Top Ten Tips to Save Money Traveling
How To Save Money on Travel
I have always traveled - usually until the money ran out and I had to get another job! This is a powerful incentive to economise on the stuff that doesn't matter, while still having a great trip. This request is a bit of dilemma for me as I have written a lot about travel here - so you are going to get a few links to stuff I have written elsewhere and here at HubPages. A guess the trick to traveling cheap is to avoid cocooning yourself in a tour so you never have to interact with the locals. The more you pre-pay a trip, generally the more you will pay (there are a couple exceptions - I'll get to those).
Also focus on what is important to YOU not what the guidebook tells you should be important - if you would rather die than go to the ballet at home why would you pay for an over-priced ticket to the Bolshoi in Moscow? If food is important to you make that a focus of your trip, and skimp on the accommodation. You don't have to stay at a wonderfully luxurious hotel: have a meal there instead. Or pay to use their pool.
So here my top ten tips for saving money traveling: in a random order - its too hard to generalise!
Book Last Minute to Save Money
Or book far in advance! It depends but generally in Australia its better to book hotels last minute and to book airfares as far in advance as you are sure of your dates. The exception are places that are known to be booked out month's in advance: Sydney for New Year's is always a problem for this.
Its worth checking out the local holiday calendar at the planning stage to avoid this sort of problem. That said the ONLY hotels I generally book are:
- the first night or two having flown long-haul;
- if I want to stay at a specific property for whatever reason, usually its location: Machu Picchu is a good example of this;
- I have to, some countries particularly resort islands insist that you do so: Maldives and one and also many smaller Pacific Islands.
Downgrade Your Accommodation Options - Save Money on the Bathroom!
Do you really need an en-suite? Do you have a bathroom per a bedroom at home? Why can't you share a bathroom on holiday? Its the single biggest thing that will reduce your holiday costs.
Older hotels in Europe are maybe 50% of the cost of a "tourist" class hotel because the WC is down the hall. Often you will have a basin in the room and sometimes even a shower, but the WC is down the hall. Why is this a big deal to so many travelers. Get over it and save a lot of money.
Now if you are traveling solo there is another huge money saver: a hostel: book a dorm bed rather than a room. You will meet more people and quite likely find someone going your way to save money on a twin-bed room the next time. Travelers do this all the time: if a guy asks a girl to share a room in a hostel its usually purely financial transaction - and no I didn't mean that!
Travel Out of Season to Save Money
Some countries basically double or triple their prices in high season. Go to Italy in August and you will pay a great deal more than if you go in June or September - because all the local tourists have holidays - in August.
Travel Light to Save Money
Traveling light will save you money and your back. If your bags are heavy your will pay: for a taxi, for a porter, for hotel with a lift (no not every hotel in Europe has those either). Pack smart - never take anything that won't do double duty - and don't forget the most important item to pack ...
Buy Gear and Supplies At Your Destination to Save Money
Unless you are headed to an exclusive resort with only a resort shop, most items are cheaper almost anywhere in the world. Suntan lotion can sometimes be an exception but otherwise toiletries and prescription drugs and particularly anti-malerials are often cheaper to obtain once you arrive in country. Don't bother shopping for a bikini before you get to Thailand. Though if you do have large feet you might want to bring all your footwear with you.
Eat out at Lunch Time to Save Money
Eating your main meal in the middle of the day can save you a fortune. Most restaurants have lunch specials or menu del dia's in Europe which will typically give you a three course meal plus wine for the same price as a main course at dinner time.
Alternatively pack a picnic lunch from the deli section of the local market and find a nice spot in a park to feast on fresh local bread and cheese!
Save Money Using Cash
Cards are useful, very useful when traveling, but the best deal will invariably for cash,either local or Euros or US$. Paying for visas and unofficial fees often means that Visa will not do at all! Check out for these tips on how to carry your cash safely and how to manage your travel money to your advantage.
Do Your Own Laundry - Easy To Save Money
On Or at least take it out of the hotel to be done. I hotel may charge you a $1/item: the local laundromat or laundry-person will probably charge you a $1/load. If seriously cheap, or seriously light - learn to take your sox with yout to the shower.
Save Money: Don't Buy Souvenirs
Lets face the Brussels lace looks wonderful - in Belgium. The cute Toby Jug - looks great in London, the Mexican poncho - looks fantastic, in Mexico. You can buy it all on eBay when you get home anyway!
Choose Your Destination Carefully
If an overseas trip looks out of the question: consider a cheaper option: rather than traveling to Italy maybe consider Eastern Europe. Can't afford Christmas in Australia - how about India - still one of the cheapest destinations on the planet.
You can get a luxury hotel in Riga, Lativia for not much more than a hostel in London.
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