There is so much information online about how to travel cheaper and better. I am stunned that some of the more common misconceptions about travel still exist. Mistaken beliefs like all amazing travel experiences are expensive, and cheap travel means huge inconvenience. What if I told you, saving money on travel is easy? You can spend as little as $25 a day traveling without sacrificing quality on anything. I’ve made a lifestyle out of traveling full-time cheap, so I know you can enjoy an unforgettable trip without spending much.
Here are 10 ways to save tons of cash while you’re traveling without forgoing comfort or quality on anything.
1. Fly with Budget Airlines
Flight costs can be the most expensive part of travel, but choosing a budget airline over a full-service carrier can make an incredible difference to your travel budget. Fuel prices continue to tank, but full-service carriers aren’t passing that saving onto consumers. Luckily, many low-cost budget airlines like WOW Air, Air Asia, and Norwegian Air fly from the U.S. to Europe and Asia.
Some people think you have to sacrifice comfort and convenience when you fly budget airlines or that the ticket price is cheap, but the fees for baggage, reserved seating, and in-flight meals increase the price considerably. Both points are untrue in my experience. My family (all 3 of us) flew from Fort Lauderdale, U.S.A. to London for $718.46 with Norwegian. That price included all taxes, baggage, seat assignment, 2 meals each, and it was the most comfortable fight we’ve ever taken! Norwegian flies from both coasts in the U.S. to Europe for as little as $159 one-way, and from Europe to Asia for as low as $200 one-way. In Asia, Air Asia offers $20 one-way fares throughout the region.
2. Stay in Amazing Accommodations for Free
Various hospitality networks connect travelers with local hosts that will let them stay for free. The benefits to using these networks are not only related to price, but also unforgettable travel experiences. Meeting local people, seeing what life is really like in different parts of the world enriches travel in ways you just don’t get staying in a hotel. Networks like Couchsurfing and BeWelcome include locals happy to host families, couples, and solo travelers too.
Would you like to stay in a beautiful home in the mountains in Panama, or a stunning villa on the coast in Spain for FREE? I actually did — house sitting! Actually, house sitting is a terrific way to stay in a lovely accommodation and save tons of money too. Taking care of people’s homes and pets while they vacation makes expensive destinations like London or Paris affordable. It also delivers a more authentic feel, staying in a local neighborhood, as opposed to more expensive tourist areas. House sitting platforms I use and love are HouseSit Match, Trusted Housesitters, and HouseCarers.
3. Learn Travel Hacks to Make Travel Easier and Cheaper
Getting to your destination is part of your travel experience as well. Why not make the journey as painless as possible and save a bunch of money too! There are thousands of trip planning sites and travel apps that claim to make travel planning easier, cheaper, and better. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which will work best to save you time and money. I read 2 great articles that included some really helpful booking sites and travel apps that were new to me, “29 travel hacks that even frequent fliers don’t know” and “These 7 unknown websites can save you hundreds on travel”. See which travel hacks could save you the most on your next trip.
4. Benefit From the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has permeated every sector of the travel industry. It gives travelers many options and lots of competition, leading to serious savings. Sharing pioneers like Airbnb and Lyft have been around for years. They continue to grow, improve, and gain more consumer confidence every year. You can use the sharing economy for everything when you travel: transportation, guided tours, meals, and accommodation. Some that have benefited from my pocketbook and my travel experiences are Airbnb, EatWith, LikeaLocal, Spotted by Locals, and Vayable.
5. Adventure Travel Can be Really Affordable
Would you like to have an adventure travel experience? Your adventure could be a lot closer to home than you think! A microadventure is an outdoor adventure close to home. You don’t need to fly to the other side of the world to find exciting outdoor pursuits. Adventure means challenging yourself physically, mentally, or even culturally. I bet there are hundreds of ways to challenge yourself in your local area! Alistair Humphreys is an authority on the subject and he says microadventuring is cheap, simple, and short. It is a very effective way to experience outdoor adventure because doing so captures the essence of big adventures. If you need some inspiration, he has tons of great ideas for microadventures on his blog.
6. A Little Research Can Pay Off Big Time
I like doing cost of living research on destinations I consider visiting. Doing so has helped me decide on places where my tourist dollars go further. Sites I find helpful are Numbeo and Price of Travel, both offer average costs for restaurants, accommodations, and other things that impact my travel budget. There are amazing places in the world that have very cheap living costs. There are also a lot more destinations to choose from other than southeast Asia and central America. The cheapest place I’ve visited is actually Spain. My family and I stayed in a lovely villa on the southern coast. We enjoyed eating out, drinking Spanish wine, shopping, and local culture for less than $25 USD a day! If you’re having a hard time deciding where to spend your travel dollars, doing a bit of research could help you choose a place where your money will go a lot further.
7. Buy Tourist Cards and See More for Less
City tourist cards give you access to various attractions for one discounted price. They help you see all the sights you want to see and save money in the process! The cost of a card will equal entry to a few attractions, but it gets you access to dozens more. Conveniently, you can find cards at any tourist office and they even include free public transportation! Buying a tourist card will save you a bundle while visiting cities like London, Paris or New York where there is so much to see and do. Seeing all of the attractions you’ve dreamed of makes a trip unforgettable. Getting access to them at a discount will make you feel pretty incredible too.
8. Find a Cheap Cruise or Group Tour
Booking cruises and group tours last minute can save you up to 50%! Tour operators and cruise companies scramble to fill empty spots at the last minute. This means huge savings for travelers who can handle booking on short notice. I’ve always seen the value in booking cruises and group tours. Meals are included on cruises, plus you have the run of a floating city and deluxe transportation to different destinations. Group tours usually include some meals, tours of the sights, and most transportation. Both become incredible travel deals when discounted because so much is included in the price. Don’t book through a travel agent. The savings are always better when you book on your own. Check out Cruise Sheet or Vacation to Go for discounted cruises. For tours, look at last minute specials on your favorite tour operators site (mine is Friendly Planet).