Raise your hand if you are one of those people who have made a New Year’s resolution to be more spontaneous and travel more.
After all, traveling the world is like living life in fast-forward, the number of people you meet, the things you do, the stuff you learn, it’s all about 50 times more than in “real” life. Isn’t it?
But, what to do if you are just a regular, hard-working person who happens to be living on the minimum wage?
Should you ignore your travel dreams? The answer is no! You only have to learn a few simple tactics to feel financially secure when traveling.
Here are my 10+ personally tested ideas on how to save money when traveling the world. I know that to some of you, these tips and advice will probably be obvious and well-known, however, if you are new to travel I’m confident enough that you will appreciate them.
How to Save Money When Traveling the World
1. When Purchasing Flight Tickets, Use an Incognito Browser
Last year, when I was looking for a cheap flight from Manchester to Beijing, I noticed something very shocking. I experienced what I now call the “rising price effect.” Long story short: major airlines of the world use your cookies (small data files stored on your browser that are used for tracking your activity on a particular website) against you. Yes, your search history for flight tickets is being monitored by airlines and, the more you search for the same ticket over and over again, the bigger price they offer to you. So, if you want to avoid price hikes when purchasing flight tickets, always use an incognito browser mode. (Also, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days to fly!)
Another tip for saving money on flights is to fly indirect and make multiple stopovers along the way. Many airlines offer stopover opportunities these days which is a great (and cheap) opportunity to add a new stamp in your passport and explore a new country or a new city for no additional cost. Personally, I’ve used the “stopover” opportunity many times in the past. For example, when traveling to Beijing, China once I had a 12-hour long stopover in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and it was a great (but way too short) opportunity for me to get a glimpse of a new city! However, don’t forget that sometimes stopovers can be very tiring, especially if you are traveling for more than 26 hours!
Let’s face it, airport food and drinks are expensive! And the food you buy is not very healthy either. If you are interested in knowing why you should avoid airport food (at all costs) and bring your own instead, have a read over Julie Wilcox’s article here. She is very good at explaining the bad secrets behind airport food! That being said, when I travel I like to take a few homemade snacks with me. Dried fruit, homemade granola bars, nuts, fruits are all good!
4. Travel like a Minimalist
Don’t overpack! I’m really serious about this! The more suitcases you have, the more you have to pay and lose! You don’t need to bring that full gym kit, five pairs of high-heels and that mega-sized shampoo!
5. Always Go for Local Food
I always prefer to eat the local food when traveling because it’s almost always cheaper and it can be a very great way to try new things you might not otherwise be exposed to! The most interesting, or unusual food I’ve tried? Well, once I ate a scorpion in China! Would you be interested in hearing this crazy story?
6. Do Your Own Research About the Place You are Going to
That’s right! Avoid hiring a tour guide and instead, do your own research about the place you are going to. Believe me; self-education will save you lot’s of money, and you will learn and know about the place in much more detail! Lonely Planet’s website is a good place to start!
When you are shopping abroad, in particular with a credit card you, chances are, will frequently be asked whether you want to pay in your currency (let’s say Euros in my case) or in the local currency. Always choose the local currency. Why? Because no currency conversions mean no additional costs!
Additionally, I also recommend you downloading currency conversion app and use it! My story: when in Turkey my boyfriend and I were scammed and ripped off at the local “Turkish Bath” place.
For those of you who haven’t traveled to Turkey, it has three different currencies: Turkish Lira, US Dollars, and Euros. Yes, you can shop and pay in these three currencies. But! You can also get easily scammed! Back to my story, when in Turkey my boyfriend and I went to explore the “Turkish Bath” also known as “Hammam” and the person at the reception asked us in what currency we would like to pay. As my boyfriend had Euros in his pocket (and the guy at the reception kindly suggested us to pay in Euros as he is happy to do a quick conversion which would be much faster and easier than going to the bank and exchanging money) we paid in Euros. And guess what? The guy at the reception used an incredibly impressive conversion rate and we paid the triple price. We only found out about it when we got back to our accommodation and started counting where a huge chunk of money had disappeared. So, always pay in the local currency!
8. Research Museum Pricing Policies
I don’t know if you knew this already, but many museums around the world, especially in Europe offer free or discounted (usually for students) pricing. For example, when my boyfriend and I traveled to Paris, France we didn’t pay for ANY of the museums. In Paris, famous museums like the Louvre are FREE all year round for people under 26! So, when traveling always do your research about the place you are going to! Chances are it has lots of free activities to offer!
9. Use Airbnb
Airbnb is a website that lets anybody to put their spare room up for rent. For hosts, it’s an excellent opportunity to earn extra cash while for travelers to stay at cool and cheap places while in a foreign country. I recommend using Airbnb if you want to save money on accommodation and meet new people! However, before booking your room always read reviews about the hosts!
My story: last summer my boyfriend and I wanted to explore Geneva, Switzerland but, as you guys probably know, Switzerland is a very expensive country. That being said, instead of paying tons of money for a hotel room in Geneva, we both decided to use Airbnb and look for a cheaper accommodation option. And we found it! A lovely French woman accepted our request, and we both stayed at her house in a small French town near Swiss border. We paid 40 pounds for two nights at her house instead of 100 pounds for a night in a hotel! Success!
10. Use Apps to Call and Text Back Home
Don’t make international calls from your mobile phone! Just go to local coffee shop such as Starbucks, connect your phone to a free wifi and interact with your family through Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Viber, etc. You will save tons of money!
11. Use Social Media to Hunt Travel Deals
Just go “follow” and “like” your favorite travel sites, agencies, airlines on social media for getting the best (and the cheapest) last minute deals!
12. When Booking an All-Inclusive Vacation Packages Pretend that You are Married
Ok, I know that this might sound a little bit odd, but trust me it works! When booking an all-inclusive holiday deal, let’s say in Egypt or Turkey, you can write a short message to the hotel and say that you and your boyfriend (if you are traveling with your boyfriend, of course) just got married. The hotel, chances are, will offer you a free meal, a free massage or something like this. Personally, I haven’t tried this trick yet, but many close friends of mine have and 90% out of 100% they received some good treatments! So, I guess, it’s worth giving a try!
If you have some additional tips on how to travel on a budget, please share them below! I might use them as I’m heading to London next week!