Travel broadens the mind and develops you as an individual.
But, like most wonderful things, it isn't free.
Today, we're going to discuss the 5 best ways to save money while traveling!
1. Stay in a Hostel
Have you ever stayed at a hostel?
If you have, you know that they can be a cheaper alternative to hotels.
However, you will also know why they are less expensive.
Hotels offer many awesome services when you stay the night: maid service, room service, privacy, fresh towels, ect.
Hostels don't offer nearly as many services, but because of that, they can be significantly cheaper.
What is a Hostel?
At a hotel, you typically rent a room. But at a hostel, you rent a bed.
Some hostels will rent out rooms, but that is only cost-effective if you are traveling with 4-8 people.
Female Only Hostels
If you are a solo female traveler, you might not feel comfortable staying in a room with a bunch of strange men.
Fortunately, some hostel are for women only. If a hostel is for females only, it will tell you directly on their website.
What to Bring When Staying in a Hostel
Don't assume that the hostel will provide you with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash like you're used to at a hotel.
You will likely be given one towel and one blanket.
If you are going to be visiting a pool or the beach, I would definitely recommend that you bring an extra towel.
Locating hostels is incredibly easy. Often times, hostels will list their empty beds/rooms on the hotel booking sites you're already browsing.
If you're not seeing any hostel on the site you're searching, don't panic. Just google "hostel" + [city you'll be staying in]. One you find the names of a few hostels, you can type those into any hotel booking website to make sure you're getting the best deal.
When I think of hostels, I tend to think of Europe because they are popular there. But, you can actually find plenty of hostels in U.S. cities, as well!
For example, I stayed at a hostel when I visited Miami with friends and saved a ton of money!
(Want to know where I stayed? Read the post linked directly below!)
If you want more tips on booking a hostel (or even a hotel), check out 10 Tips to Effortlessly Book Your Ideal Hotel for Cheap!
2. Only Pack a Carry-On
Some airlines include one checked bag but most don't; budget airlines are particularly bad about this.
The tickets that include a checked bag are likely to be more expensive. Plus, when you check bags, you have to worry about it getting lost in transit.
So, if you can, skip checking your bag and just take a carry-on.
This is difficult for me. I want to pack everything!
I avoid this by packing versatile pieces that I can layer.
If you're expecting that the weather might be chilly, make sure you pack a scarf.
It doesn't take up much space but can help you a lot when it gets cold.
Also, carry your coat onto the plane. This will save space in your bag. Besides, you'll most likely need it when you land anyway.
Leave Toiletries at Home
I know. You want to know how you're going to clean yourself.
Purchase travel sized toiletries when you get to your destination. If you're traveling to a city you shouldn't have any problems finding them.
Even if you're going to be traveling into the jungle or rainforest, you will likely be landing in a pretty big city first.
If you're concerned about not being able to find biodegradable soap for your trip into the jungle or rainforest, go ahead and pack some of that, but leave everything else at home!
Leaving as many toiletries as possible will give you more room in your carry on for the things you can't easily replace.
3. Save Money on Food
This sounds obvious and vague, but fear not because I'll tell you exactly how you can achieve this!
Let's start with a statement we can all agree with: Food is expensive. Particularly the kind that you order from a restaurant. (Like a decent restaurant; I'm not talking about McDonald's. 🙃)
Still, you'll likely agree that food is an important part of experiencing a new place and culture.
Dine Out 1-2 Times Per Day
If you eat 3 meals a day (like most people), purchase food from a grocery store or market.
The idea of cooking on vacation sounds unappealing, but it will save you quite a bit of money!
If you are staying in a hostel or hotel that gives you access to a microwave, use it! Go to the store and purchase fresh fruit and a frozen meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a combination!
Make sure you are checking the list of accommodations before booking your hostel or hotel.
If you are staying in a city, you should be able to walk down to a grocery store and take it back to wherever you're staying, pop it in the microwave, and bam! You have a prepared meal that was easy and inexpensive.
What If I Can't Make My Own Meals?
If you can't make your own meals, you can seek cheap, fast food restaurants, like McDonald's.
Just make sure that you're ordering with your budget in mind.
Don't spend $8 on a meal at McDonald's when you can easily go to a local restaurant for a similar price.
Look for Affordable Restaurants
This is a no-brainer but still needs to be mentioned.
Not all restaurants that provide you with an authentic experience are expensive.
Use Google to locate locally owned, affordable restaurants that have great ratings!
4. Research Free Things to Do
Most cities have fun, free things to do.
At the same time, there are probably some paid experiences that interested you.
Simply prioritize what you want to do the most.
Look up prices and decide how much money you want to spend on experiences.
Sprinkle those throughout your entire trip and fill in the gaps with free activities.
It's super simple!
5. Book Cheap Flights or Drive
Red Eye Flights
These types of flights are incredibly unpopular, which is why they tend to be less expensive than your average flight. Just be prepared to sleep on the plane, since they take place over night.
Embrace layovers, even long ones.
They make your travel take longer, but they also make it cheaper.
If you're flying to Europe you will most likely have one layover, but if you opt for a flight with two, you might find that the price drops enough to make it more affordable. Just plan for this when you're making your plans. Maybe throw in a couple extra days of vacation to make up for it. 😉
Related: What You Need to Know Before You Fly.
Skyscanner is one of my favorite tools for finding inexpensive flights.
It allows you to search for flights to everywhere, meaning that you don't have to have a destination in mind.
You can simply look for the cheapest ticket.
You can also search for the cheapest month to travel to your destination.
It is an incredibly powerful tool. However, you should shop around. Check the deals being offered on different Airlines' websites and other 3rd party sites.
Drive Instead of Fly
If you can drive to your destination, you might be able to save money!
Definitely take into account the number of miles you'll put on your car, the price of gas, and any sleeping accommodations you might need.
But, if it ends up being cheaper, you can turn your vacation into a road trip!
Plot out stops to make along your journey. It's best not to stop every hour or else you'll never get to your destination but stopping every now and again to see something cool will help break up the long hours.
1. Stay in a Hostel
To save money on sleeping accommodations, check to see if your destination has a hostel you can stay at. Hostels aren’t always cheaper than hotels, however. So, make sure you look around at other options!
2. Only Pack a Carry-On
If you’re flying, checking a bag can cost you an extra $50 each way! Forget that! Save $100 by just packing a carry-on!
3. Eat In 1-2 Times a Day
If your hostel or hotel gives you access to a microwave or a kitchenette, take full advantage of it by making 1 or 2 meals each day!
4. Find Free Things to Do
Most cities have free things you can do in and around them! Make sure to check out parks and museums!
5. Book a Cheap Flight or Drive
If you’re flying, shop around to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible on your flight! When possible, consider driving. You can turn your vacation into a road trip!
No matter where you travel, there are always ways to save money. As you start making decisions on your next vacation, you will most likely discover even more area you can cut back.
Do you have any awesome money-saving advice? I'd love to hear it! Leave it in the comments below. 😊
Until next time,