I’ve continued to think about ways that I’ve saved money in the past or heard of others saving money whilst travelling. I personally think that the keys to saving money when travelling are self control and planning in advance. These two major points paired with some of the tips from this article and Part 1 should serve you quite well when you’re pinching pennies overseas.
On many trips, accomodation can end up being the biggest expense of any. Needing somewhere to sleep each night is a necessity and the quality of sleep you’re getting can easily make or break a trip. Hotels have long stood as the premier travel accomodation, but things are beginning to change.
Airbnb! I will go ahead and assume that most of my readers have either heard of or used Airbnb by now. In case any of you haven’t, Airbnb is an innovative platform on which people can offer their homes, rooms, boats or even backyards for people to stay in. Generally Airbnb is cheaper than a hotel, however there are always high-end choices available for those who choose to travel in luxury. The lodging available on Airbnb differs greatly – I have stayed in private rooms, shared rooms and also had entire apartments or houses to myself. One of my favourite parts about Airbnb is that often you can interact with the hosts and learn some great things about their city! This is purely by choice though and you will find that most hosts are fine with leaving you completely alone if that is what you would prefer. If you’re looking for accomodation anywhere in the world, I would say that Airbnb is a great place to start even if it is just to gauge lodging costs in a particular location.
Hostels! Prior to my most recent US trip, I hadn’t actually ever stayed in a hostel. When I took the plunge and flew out to Calgary to try and find a ski hill job I ended up staying at a hostel in Banff. Admittedly, I had friends there and we had a pretty good group going as soon as I arrived, but there were several people there alone who would interact with us in the common areas. The common areas of hostels are not only great for saving money by doing your own cooking and cleaning, they’re also a great place to make friends and meet likeminded people. Chances are, if you meet someone in a hostel they’re going to have some great stories to tell and be on some sort of journey similar to your own. Hostel costs vary by region but they are also generally cheaper than hotels depending on your room choice. It is most common to share a room with 6+ other people; the beds aren’t usually great but you’ll get adequate rest and potentially make some lifelong friends during your stay!
Couchsurfing! Couchsurfing has been around for quite some time, I think most of us have crashed on the couch at a friends place at least once in our lives. Some may not know however that Couchsurfing is something that can be done at strangers places all over the world! Many people would find this daunting, but you can choose to only couch surf with verified users – of course you should still read reviews and take all of the necessary precautions. Hosts do not charge people to couch surf, mostly they just want to learn about you and use your travel stories to fuel their very own adventures. Much like hostels, couch surfing is as much about making friends as it is about having a place to sleep!
Housesitting! Housesitting can be a little tougher to organise than the other accomodations that I’ve suggested, but it is a great way to save or even earn money whilst overseas. There are many websites such as Trusted Housesitters, Mind My House and House Sitter that help to pair you with a house that needs sitting! I have also found success on local Facebook real estate groups for whatever city I’m in. My parents just recently had a lovely couple housesit for them whilst they were overseas and it went really well. Be warned that generally people need housesitting due to pets or other upkeep requirements and that there can be a little bit of “work” involved, hence the reduced or nonexistent cost. Housesitting can be a great way to really feel like you’re living in a foreign city rather than just visiting!
Eating out is basically an essential part of the travel experience. Trying foods that you never even knew existed, finally going to that restaurant you saw online or splashing out on the most expensive meal of your life are all fantastic things to do when you’re abroad. Unfortunately, constantly eating out is very difficult to budget for and can quickly put a pretty big dent in your spending money if you have to try everything you see. There are a few ways to keep a couple of extra dollars in your wallet when you decide to hit the streets for your next meal.
Sharing! If you’re anything like me, you want to try everything on the menu every time you go somewhere. Doing that would obviously be very irresponsible both financially and physically, but by sharing your meals you can try a couple of dishes instead of locking yourself into just one. This is obviously difficult if you’re travelling alone, but there are times when having a few different appetisers will satisfy you just as much as a main meal with added variety and a reduced cost. If you are travelling with a partner or in a group, definitely consider splitting your meals so that you can sample as much as possible without breaking the bank.
Don’t Overindulge! Without even knowing you, I can almost guarantee that you don’t need the large. Even when I’m not travelling, I always find myself ordering way more food than I really need. It is easy to be drawn to the extravagant dishes or the oversized servings but rarely are they your best option financially. Not only does ordering and eating too much food cost you more money, it can also ruin a day of travelling by making you sluggish or even sick for the rest of the day. Always pace yourself when eating on holidays, remember that you can always go back for more or go somewhere else, but they’re not going to give you a refund on food you don’t finish!
No Set Meals! In our day to day lives, it’s quite common to have your 3 daily meals that you eat around roughly the same time each day. When you’re travelling, this definitely isn’t a necessity and breaking this habit can help to save money. Several little snacks throughout the day can definitely get you through without needing a big dinner to finish off. If you are staying at a hotel (don’t) and take advantage of the free breakfast, you may not need a full meal until the afternoon; a night time snack would suffice later on but many people are convinced they need a full dinner. When travelling, you should eat when you’re hungry, not when you think you should!
Alcohol! This is an interesting subject for me to discuss, I really am only able to have a one-sided opinion on this. I don’t drink and this has saved me money almost every weekend since I’ve turned 18 and on countless meal cheques. When travelling, it can of course be very tempting to order a beer, wine or cocktail when you’re eating out – you’re on holidays, why not? Well, you’ll find that alcohol is generally at least double the price of a non-alcoholic beverage. I know that many people will disagree with my views on this subject, but not drinking while you’re on holidays (or ever) will most definitely save you a decent chunk of money. Alternatively, if you do want to drink consider taking some BYO alcohol that you’ve purchased from a liquor store – this will still save you money and you might even have some leftover to take with you!
Hopefully these tips can help you to save a little bit of money on your next trip! The last thing I want to do when I holiday is come back with an empty bank account worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills before going back to work. Holidays shouldn’t end in stress, and they certainly shouldn’t bring about any financial stress while you’re on them!