15 Money Saving Tips While Traveling
Cheaper travel will help you pack more into your trip! We’ve been traveling for over 2 years now and we always get asked about how to save money while traveling. So, we’ve put together a list of ways to travel that will help you save money and travel cheaply.
Our money saving tips will help you on short or long trips whether in your own country, or internationally.
Our wonderful friends from WorldTowning, Jess and Will, inspired this post earlier in the year when they asked us to do a video for their WorldTowning students on how we save money while traveling the world with our children.
You can watch the video below, or read on…
1. Be Flexible With Travel Dates
This can be hard if you have to work around school holidays with your children, but if you don’t have children or you homeschool, traveling outside of school holidays is a great way to save money on airfares and accommodation.
If you are traveling overseas, make sure you take note of the holidays at your destination as well, because often they will be different to your own. For example, Australian school holidays vary greatly from those in the US and Europe. Also, places like France tend to have lots of regional holidays, so prices might be higher on those days.
2. Join Facebook Pages
To help you find cheap places to travel, join Facebook groups and set them to show first so you always see the current deals. Some deals only last hours or days, so this is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out.
The below pages are great to find flight and accommodation deals on cheap places to travel internationally. Some are UK and Europe based but most are US-centric.
- Secret Flying
- Holiday Pirates
- Travel Pirates
- Fly 4 Free (all of their pages)
- Jacks Flight Club
- Airfare Spot
3. Be Flexible with locations
One of our tricks to save money is to be flexible with where you are flying into and out of. For example, if your end destination is Paris, often it is cheaper to fly into London and then just catch a connecting flight or the train from there.
There is an incredibly powerful tool that can help with this, called Kiwi.com. It allows you to put in search radiuses and flexible date ranges to see what cheap flights are around your location and destination. We’ve used this in the past to find some amazing flight deals that we probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.
4. Travel with Carry-On
When you travel do you tend to overpack and have clothes you don’t even wear? I know I certainly did before we left to travel full-time.
This may sound a little crazy, but we’ve been traveling with only a budget airline sized carry-on each for almost the whole time we’ve been away and it has saved us so much money!
The boys have loved the freedom of having all they own in a small backpack, but Milla and I have struggled with it from time to time. However if you fly often it may be worth considering; it could literally save you hundreds of dollars per flight and is one of our biggest tips on how to travel cheaply.
5. Research is the Key
We research locations for free walking tours, find out where the locals eat, discover local activities, and do our homework on the cheapest way of getting from the airport, etc.
One of the most powerful tools we’ve found when researching a location is Wikivoyage. It is by far our number one tool when trying to find information about a location. You can also download an app called Kiwix, which allows you to download Wikivoyage offline – invaluable for getting some research in on bus rides while you don’t have data!
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6. Rent with Airbnb
As a family, we frequently find Airbnb allows us to get the most for our money.
You will generally find that Airbnb accommodations are better than they would be in a hotel, often with more than one bedroom, a dining table, couches,etc. Best of all, Airbnb rentals often give you a kitchen, which allows you to cook your own meals to save money!
If you are new to Airbnb and you sign up with this link, you can get $55 AUD (or approximately $35 USD), off your first trip!
7. House Sitting
At the time of this video we had completed two housesits in the UK, and now at the time of writing we have done another three in the US.
We have been fortunate to have met some amazing families and made some great friends in the process, as well as save a great deal of money. It also gives us the chance to spend time caring for some wonderful animals, which we value greatly as it’s something we miss.
Housesitting is beneficial to both parties as you are helping someone out who needs someone to love and care for their pets and home while they are away. You save money, and get the benefit of looking after animals, meeting new people, and being in a home rather than just a hotel room!
Some people do this full-time, which allows them to travel and have free accommodation year round.
While there are several companies that facilitate housesitting, the largest is Trusted Housesitters. Generally, the biggest concentration of house sits are in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, but you will also find them all around the world.
If you want to join Trusted Housesitters you can use this link or this code (RAF59965) at checkout to receive 20% off your membership.
8. Reduce your Alcohol Consumption
For those of you who drink alcohol (ahem, us), ordering drinks while you are out to dinner will almost always double your restaurant bill!
Instead of paying three times the usual price at a restaurant, buy some after dinner and then enjoy a glass of wine at home instead. I think we can all relate to how expensive alcohol is at restaurants no matter where you are in the world.
9. Spending Longer In Cheaper Countries
This may sound like a no-brainer, and it will definitely help with your budget. Europe, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and some countries in South America are all pretty expensive.
I know from experience that I want to see the expensive places too, but try to balance out your trip and visit some cheaper countries as well to greatly reduce your overall cost.
South East Asia, Central America, and Eastern Europe are all great options, and are some of our favourite regions on the planet in their own right!
10. Use Free WiFi
When we spend longer in countries we sometimes purchase a SIM card, but generally, we just connect to free WiFi. We also make sure when booking accommodation that it has WiFi available.
Free and reliable internet is easy to find throughout Europe, but reliable fast internet can be much harder to find in places like Asia, India, and Mexico.
Relying soley on free WiFi might not be an option for you if you have to work on the road and you require stable, fast internet.
11. Use Grab, Uber or Lyft
Because we are four people we always consider the multiplication factor of travel, and transport is a big one. It is often cheaper for us to catch a Grab, Lyft, or Uber than take a train or bus.
We will always use one of these three options over taking a taxi where available, especially in developing countries where you may be a target for scammers.
If you need to sign up with Grab, Uber or Lyft you can do so using one of these links:
12. Avoiding Tourist Traps
This one is about finding a balance between saving money on what can be expensive and touristy attractions, and what you would kick yourself for if you didn’t see while there.
If you’re interested in visiting several attractions in a city, you can explore the city passes that are often available. You can sometimes find some really good deals on last-minute tours and shows. There are free walking tours of most cities where you tip what you feel is reasonable at the end, and you can consider season passes to various things if you plan on being in one place for a while.
To give you an example, we recently traveled through the US and spent a lot of time visiting the amazing US National Parks, so we bought a National Parks Pass which lasts a whole year even though we were only there for three months. The money saved by purchasing the pass far outweighed how much we would have spent if we paid for each Park individually.
Another thing we do a lot is self-guided tours using an app such as Rick Steves Audio Europe, which has free self-guided tours of the main attractions and cities in Europe.
We sometimes create our own by pre-marking everything on Google Maps before we head out, and have Wikivoyage open in the Kiwix app for reference along the way.
13. Spending Longer In One Place & Traveling More Slowly
Moving too quickly will cost you money. If we had spent longer in one place, not only would we have spent far less on transport, we would have been able to negotiate better deals with accommodation also.
If you spend longer in one place, accommodation sites like Airbnb often have weekly and monthly deals, sometimes up to 50% off! If you are in Asia, renting a place for a week and then negotiating directly with the owner for a long-term rate can be a good strategy.
While we enjoy the odd gourmet meal, our aim is usually to eat like the locals do, and shop what’s in season
We tend to eat a lot of street food – it’s authentic, tasty, and remarkably cheap!
However, there are some countries where we are more cautious with our choices, such as India. You can save a lot of money by eating in a place that looks pretty basic from the outside. We look for a place packed with locals or backpackers, and can be pretty sure that the food will be good and the price will be right.
We do eat out in nicer places sometimes, like on birthdays, or if we are out with others, but generally we stick to street food or similar if we can’t cook ourselves.
Last but not least, we use our feet! We walk absolutely everywhere where practical. Not only does it keep us fit, but we save a lot of money on transport. We also see more of a place than we would if we were zooming past on a bus or train.
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