Don’t we all want to save money, whether we’re traveling or at home?
Travel can be very expensive and we all have a hard time sticking to our budget.
You don’t have to tell me how difficult it is to skip on fun things and crazy nights in the city. I know exactly how hard it is!
We’ve been traveling on a budget forever and we learned a few things here and there that helped us a long way!
But then again, with a few tweaks and tricks, it’s possible to save hundreds, if not more, on your travels while you’re on the road.
You can even earn money while traveling.
Have a look at these easy tricks to save money while traveling!
1. Join free activities
Almost every city or town of interest has a few walking tours. Most of the time, there’s also a free walking tour available.
That’s the on you should get!
A guided walking tour on your first or second day in town, is one of the best things you can do.
The fact that the tour is free, is just one way to save money, you’ll also meet other travelers.
More importantly, during these tours you already get to know the town and you get a great insight in where you want to go during the rest of your stay.
No more aimless walks through parts of town where there is nothing interesting to see, losing time and usually… money.
PS. There aren’t just free walking tours. Do your research and you might find other cool free activities to join!
2. Get free nights in your hostel
Most hostels offer free nights if you stay for a while.
Usually, it’s the fourth or the fifth night you get for free.
But you have to ask for it in order to get it. We always ask when we know we’re staying for a few days. And more often than not, they’ll offer you a free night for your stay.
Aside from getting free nights for longer stays, some guidebooks also include coupons or reader discounts. So if you’re traveling with a Lonely Planet or some other guidebook, check the guide to see if it will offer you a discount!
3. Find hostels with a kitchen
Eating in restaurants 3 times each day can be an expensive hobby. Well, I know it’s not a hobby… you have to eat at some point, right?
We believe that a hostel is not a hostel if it doesn’t have a kitchen.
Cooking your own meals, with local vegetables from the market, will save you tons of money on food.
As an extra asset, cooking in hostel kitchens is fun to do and you’re very likely to meet new friends while doing so. You get to share your food and others will share their food with you.
That’s a rewarding and fun way to travel!
4. Carry your water bottle and some snacks
Carrying a water bottle and some snacks is a huge money saver when traveling.
It’s also better for the environment as you don’t need to buy plastic water bottles each time you get thirsty!
I’m fully aware of the fact that it can be fun to get a few drinks in a cool bar on the main square in the city, and you stil can! But you don’t have to if you’re running short on money.
Your own water bottle allows you to rehydrate whenever you feel like it.
And you can get a water refill in loads of restaurants and shops.
5. Get a transportation card for cities
Most cities have some sort of transportation card which allows you to make unlimited use of public transportation for a fixed price.
This is always cheaper than buying separate tickets each time you want to move around.
If you know that you’ll be all over town for a few days, consider getting a city card.
You can buy transportations cards for most large cities even before you leave your house via the Get Your Guide platform.
6. Stop paying high commissions and exchange fees
Our bank used to charge us insane commissions for each and every withdrawal outside of the EU. And then we got horrible exchange fees when changing currencies.
Luckily, we did some research about that and we switched to a different, digital nomad bank for traveling.
Get yourself a travel card to avoid monthly fees, commissions, and start getting real exchange rates straight away.
Our favourite travel card is the N26 card, but we also wrote a comparison about the 2 most important and popular travel card providers: N26 and Revolut.
7. Be flexible when it comes to flying
If you can be flexible with your travel dates, that’s a huge win for your budget.
Select the dates when flights are cheaper and you can literally save hundreds on flights.
Of course, chances are that you will have an extra layover or stop along the way, so if that bothers you, you should do your research right.
We always try to swap between dates in order to find some of the cheapest flights available.
Skyscanner is one of the best platforms to do that, as they allow you to switch to the month view, where you can see the exact prices for each date… and then you pick the cheapest!
8. Create a budget and stick to it
This one is pretty important!
Set up a budget before you leave.This budget will be more of a guideline than a set amount, because you will likely run into other expenses along the way which you didn’t foresee.
But it will allow you to stay really close to the amount you have to spend.
Calculate a daily, weekly, or monthly budget and stick to it.
Some travelers withdraw the exact amount they have each week and keep it in their wallet. When their wallet is empty, the budget is finished.
We don’t do it like that and we set a monthly budget. We know what the average budget for 1 night of accommodation is before we leave. If we can get a week of cheaper accommodation, we get to splurge a little the week after.
Pro tip: download a good budgeting app on your phone where you track all your expenses. Most apps also allow you to set limits.
9. Eat where locals eat
And stay away from the main square when choosing a restaurant!
Locals usually know where the best food is. And they won’t go to the touristy places where you get charged more because you’re near a tourist attraction.
Restaurants near major attractions and in the main square are ALWAYS more expensive than places a little further away. Plus, the food isn’t always the best either.
When walking through a city, we always try to find the places where loads of local people are having lunch or dinner.
These are, without a doubt, the very best places to go to!
10. Learn how to bargain
Everyone wants to take souvenirs home from their trip.
Chances are good that you’ll get some stuff as well!
Local markets and souvenir shops are designed for travelers to bargain and you should definitely do it too! Especially if you want to save some money!
And you can use your bargaining skills in all types of circumstances, not just for buying souvenirs.
We have bargained for accommodation, souvenirs, tours, transportation, taxi rides, … you call it.
We also wrote an article with a few great bargaining tips to try and use during your travels!
So… Are you using these tips to save money while traveling?
Are you already doing these 10 things to save on travel expenses?
I can already tell you that there are a dozen more things you can do to save dimes and cents on everything you do.
But if you’re starting out with these 10 tricks, you’re already on the road to saving loads of money to extend your travel budget!