Traveling is an amazing way to get to know history, art, and other cultures. It makes you more confident and even has health benefits from Vitamin D absorption while tanning to cardio while walking.
Thanks to technology, traveling today is easier than ever, and, better yet, the most financially accessible.
Looking for the best ways to save money while you’re traveling? We’ve compiled a list of the top seven ways to do just that.
1. Find a Job You Can Work While Abroad
Why save money while you’re traveling when you can make it? There a surprising amount of jobs that will travel with you!
Travel blogs online often look for people (and pay them) to share their experiences on their site.
Try a website like TripsbyTips. You can spend a couple of hours in an internet cafe sharing tips about your travel history, and have your travel fund more travel!
You can also find a physical job in the places you are traveling to. Think about skills you might have that would be valuable in a vacation destination.
Could you make as a tour guide, a casino worker, or a cruise director?
Some jobs are particularly popular among young people, like farm working (especially in Australia and New Zealand), working as an Au-pair (great for people looking to learn a second language, as you live and work closely with a family), or working in a hostel.
If none of these sound appealing to you, you can always stick with the classics! Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean there isn’t still demand for bartenders, waitresses, and cashiers!
2. Save Money While You’re Travelling by Looking Beyond Hotels
Staying in hotels is the way of the past. There are so many more options available today, for much better prices.
If you’re looking to stay a couple nights in a hotel-like atmosphere, try a hostel.
Hostels are often given bad names by people who stayed in them forty years ago, but some nowadays are downright luxurious.
From waterfall showers to private rooms, hostels offer a cheap take on incredible amenities, often in incredible locations all over the world.
Still skeptical? Check out websites like Hostelworld to see how incredible hostels can be.
3. Be on the Lookout for Travel Deals
There are all kinds of incredible deals out there on flights, rooms, and rental cars if you keep an eye out for them.
Read our tips on getting the best deal on your rental car, or sign up for an airline’s loyalty system or credit card to save money while you’re traveling.
Some programs offer huge miles as a signup bonus, equaling as much as a round-trip to Europe. Try a site like FlyerTalk, which shows you the best ways to spend your miles.
Cheap airlines, like Norwegian Air, WOW, and Air Asia, are also breaking into the market now, offering a no-frills experience at an astounding fraction of a stand airline’s cost.
Norwegian offers flights from the US to Europe starting at $150 one-way, and Europe to Asia at $200. Air Asia offers domestic flights around $20 and one towards Australia at $150.
Save money while you’re traveling by avoiding extra fees on checking bags by carrying yours on. Check out our advice on packing to get it all to fit.
Some extra deals are available to you if you are under 26 and traveling in Europe. Many museums are free, especially if you have an EU passport or student id, and many international train tickets and some flights are discounted even if you have neither.
4. Make Your Own Meals
Eating out every day while traveling adds up to be really expensive. One pro tip to save money while you’re traveling is to make at least some of your meals at home.
Simple things, like just buying in a grocery store what you would normally order in a restaurant are a guaranteed way to save cash.
If you’re looking to take it to the next level, try buying especially cheap goods. A bag of rice is almost unthinkably cheap and will last you up to two weeks. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, especially if you buy them at markets.
Replace some of all of your meals with store bought and homemade food, and you’ll already cut your budget down almost in half.
If you’re saving money while you’re traveling by also staying in a hostel, you’re almost guaranteed to have a kitchen available.
Try introducing yourself to some other travelers, and offering to cook with them if they are willing to split the grocery bill with you. This way, you can meet new people, and shave the cost of eating down to almost nothing!
5. Save Money While You’re Traveling by Traveling to Cheap Countries
It seems like a no-brainer, but cheap countries are often overlooked, sometimes accidentally, when people do research for their vacation plans.
Some destinations are obviously just less expensive in general (Think Thailand, India, and Mexico), but other possible dream spots, thanks to fluctuating economies and currency exchange rates, may dip into your price range without you even realizing it.
Everybody knows that Greece is cheap to travel to now, as their economy is struggling.
Less common knowledge is the advantage you get with countries whose economies may not have changed while their exchange rates have.
The UK, Japan, Australia, and Russia are all incredibly affordable right now, merely because their currencies are down compared to the dollar.
So, to save money while you’re traveling, check exchange rates. You might be surprised where it’s affordable to travel, and where it’s not.
6. Get a Discount Card
Many cities offer a particular card that groups together popular tourist activities at a discounted price to what you would pay if you purchased tickets to each cite separately.
Save money while you’re traveling by researching what you want to see in a city, and comparing the costs of the tickets separately to what you would pay for a prospective city’s pass.
Also to think of in your evaluation: some passes offer extra benefits, such as admission to public transport (like the London Pass does to the Underground) or special, shorter lines (as the Paris Museum Pass does).
For example, if you were to travel to London for three days, your London Pass would cost $122. If in these days, you were to visit the Globe Theater, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, and The Tower of London, all while taking the Tube, you would already more than have covered the worth of the pass.
Most passes will cover admission to two or three museums and dozens of miscellaneous attractions. Check the cities’ tourist websites to see the specifics.
Passes can be purchased at local tourism offices and some stores in the cities. Check online to see where they can be found, and stretch your sightseeing dollars to the max!
7. Avoid Card Fees by Using the Best Card for You and Ordering Currency Ahead
It’s important to know that the currency exchange offers your domestic bank has is likely much better than any you might find abroad.
Occasionally, you may pay shipping for the bills, but this is nothing compared to the commissions, fees, and exorbitant rates you will pay at various ATMs and exchange shops globally.
The general practice of balancing cash and cards abroad is this: cash for small items (coffee, a light lunch) and card for more expensive things (family dinners, transportation).
Calculate how much cash you think you’ll need, and contact your bank to understand their specific policies as to how to get it.
Some banks, like Bank of America, have partnerships with banks abroad that may alleviate some fees should you need to use an ATM abroad. Check your bank’s web page to see if this is a service they offer.
If your bank does not offer this service, you can also get a card with an association like Charles Schwab, whose debit card contract stipulates that all ATM fees will be reimbursed.
A travel credit card may also be a good option.
In addition to helping you rack up points, travel cards, like the Bank of America Travel Rewards or the Capital One Venture, have no foreign transaction fees.
This means that you have the option of using these cards just as you would in the US, with no extra fees. However, you’ll still have to keep the exchange rate in mind.
When presented cards like these, some stores will give you the option of choosing to pay in either your currency or the country’s.
To save money while you are traveling, you always want to choose the currency of the country you are in. Sometimes a store will use a much higher exchange rate than is actually in place.
If you choose the domestic currency, the exchange rate will be that of your bank, and always more fair.
As always, don’t forget to alert your bank while traveling to avoid inconvenient card cancellations!
Here are the 8 Reasons Why Traveling Is Good for Your Health
Now you know all about saving money while you are traveling. Looking for a way to save some time? Check out our article on speeding through security.