Money saving and travel probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you’re day dreaming of the beaches in Greece, or wondering how good Pad Thai is in Chiang Mai, Thailand. However, it is possible to save money on your trip by making a few smart choices along the way. Travel doesn’t have to be unaffordable, with some smart budgeting and a few compromises here and there, you can enjoy a surprisingly cheap trip.
1) Try Different Accommodation Styles
Have you heard of Airbnb, Couchsurfing and even hostels? These are cheaper ways to travel, all for different reasons. While you can find houses or apartments in a range of price ranges on Airbnb, for me the main money-saver is that often places have their own laundry (free clothes washing), kitchen (cheap cooked meals) and tend to be in good areas close to supermarkets and local transport. Win, win win. Couchsurfing is sometimes less comfortable, if you wind up actually sleeping on a couch, but the big plus is that it’s FREE – it doesn’t get much cheaper than that. Hostels can also be an affordable option for those of you who are on a strict budget. If you don’t stick to just hotels and shake it up a bit, you can save a LOT of money.
2) Don’t ALWAYS Eat Out
While it’s tempting to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in only the finest restaurants in town, it will burn a giant hole in your wallet. I personally prefer to either have breakfast in my accommodation or skip it all together and just have lunch and dinner. Look on Tripadvisor for some restaurants that are well-rated and mix up the price range. Street food can be a really popular way to dine in certain locations, so don’t shy away from it.
3) Travel Insurance
Once I had to be flown home urgently, the flights were over $4,000. Thankfully I had travel insurance so I didn’t have to spend the last of my savings on getting home. I know of friends who have their laptops, cameras and cellphones stolen while traveling and had insurance come through for them and help cover the costs of replacement. While there’s a cost for travel insurance, outright, if you pay a little extra you can often get a no claims fee, which allows you to use it without second thought. Doctor’s visits or hospital treatments can quickly become unaffordable if you need some serious treatment, so while there’s a cost for travel insurance, in the long run it can really save you cash. Or without it, your short holiday can turn into a financial disaster. Affordable travel insurance cover is offered by many (one example being Cover-More) – you just need to find the right one for you.
4) Look Into City Passes & Discount Sites
Many cities around the world offer city passes which are a great way to see a number of attractions for a reduced price. Consider where you’re going to go and see if there are any passes available to you. You can also check out local “Groupon” style websites to see if you can find coupons for activities, dinners, massages – whatever your heart desires. A little time spent researching can dramatically decrease the cost of your trip and allow you to indulge in things you might otherwise skip over.
These are my favourite money-saving tips. Do you have any suggestions for smart ways to save money when you travel? I’d love to hear them.