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40 Budget Travel Tips Every Wanderlust Should Know

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40 Budget Travel Tips Every Wanderlust Should Know

If you’re missing the road, what better time than now to begin preparations for the next great adventure? But before you get too far into your planning, be sure to check out these great tips and websites to avoid paying too much. These will make saving cash a breeze!

General Budget Travel Advice

1. Stay far away from touristy restaurants and instead go down a few blocks and eat where the locals do.

2. Travel during the low-peak season and avoid traveling during the summer and around holidays.

3. Enjoy a nice picnic instead of eating out. You can experience the local culture’s day-to-day activities, as well, by shopping in their grocery stores.

4. If you’re traveling between countries, try to do as much buying of needed items as possible in the cheaper countries where your dollar can stretch farther, then avoid the souvenirs in the more expensive ones.

5. Understand what your options are for rail passes, especially if you’re in Europe.

6. Buses are the best method of transportation if you’re just trying to get around a city. They are your cheapest option outside of walking.

7. If you do drive though, be careful where you park. If a thief recognizes a tourist’s car they are much more likely to break into it.

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8. Use a wallet-friendly airline. Europe has very competitive airlines and that drives down the price. In many instances you can get a flight to another city for less than the price of a rail pass.

9. Negotiate deals. You can always ask for a cheaper price on the phone with your airline or hotel.

10. Use a museum pass. Many of the passes will pay for themselves and you will be able to keep coming back.

11. Bring a water bottle. Paying for pop and water adds up quickly and that money can get you another night in a hostel every week!

12. If you’re in a hot environment and you have the option, stay at a hostel that only offers cold running water instead of hot and cold. It’s cheaper and you probably won’t be feeling like a hot shower anyway.

13. Hotels generally have a ton of extra toothbrushes, paste, shaving cream, razors, and even phone chargers. Ask if you can have them before you go out and buy them yourself.

14. Go where the dollar is strong. You’ll be able to get a much bigger bang for your buck and be able to extend your trip by weeks or months.

15. Take advantage of complimentary breakfasts to get as much food as possible and save some for snacks later.

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16. Bakeries generally offer half-priced goods at the end of the day to keep things fresh. It’s a great way to get some good food for little outlay.

17. Always look to get free admission to museums and other local activities that may be going on.

18. Don’t go overboard on souvenirs and instead buy something like a postcard or just take your own photos. Plus, the extra weight can add up, as backpackers will know.

19. Do things as a group if possible. Whether that’s carpooling or going on a tour, you can typically get better deals.

20. Don’t take what you don’t need. The extra weight will cost you when you’re boarding the plane and anything you need can be bought cheaply when you arrive.

21. Plan out your day so you know where your money will be going. You don’t have to plan the whole trip, but looking over your day in the morning is a great way to cut costs.

22. Get travel insurance before you leave. While it does cost money, it’s totally worth it if you get injured, and can end up saving you a lot in the long run.

23. If you’re traveling by train, take the night train. It will save on accommodation and once you’re used to it, sleeping won’t be a problem on them.

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24. If you plan on visiting a tourist town, stay next door and take public transit into the town. The prices will be much cheaper in the town over.

Budget Websites

25. Search deals online at JetsetterPriceline, or Hostelworld to pick up some great last-minute deals.

26. Go couchsurfing. You can stay in locals’ homes for free and get a more in-depth experience of their culture.

27. Keep up to date on all things travel miles by following awesome travel bloggers like The Points Guy.

28. Use many different flight search engines, but hands down, Momondo is the best that I have ever seen for scooping up great deals.

29. If you’ve always wanted to travel by sea you can join Crew Seekers and experience what it’s like to be a pirate! Well, kind of.

30. Check out VirtualTourist so you don’t get lost. They crush it in the guide department.

31. There are a lot of great tour companies out there so check out those that are highly rated. I suggest taking a look at G AdventuresIntrepid Travel, and Gate 1 Travel.

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32. Discount cards are a great way to save cash and if you’re a student, STA Travel has one that’s bonkers.

33. Another really cool card for backpackers with fewer restrictions than STA’s card is the VIP Backpackers card.

34. Volunteer on a farm so you can stay for free with WWOOF!

35. Use a travel rewards card while you’re traveling. Every dollar you spend goes right back into your next trip and can earn you a free flight. You can use creditcards.com to compare cards.

36. Check out local programs for possible tax refunds. Thailand has one that will give you 7% back on luxury goods!

37. Get a card with no foreign transaction fees. This will save you a lot of unnecessary costs. You can use creditcards.com again for this.

Apps

38. Check out the Hotel Tonight’s app to get great last minute deals.

39. Use Yelp to find anything and everything in your local area. It’s a great tool to compare nearby businesses.

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40. Plan your vacation with Trip Saver by Nomadic Matt to keep track of your budget. You can set daily spending limits too!

Featured photo credit: Siim Teller via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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