21 Travel Hacks For Budget Travelers
Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about adventure in lands far from where you are? You probably stalk travel Pintrest boards and wanderlust Instagram accounts. Then you start to think about the money that you wish you had to travel. Don't be a wisher. Be a doer.
I’ve always traveled on a budget because I am still young, have been a student and have a lot of student loans debt. Even while working full-time, I still had to be a budget travelers because of my monthly bills. So if you’re someone who wants to travel but doesn’t have the coin to be a luxury travelers than these budget travel hacks are for you.
You CAN travel on a budget and here's how:
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1. Book flights using a private browser
Clear your browser cookies, history and use an incognito (private) window to search for flights. I didn't believe this until I actually tried it, but airline companies can see when you've been watching flights and will spike up the price. To get the cheapest flights, go incognito!
2. Score Flight Deals
3. Stay in Hostels
Sure, staying in a five star hotel or the best Airbnb would be nice, but when you're on a budget. Hostels are the cheapest way to see the world at a low cost. I've stayed in hostels for $10 USD per night.
4. Eat for FREE at your Hostel
Hostels often offer free food as apart of your stay. When I stayed at Yes Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal breakfast was free every day. It consisted of toast, eggs, cereal, bagels, fruit and other quick foods. They also served a three course, authentic Portuguese dinner (with unlimited wine) for only 10 Euro.
5. Visa Costs
Do your research ahead of time. Some countries don't require visas at all and others are expensive just to step foot in the country. Plan around this by visiting places with the cheapest visa fees.
6. Travel during Off Peak Times (Shoulder Season)
Sure, it might be more ideal to backpack Europe in July, but that's when everyone else is traveling there too. Try booking trips during the low-season for cheaper rates and flights.
7. Pack Light
Avoid checked luggage fees by flying with just a carry-on. It really adds up when you have to check a bag for each destination that you travel too, especially on trips with multiple flights.
8. Book from different airports
If you book a trip from Baltimore (BWI) to London (LHR) you could be looking a pretty expensive round-trip ticket. The budget way is to book a flight from one destination with a stopover in a nearby city and then a cheap one way to your final destination. You can save a bunch of $$$.
9. Turn on travel notifications
Travel Apps and search engines like Skyscanner allows you to set up notifications and you'll be the first to know when a flight you've been watching changes.
10. Be Flexible
You have to be willing to fly out on a random Tuesday red-eye or having a 10 hour layover in another destination (aka a free mini trip within your actual trip). Being flexible with your dates, flights and everything in between is essential.
11. Cook Your Own Food
I can't stress this enough, cook your own meals. Whenever I'm in one destination for a few days and have access to a stove, I cook a few meals per day. This will save you so much cash, that you can use towards experiences instead.
12. Join a walking tour
Not only are walking tours typically free, but they're usually led by a local. This is your time to ask question about the destination, try new things and immerse yourself in the local culture. Travel deep.
13. Eat out for Lunch
In most countries, dinner is expensive. Maybe it's the fancy expectations that come with dinner, but dining out at lunch time instead is usually a cheaper option.
14. Walk (or bike) everywhere
Traveling = walking. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you'll always get there cheaper and cooler if you walk. You will discover hidden alleyways, amazing street art and you might even encounter some locals while walking to your next location. Plus who doesn't love free exercise?
15. Learn the language
Sometimes while traveling, local shops will have tourist-only prices. They'll charge you way more money for an item than they would a local. If you know the basics of the language you can possibly grab a bargain. Not to mention, locals love it when you are showing that you care about their country by learning to speak their language.
My favorite language learning app is Duolingo. It’s easy to use and fun! Additionally, please download the Google Translate App - it’s a game changer. There’s a voice-to-voice and camera feature which can translate languages in real time. My friend and I were in Berlin and we used the camera feature to read street signs and museum displays written in German.
16. Soak up all the free WIFI
Chances are your phone company back home will charge you a huge amount of international data fees. Avoid that by popping into coffee shops, malls and transportation hubs for all the free WIFI you need. Always check if there's WIFI nearby before making a call.
YML & T Tip: McDonald's always has free WIFI and is in a lot countries around the world.
17. Eat Street food = Eat cheap food
While traveling, always choose street food from vendors before eating at a restaurant. Research local food halls/markets in your destination city before you go. Chances are they have a lot of street food options and you'll get to try the local cuisine for CHEAP.
18. Work While Traveling
Some hostels will allow you to work as a cleaner or receptionist in exchange for free room and board. This is an amazing way to live like a local and experience a city in a totally different way. Plus free accommodations!
19. Don't Take Taxis
Taxis are uncapped and crazy expensive, so avoid them at all costs. Using public transportation is often the cheapest option while traveling. Get a travel card and save money by riding the bus, subway or railcar.
20. Make Friends With Other Travelers
Whether they're your internet friends or someone you met at a hostel, making travel buddies before and during you trip is super helpful. You can swap tips and tricks with one another as well as sharing small things like the cost of lunch or toiletries. The lesson here is that we all need someone to lean on, so make some new friends around the world.
21. Instagram Stalk Travel Accounts
Follow hashtags like #budgettravel or #travel tips and even your favorite travel bloggers for insider tips on locations around the world. You can follow my IG here - I post travel and lifestyle content. Also, lot of food - because food is life.
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How do you travel cheaply?
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