• BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Travel Bloggers BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

I reached out to all my favorite bloggers to see what their BEST tips for saving money while traveling. I wanted to know what their swore by, whether it was a website or a travel product. Some of these bloggers have been traveling for 10 years and have expert knowledge on the subject. I hope these money saving travel hacks will help you out.

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BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Do as the locals do

To save money, I tend to ask the locals where they eat, or how they get around. If there’s a truly local restaurant, I eat there too or if there’s a local bus rather than a tourist bus, that’s what I take. The locals, especially in developing countries where there is a big difference between tourist prices and local prices, are the key to traveling cheaply, and authentically! -Kristin, Be My Travel Muse (Kristin also has an ebook for girls traveling solo)

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Get creative with layovers

I like to get creative when booking my flights. If you are strategic, you can get free, extended stopovers! I like to research multi-leg flights to see where I can go without having to pay extra. For example a roundtrip flight from LA to Cancun might have a 1 hour layover in Miami as part of the trip. Try searching for a multi leg flight, flying from LA into Miami, then a few days later flying from Miami to Cancun, then instead of returning directly to LA, you can try adding a leg from Cancun to Mexico City, then Mexico City to LA. This strategy works all over the world and often you won’t have to pay any difference in fare since those stops are considered layovers. I’ve been able to book month-long trips with multiple destinations using this method! -Kiersten, The Blonde Abroad

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Choose your destination wisely

I usually find that if you travel and live the way the locals do then travel really doesn’t have to be expensive – actually I find it’s much more affordable than maintaining a comfortable lifestyle back home. You really don’t need much money to travel. Firstly, when traveling on a budget I make sure that I am traveling in one of the world’s cheapest destinations. I stay in local homestays or guest houses ( don’t book online – I often get a much cheaper deal just by turning up and asking around – the cheap places are not listed on online yet).

Instead of taking AC tourist buses and taxis I hop on the local bus for a fraction of the price, and instead of eating western food in fancy restaurants I eat street food or go to places where local people eat. By traveling like a local I can get survive on less than $15 a day in places like India and South East Asia, plus I get a better insight into the local life! – Anna, Global Gallivanting

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Work abroad

My biggest money-saving trick is to consider working abroad. I worked as an au pair every summer in France, and my employer paid for my flight to Europe. Before and after the job I would travel around Europe using budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. – Ashley, Ashley Abroad
BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Think outside the box with lodging

One of the biggest expenses during traveling is the amount of money I spend on accommodation. There are plenty of ways to cut down the cost of lodging. Try couchsurfing, travel slow and stay longer by renting apartments for an entire month, travel in low season, or just stay completely rent-free by becoming a housesitter and take care of someone’s pets while staying in their house.  – Sabrina, Just One Way Ticket
BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Try this arrival routine

“Whenever you arrive in a new destination, whether by bus, train or airplane, don’t try and reach your accommodation until you sit down and rest for 20 minutes or so. Grab a coffee at the airport cafe, hang out on a bench at the train or bus station…the idea is that whenever we arrive in a new place, we are often overwhelmed by not knowing where to go, what to do, how much transportation to our hostel or hotel should cost, etc. As a result, we often make bad decisions that lead to us spending more money than we should by getting ripped off or tricked.
We go with unofficial taxi drivers, we get in a rickshaw when the hotel is just a few blocks away, we end up exchanging money at a terrible rate because some ‘helpful’ person in the airport lead us to some sketchy money exchange booth while we were exhausted and confused after a 12 hour flight.
If we just stop and sit for 20 minutes, we can collect ourselves, relax and figure out how the official taxi system works, how much things should cost, who to avoid and more. This can be done online or by simply looking around and figuring out the signs or even asking the waitstaff or police officers or any trustworthy person for assistance. Then, once the 20 minutes are up and we feel more confident in our surroundings and how to reach our accommodation, we can proceed knowing that we won’t get ripped off or make any bad decisions that might lead to a rough start to our trip.” Derek, Wandering Earl
BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Try this important planning technique

My biggest money saver isn’t exactly a trick or hack, but it’s the key to how I traveled overland from China to the Balkans last year for under $20 a day: prioritize! I know it sounds simple, but I’m talking about very detailed, planned out prioritizing. Before visiting a place I’ll decide on a few absolute musts, and then I’ll adjust all my other expenses accordingly. Sometimes this will just mean eating at a cheaper restaurant or staying in a hostel dorm, while for bigger splurges it’ll mean sticking to only grocery store food, hitchhiking, and Couchsurfing. I can get pretty extreme with my budgeting (like living on $3 a day) but if I know exactly what I’m saving my money for then instead of feeling like I’m missing out on stuff I’ll just be really excited about what’s to come!
I find this way of budgeting way more rewarding than simply trying to spend as little as possible on everything – I guess I’m more of a save hard spend hard kind of girl, ha. In fact, my focus on priorities helped me to save $44,000 in two years while living in Japan (you can read the full story of how I saved the money here. – Silvia, Heart My Backpack
BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Use the kitchen for TWO reasons

My best money saving trick is also my best travel health tip… stay somewhere with a kitchen! In many countries it’s standard for hostels to have shared kitchens. I’ve also seen them in small guesthouses and AirBnb has become hugely popular all over the world. Having a kitchen gives you way more control over what you’re eating which means saving money and feeding your body the way it likes to be fed. Even if you want to sample restaurants and local cuisine, it makes a huge difference to be able to keep some fruit in the refrigerator and cut it up for breakfast or visit a local farmer’s market and put together your own picnic lunch. It’s not uncommon to spend $10 on breakfast out in a restaurant versus some eggs, corn tortillas, and avocado from the market that will last days for a few dollars. Camille, This American Girl 
BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Experience over meals

Our biggest money saving tip is to find the accommodation that has a kitchen or at least has a fridge where you can eat meals in. We find that the majority of our budget seems to go on eating out. Once you order a bottle of wine, appetizers and dessert the bill can easily reach $200. Going to the supermarket to buy wine, cheese, bread and meats can save you a lot.
Pack a picnic snack for lunch and find a nice spot in a park or by a river to eat your meals. There are many creative ways to save money on food. Instead of blowing your budget on fancy meals, save it to out towards adventures and experience. -Dave and Deb, the Planet D
money saving tips planetd

Go Slow

Travelling slowly is an amazing way to not only save money, but to really integrate yourself into the places that you visit. You’ll save money due to not having to pay for transport as often, but also because you’ll save on accommodation. The longer you stay, the cheaper your hostel / hotel / apartment will be.

Our second tip is to eat locally. Always go for the traditional food, and eat where the locals eat. Not only is the locally sourced food the cheapest option, but more often than not, it’s the tastiest! Nick & Dariece, Goats on the Road

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling4

Don’t pay for transportation

Try hitch hiking – it will save you money and it’s exciting. Jonathan and I tried it many time in South East Asia and Latin America. If you’ve never tried it before, it’s understandable to think that it’s dangerous, but in reality most people out there are good, you just need to use your common sense and trust your instinct. If you’re still unsure, then you can try ride sharing, where people with cars advertise the route they’ll be driving and try to find travel buddies to join them and share the expenses. It can be a great way to meet cool new people and to travel in a bit of extra style. Kach & Jonathan, Two Monkeys Travel

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

Don’t say no to an invitation

While I may not be the best person to ask about saving money while traveling (because I’m all for spending money on experiences and food rather than pinching pennies and cooking in a hostel), there are a couple of things I like to do. One is having a good site for searching flights. I met a guy while I was traveling around Easter Island who was on the road for 2+ years. He found all his flights on www.momondo.com, and I have since started using that site, at least for a starting point in flight research. Another thing I do is take advantage of invitations from international friends. The more you travel, the more you are likely to meet people overseas who will invite you to visit them in their home countries. I have used these invitations to stay with locals in Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, Denmark, Korea, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Spain and Hong Kong, just to name a few. (Shout out to Rachel for being a super fun host in Goa!) While visiting those friends, don’t forget to buy your hosts a nice bottle of wine or make them dinner or even bring a special gift from home. And of course, insist they come visit you once you’re home (or elsewhere in the world) so you can really return the favour! The guy I met on Easter Island made a stop in my hometown after we spent several days whipping around the island together. I was happy to show him around, and maybe one day I’ll make the trek to see him in Japan where he has settled. Colleen, Colleen Brynn Travels

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling4

Think ‘working holiday’

My biggest money saving hack for travel I’ve followed now for almost 20 years is to make it a working holiday! You don’t have to save as much to begin with and you can explore your new country while earning money! My strategy was to work in expensive countries, like England and the US, explore those regions while earning the local currency, and then travel long-term in less expensive countries, like Africa and South East Asia. My money went further and I could travel longer in between jobs. I now follow the same strategy, except this time I have my own digital business so no longer have to rely on working holiday visas. Caz and Craig, Y Travel

money savings tips

Choose less places to stop

My tip is something I really stick by when I travel- to pick less cities on my itinerary. When I first went to India I had about 3 places per state to see, while Lonely Planet says 7-10 are amazing. Once you narrow it down to the ones that really appeal to you (with a lot of research) you will be able to have a much better trip. Transportation costs are some of the biggest expenses on a trip, so if you stay put in each place longer, you’ll spend less on trains and flights.

As a bonus, you’ll be more relaxed and by getting to know a few select cities in depth, you’ll feel like you know the state or country better in the end. I’d also like to add that if you choose less stops on your itinerary it’s easier to plan and to think ahead for each place in terms of an affordable hotel and activities to do. When you rush, you end up somewhere with no hotel booked and spend more than you intend. Rachel, Hippie in Heels (had to add myself here!)

BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

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BEST Tips for Saving Money While Traveling

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2016-11-09T12:22:21+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

12 Comments

  1. Anna July 19, 2016 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Nice post Rachel! :) Lots of great tips, thanks for including me

  2. Dariece July 19, 2016 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Thanks for having us! Some awesome tips in here :)

  3. Colleen Brynn July 19, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

    I love how different all the advice ended up being!
    Thank you for asking me to participate. Happy to contribute anytime! x

  4. Stephanie Craig July 19, 2016 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Great tips! Bookmarking to revisit again down the road.

  5. Kate July 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

  6. Charles McCool July 20, 2016 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Some solid and powerful travel strategies included in this piece. Let me know if you do a followup article.

  7. Vivian July 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Great tips for saving money! I try to do all these things while traveling; although I didn’t know about the extended layover option!

    Have you ever considered camping at a destination rather than staying in hostels and whatnot? I suppose it depends on where you are, but if you camp in outdoorsy areas like Iceland, or in the Alps, or in Scotland, etc etc then that will end up saving you tons of money, especially in European countries.

    • Rachel Jones July 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      I would definitely do some “glamping” lol but camping isn’t really up my alley! I could camp if there were great showers and bathrooms at the campground though! It’s a great idea for some though thanks!

  8. These are great tips Rachel. Many of which I use myself except for the kitchen tip.

    I dislike cooking at the best of times (sorry Deb & Dave), so if I’m in another region or country, I prefer to sample the local specialities. The trick is to go where the locals eat.

    I ususally ask a local person, or follow a group of random people to wherever they’re going. Hopefully, they don’t think I’m stalking, but it usually works lol!

    • Rachel Jones July 26, 2016 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Hahah following random people is a great idea ;) love it! I do keep an eye out where people are eating locally and try to copy them!

  9. Julie Cao September 10, 2016 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Thanks Rachel. Never tried arrival routine, but going to do it at my next trip. Having my mind clear and sober always helps to navigate a place and avoid being rip-off. Thanks for the great round-up of the trip tips.

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