue – flights are still too much hassle to really be worth it. When booking a long bus or train ride, look for overnight sleeper journeys. This will get you to where you’re going, but you’ll also save on the cost of a night’s accommodation!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also check out ride-sharing sites to see if anyone is heading in your direction. Sites such as Rideshare connect drivers with folks in need of a lift. The best part? Rides are usually offered for very little to no money. Most drivers are happy to cover the cost of a little gas.
One form of travel that is – in our view – under-appreciated, is by boat. Global trade is still powered – largely – by ships. Boats are docking and undocking all over the world every second. With all these ships going some place, it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think to hitch a ride. If you have time to get to where you’re going, you could apply for a short-term position on a cruise ship. You’ll get paid to get to your destination! If you’re on a tighter schedule, you could always try bartering or haggling your way on board a short-haul or charter. You never know!
Getting Around Your Destination
Okay, so what about when you’ve got to where you’re going? By far the best way to get around is on foot – it’s free, green and good exercise to boot. If walking isn’t practical, car pooling with Lyft and Uber is a good option. By walking a short distance to pickup and drop off, and sharing your ride with others, you’ll get around for a very minimal cost.
Cheap and Free Accommodation
Accommodation tends to be one of the bigger costs involved in travel, and one that has the most bearing on how much you’ll enjoy your trip. It doesn’t matter how much money you saved if you’re staying somewhere that isn’t comfortable – you won’t enjoy yourself. That being said, there are good options out there for those looking to save.
One of our favourite sources of free accommodation is house and pet sitting. Sites such as Trusted Housesitters pair people going on vacation with those willing to look after their home and pets. It’s a win-win – a free house for the traveller, and you’re also helping to keep someone’s precious cargo safe. And for those who love animals, free furry companions are a great bonus. While this job comes with responsibility, meaning you’ll have to plan your time around your duties, we feel the costs saved are totally worth it.
Another great way to get free accommodation is to work for it. If you’re into sustainability and aren’t afraid of a little hard work, why not check out the wonderful world of Wwoof-ing. Wwoof stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, offering people the chance to work in sustainable agriculture. Typically, you’ll offer a certain number of hours per day of your labour in exchange for a free place to sleep and usually some lovely organic food too. Not bad.
If you have a little money to spend on accommodation, try looking for Airbnb rentals that are a little outside of town. You usually pay a hefty premium for the convenience of staying downtown. Staying farther out of the city but carpooling downtown will end up as the cheaper option.
Saving On Food
Okay, this is a hard one. I loooove food. It’s one thing I try to never skimp on, so it’s difficult for me to give good advice! Nevertheless, the cheapest meal is always going to be the one you cook yourself. So we recommend taking some staple, non-perishables with you on your travels. Think dried pasta, pesto, breakfast bars, that kind of thing. This way, you’re able to grab something quick and filling when you need it without having to eat out. By simply cooking a little more at home, you’ll find the savings accumulate nicely.
What to do when you get to your destination? This one’s easy, as there are usually bountiful free activities in every city. A quick web check will reveal free museums, galleries and events going on in your area. If you have a little money to spend on activities, then voucher sites such as Groupon offer good savings and are worth a look. Don’t forget though – some of the most incredible memories you can create on vacation – such as a spectacular view – cost nothing!
Now Watch Those Travel Savings Add Up!
Well, that’s all for now folks, we hope you enjoyed this guide on how to travel cheap. Got a great cheap travel tip or story you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for tips on how to simplify your life. Until next time.