Travel can be expensive. There is no denying it, you need a bit of cash behind you when you first venture out to see the world. But if you are careful and thrifty in your travel ways, you can cut those costs drastically.
We do our best to cut our costs for travel and as such, have quite a few thrifty tips for travel we have accumulated over the years. But there are always more we haven’t considered, so as part of our first Travel Bloggers Tell series, we asked some fellow travel bloggers for their own thrifty travel tips.
TRAVEL BLOGGERS BEST THRIFTY TRAVEL TIPS
Live like the locals! Find out how the locals get around town (like a weekly train ticket rather an expensive singles) and where they buy food from rather than tourist traps (supermarkets, hole-in-the-wall eateries). Look up the local website for your destination to find free seasonal things to do like festivals, as well as cheaper or free days at attractions or museums. Research plays off – cheaper tickets can often be bought for attractions online, particularly in a package with other attractions you might want to visit. When choosing accommodation, consider renting an apartment off a site like airbnb rather than a hotel. They are often cheaper, plus have a kitchen which helps keep food costs down too.
We have been traveling for over 3 1/2 years and all on about $3000 a month, no matter where we go. We are currently based in Spain and it is much easier to stay within budget when we are moving around so much. Some of our biggest tips are to take advantage of house sitting. This will provide you with a free place to stay, often in exchange for taking care of pets. When we don’t do a house sit, we try to at least rent an apartment, so we will have a kitchen. Eating out is such a big expense, so if we can eat breakfast and dinner in, we can enjoy lunch out while we are exploring for the day. Also, when selecting a place to eat out, we try to stick to the places the locals go. The tourist or western restaurants are usually far more expensive.
If you would like to know more about how they can afford travel for so long, check out their blog
Journo and the Joker
Use budget accommodation. Accommodation is often one of the biggest travel expenses. And for the most part you just sleep there. We aim for somewhere that is clean with a comfortable bed, an ensuite and hot water and a fan if we are in a hot country. We don’t stay in the bottom end places but we certainly don’t seek out three star or higher accommodation. In Asia we usually aim for somewhere in the $10 to $25 range. Occasionally we splash out but only when the budget allows or there are no cheaper alternatives. When I was younger I used to save money on accommodation by travelling at night – bus, train and plane trips – but as I get older I prefer a good night’s sleep if I can get it.
We love self-made travels and to plan our holidays by ourselves. It means that most of the time there are no agencies, guides, operators involved. There is only one exception to this: free walking tours! Every city we visit, we check if there is a free tour organized by any organization. They are usually lead by professional guides or students with a passion for history and art and they have one main feature: they are tip-based. It means that at the end of the tour you decide if the tour was good and how much it is worth. And being paid according to their performance, the guides are always very friendly and they try to involve the audience as much as possible. Absolutely worth trying a free walking tour!
When it comes to making family travel affordable, our favourite money saving trick is: home swapping! Like the name suggests, home exchange is based on the principle that you lend you house to someone who wants to vacation in your area and, in exchange, get to borrow theirs. It’s a fun, sustainable and hugely affordable way to travel: the cost of joining a home exchange programme is around 100$ per year and for that, you have your accommodation sorted anywhere in the world!
Some of our own thrifty travel tips we have found over the years, becoming budget family travel focused have helped us save hundreds off our trips at times and that has meant having the ability to enjoy more during the trip, or to better be able to afford our travel. Here are some of our favourite thrifty travel tips:
- Do your research for flights, accommodation, insurance and tours
- Supermarket supplies for breakfast and lunch keep food costs down while travelling
- Carry snacks and water with you to avoid having to pay lots in tourist areas
- Be careful with overweight luggage
- Find free wifi spots and message back home via social media instead of using international phone roaming
- Set price alerts when you are planning a trip so you can get a good price if there’s a drop
- Check out our tips on saving money on flights
- Find more in our budget family travel posts