40 WAYS and ideas about hot to travel cheap

TRAVEL CHEAP | 40 ways and ideas about how to travel cheap

Katja TIPS 2 Comments

True, travelling can be expensive. For some trips many have to save up months in advance and give up many other things along the way. But it´s also true that with a little ingenuity it is also very much possible to travel cheap. Read more about how to have the best experience for less money in this new post – everything from organising trips, to sleeping, transport, food, sightseeing and other.

ORGANIZING YOUR TRIP| how to organize cheap travels

In order to organize a cheap trip it is usually essential to take enough time for planning and finding the best (cheapest) options and deals. Do your research properly and don´t forget about some of the things mentioned below.

ročna prtljaga za 3-tedensko potovanje po seveu brazilije

hand luggage for 3 weeks travelling in Brazil

  • 1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT DESTINATION If you wish to see and experience a lot for less money make sure the first thing you do is choose the right destination. I always say you can make almost any trip cheap, but there are some where this is just not possible. Choose places like SE Asia, India, Morocco, Turkey, Baltic countries, the Balkans, Romania, Ukraine and others.

  • 2. TRAVEL OFF SEASON cheaper prices for accommodation & transport and less people, that´s often the case when travelling outside peak seasons. The weather might not be all that good, but it´s not a rule. Also, do not go during your country´s school holidays – the plane tickets are more expensive then.

  • 3. BE FLEXIBLE WITH THE DATES continuing with the last thought from above, if you are overall flexible with dates this is a big advantage. If you don´t have kids and can take time off at work anytime, maybe you are still a student – this is great for finding the cheapest plane tickets, which btw are usually the biggest cost of your trip. Do your research and check out different departure and arrival dates. I´ve paid so much for plane tickets the last 7 years because I had no other choice but to fly during school holidays or over the weekend. Do try to avoid this if you can.

  • 4. NEWSLETTERS –airlines often offer discounts or have some kind of sales. Many social media pages often share these too, so make sure you follow the right pages and groups on let´s say Facebook and Instagram. Also, apply for newsletters and don´t miss out on following the so-called error fare deals.

  • 5. COLLECT MILES AND POINTS – in the last years I´ve mastered the art of collecting miles, but this is easy to do here in Germany as I mostly fly with Lufthansa. I have a credit card which brings me miles with every purchase, another card which collects point at gas stations, groceries etc and they are also turned into miles. Besides, I fly with Star Alliance most of the time anyway. We are also able to pool our miles together within our family so in the end there´s quite a lot of them. We can use them either for upgrades to business class or get free flights, order something from their shop and I also have access to their airport lounges. Overall I think it´s great for everyone who flies a lot.

  • 6. BOOK IN ADVANCE parking airport garages can be so expensive – if you are arriving with your car make sure you book a spot in advance. Same goes for any car ferry rides and actually also for plane tickets. They are usually never very cheap the last moment. Accommodation on the other hand can be much cheaper if you book it the same day.

  • 7. PACK SMART if you are flying more times during your trip I strongly suggest you pack light and take only hang luggage. By doing this you not only avoid your luggage getting lost, but it also saves you some costs. Many airlines charge extra for bigger bags and this can save you a lot. Just make sure to check the exact size and weight restrictions for hand luggage – this is different from airline to airline.

GETTING READY FOR DEPARTURE | what not to forget about before you leave

It is good to think about a couple of other things before departure, even if the last days and especially hours can often be very hectic and you´re doing everything the last minute. Make sure you think about the following things, see below.

praznovanje odhoda na londonskem letališču

Not exactly the cheapest celebration of starting a holiday in London airport

  • 8. AT THE AIRPORTmake yourselves a favour and never arrive hungry at the airport. Just before departure we are often in time stress and forget to eat – coming to an airport often results in ordering a beer for 10€ and a slice of pizza for 8€, doesn´t it? Better to take it slow at home and have a bite to eat or bring something with you. Also bring a water bottle to fill it up after the security check ups.

  • 9. BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION FOR THE FIRST NIGHT even if you don´t like to plan out the whole holiday, it makes sense to book accommodation for the first night at least. This way you can also research how to get from the airport to the place and you don´t need to think too much when you land jet-lagged in an unknown place.

  • 10. MONEY EXCHANGE – look into what is best, either exchange money at the airport after landing, plan to pay with your credit card or get the right currency already at your local bank back home.

  • 11. LOCAL MONEY remember the exchange even before you land – this way it will be harder to fool you with the first taxi ride. Also check online forehand how much certain things should cost, from taxi rides to meals in restaurants etc. You can also ask at your accommodation.

  • 12. OTHER THINGS also think about all the other little things that you do not want to buy again for the xy time. Here I´m thinking about things like the electrical adaptors for example. How many do you have at home? I have many to sell haha.

ACCOMMODATION | how to find free and cheap accommodation

Besides plane tickets, accommodation is often the biggest cost on your trip. So, you can really make a big difference by sleeping in cheaper places or even staying somewhere for free. Here are some ideas.

večerni obred pred nočitvijo pri družinah v Laosu

an obligatory ceremony before dinner time with our hosts in Laos

  • 13. FREE ACCOMMODATION POSSIBILITIESif you join Couchsurfing (sleeping at locals), different „House sitting“ programmes, „Home exchange“ (for a short-term exchange of homes and apartments) or WWOOF (staying for free at eco organic farms in return for working on the farm) and similar pages, you can spend a part of your holiday basically free of charge.

  • 14. MONASTERIES AND MISSIONARIES – even though this really might not be for everybody, but you might want to try and contact a monastery or a missionary from your home country living at the destination you are visiting. In exchange for a free stay you might want to bring them some goodies from homeland and just chat with them in your mother tongue. It´s worth a try.

  • 15. SLEEPING AT LOCALSyears ago my friend and I often stayed at random local families we´ve met on the way during our longer backpacking trip in SE Asia. Yeah we might have been lucky to have met such nice people and maybe a bit of carefulness is needed at such adventures but we have very positive experiences. Usually we brought lots of food like fresh fish, vegetables, some tobacco and bier from the market for the family we were staying at – in the evenings we would often end up having a party with the whole village and it was really just a great experience every time.

  • 16. WILD CAMPING another option of free accommodation is sleeping / camping out in the wilderness. Have in mind this is not always allowed, so make sure you check the rules at your destination. Somewhere it is tolerated, but somewhere it is highly illegal and can be punished with high fines. In Europe we recommend Scandinavia, especially because ethe prices for food & accommodation are amongst the highest in Europe and this is a great way to avoid this cost.

  • 17. CAMPINGeven if you camp in the official camp sites it will still be cheaper than staying in hotel rooms, especially if you are travelling as a family. Sure, you will need to buy some equipment for camping but if you do it regularly this also pays off at the end. If travelling in the high season don´t forget to make a reservation just to be sure you will get a place.

  • 18. HOSTELSif you are young or young at heart you can stay at hostels and share a room with other like-minded young people. You will laos be sharing a bathroom, but it will be significantly cheaper than a hotel room.

  • 19. NIGHT BUS, TRAIN OR FLIGHT by taking a night bus, train or and overnight flight you will avoid paying accommodation and use the daylight for sightseeing. It´s often a great deal and I´ve used lots of overnight buses in Vietnam and Laos, overnight train in India and Finland (great experience on the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi), also overnight ferries between Finland and Sweden long ago.

  • 20. SLEEPING AT THE AIRPORTif there is not other chance of cheap accommodation you can also sleep at the airport. Think it will probably be cold so bring a pullover and a shawl and find comfortable seats. Lu and me slept at the airport quite often in Auckland while waiting for further connections to the other South Pacific islands.

  • 21. LAYOVER BETWEEN FLIGHTS if you are travelling far away and you will need two flights anyway, you can book them on purpose so that you have a longer layover and two flights during night time. This gives you the opportunity to see a city without having to sleep in a hotel. Base on our experiences layover stops are a great thing to do in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doga, Istanbul, Auckland and elsewhere.

TRANSPORT |cheapest ways to get from A to B

Odločitev kakšen prevoz uporabljati na potovanjih je ponavadi pogojena ne samo z vašimi osebnimi preferencami temveč tudi z destinacijo. Ponekod javnega prevoza praktično ni, spet drugje je nesmiselno najeti avto, nekam se je najlažje odpeljati kar s svojim. Tukaj predstavlajm nekaj možnosti cenejših opcij prevozev na potovanjih.

Auto rikša na otoku Siquijor, Filipini

Lu in an auto rickshaw on Siquijor island, the Philippines

  • 22. HITCHHIKINGthis is definitely not for everyone but if you are feeling safe doing it, why not? It is free and you get to meet new people. Just make sure it is allowed in the country you are visiting, as this is not always the case.

  • 23. TRAVELLING WITH YOUR CARif you have your own vehicle anyway (car, camper van, motor home) in which you can sleep as well, this might be your best choice. No matter where you live, I´m sure you can find awesome road trip possibilities. You will not have to pay for a plane ticket, you don´t need to rent a vehicle and you can bring your own food. You can also do wild camping if it´s allowed. This is an overall great option for travelling cheap.

  • 24. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION if you are travelling solo or in 2, travelling on public transport might be cheaper than renting a car or driving in your own ones. I´ve experienced the cheapest public transport in India (trains), Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos (long distance buses) and on the Philippines (ferries between islands).

  • 25. RENT-A-CAR if you are travelling in a group of 2-4 pax or as a family with kids you might want to consider renting a car. This will also give you more flexibility in terms of when and where you want to travel. With a car you can usually reach many more cool places than with just the public transport, plus the public transport in some countries simply almost doesn´t exist. We´ve done a ton of trips with rented cars and love this way of travelling.

  • 26. BUYING A CAR if you are on the road for many months you might want to look into buying a car / camper van. This is especially popular in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South America. At the end of your long term trip you can simply sell the car and return home.

  • 27. RENT BICYCLES AND MOTOR BIKES for exploring bigger cities we often rent bicycles. Many times your accommodation will have them too. The last time we´ve cycled around in cities was in Copenhagen and in Amsterdam which are the top 2 European ciites to do just this. But we´ve also rented bicycles on the Seychelles and many different places in SE Asia. In Asia especially motorbikes and scooter are great to rent too. We´ve had experiences in Thailand, Bali, the Philippines and elsewhere.

  • 28. WALKI really love to walk! In larger cosmopolitan cities there is always so much to see and do and I just feel like missing out on discovering great neighbourhoods while taking the underground so I prefer to walk. Even if this means I´m dead tire at the end of the day, but often I come across really great places this way. And it´s totally free of course.

  • 29. LOW COST FLIGHTSeven if you are only visiting one country at the time, you might want to use domestic flights. They might be cheaper and surely quicker than a bus or a train, so make sure you check into this option while planing your trip.

HAGGLING | the art of lowering prices by negotiating

I love haggling and I take it as a unique experience. For it you usually need to take your time, sometimes you even have to sit down and drink a cup of tea, so even if you end up not buying nothing at all you might get out richer for a great conversation with the locals. It helps if you know a few words of the local language too.

tržnica v Dahabu, Sinajski polotok, Egipt

Dahabu market, Sinai peninsula, Egypt

  • 30. LOWER THE PRICE WHEN YOU CANHaggling and lowering prices is almost mandatory in some countries but totally disrespectful in others. Based on our experiences the best places to do so are of course in northern African and Middle Eastern region and in Asia as well. Especially at buying various things on the markets and shops, at transport (always set a price before you take a tuk-tuk, taxi with no meter, rickshaw and similar). The end result will depend on your skills, but it´s worth a try. Just keep a smile and don´t be disrespectful – all the sellers have their borders and it´s best not to cross them or even worse, insult them or be rude, this might make them angry. Just be polite and see where it gets you.

FOOD | where and how to eat cheap while travelling

What and where to eat on travels certainly depends on one´s personal preferences. Some love to experiment with new flavours, tasting new dishes and it´s a big part of their overall travelling experience, while other stick to what they know and are a bit more picky about trying something new. Anyhow, the cheapest way will probably be if you cook on your own if you can, or to eat street food in simple road side restaurants and stands. We usually head to places that have lots of local guests – they usually know what is good, sometimes we also choose more expensive restaurants but always in combination with cheap eats on the street, so we keep a good balance. Also when camping and cooking on our own we do a couple of restaurants visits here and there and try something local. Here´s a few ideas on how to eat cheap.

poceni ulični prigrizki, Mekong delta, Vietnam

cheap yummy street snacks, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

  • 31. COOK ON YOUR OWNif ou are travelling with your own vehicle, you are camping or staying in an apartment / house which has a kitchen, the cheapest way would be to just cook on your own. You can either bring the ingredients from home or buy them at local markets and shops, depending on the destination. The bad thing about this is simply the fact that you often miss out on eating something local.

  • 32. STREET FOOD if you don´t have the chance to cook on your own, the next cheapest option is street food. This is sold either on food stalls on the markets or on busy streets or in smaller road side restaurants, especially anywhere in Asia. It´s the perfect way to get a cheap, warm, tasty bite of local delicacies.

  • 33. HAPPY HOUR AND EARLY BIRD also don´t forget about happy hour (usually between lunch and dinner, you can get cheaper drinks and snacks at most hotels and touristy spots) and the so-called Early bird dinners (usually around 5 and 6pm it is possible to get a much cheaper dinner meal than after 8pm). The last time we´ve enjoyed some really great food at the Early bird time was this January in Dublin.

SIGHTSEEING | tricks and tips to see the most for free & cheap

Besides transport, accommodation and food, you will probably spending some of your money on sightseeing. Surely you will come across some museums, galleries, viewing towers, castles, churches, temples, national parks and other attractions which require an admission fee. It will probably not possible to see and do everything anyway (either due to lack of time or money, or both actually), so you will need to set some priorities here and decide what you really want to see. But also at sightseeing you can save a little bit if you plan ahead. Read below how you can do that.

Guggenheim muzej v NYC - ogromno muzejev ima ob določenih dnevih in urah prost vstop

Guggenheim museum in NYC – many museums and galleries have free admissions on certain days

  • 34. FREE MUSEUM DAYSmost of the museums and galleries have admission free days or hours – make a list of the ones you would like to visit and check online when those days are coming up. We´ve visited quite some museum in NYC and could get in to many for free.

  • 35. „FREE WALKING TOUR“why not take a free guided walking tour around the city you are visiting? This is usually a great way to find out some interesting facts and it is totally free.

  • 36. DISCOUNTSIf you are still a student, or maybe already a senior, don´t forget to bring cards to prove your status. They will get you discounts in many places. Families with smaller kids will also get discounts many times, if you are travelling with friends you can try and get a group discount.

OTHER OPTIONS | different ways to see the world

Sometimes it can happen that you get a special chance to join your love for travelling with something useful like a new business opportunity for example. Below are some ideas of what you can look into.

prazna šolska učilnica, Gulu, Uganda

empty classroom, Gulu, Uganda

  • 37. VOLUNTEERINGa different way of travelling and getting to know different cultures & places AND doing something good for the local communities without spending too much money for it. I´ve been a part of an architecture project in the north of Uganda a couple of years ago and it was a great experience, especially because we were constantly integrated into local life and surrounded by local people. This is something you rarely experience on short-term travels. There are a ton of programmes you can join, depending on your profession and skills. If you are a doctor or an architect, Africa is always an option, otherwise you can try and teach English and similar pretty much anywhere in the world. You can always prolong your stay and ravel after your programme finishes.

  • 38. AU PAIRthis is attractive especially for girls who speak foreign languages and are good with children. There are tons of families looking for someone to take care of their kids, especially if they are expats too, they might want their kids to reconnect with their mother tongue.

  • 39. STUEDNT EXCHANGEif you are still a student, this is your chance to see the world. Doing a student exchange is great because the University usually takes care of organizing most of the things, from accommodation to flights. You will meet so many new people from all over the world, possibly learn a new language and suck in a complete new culture. At the end you can stay a bit longer and explore your host country.

  • 40. WORKING ABROADmaybe you are working for a bigger international company which has offices worldwide? Why not take a chance and apply for a job elsewhere? It can of course also be just for a couple of years. This will give you the chance to really get to know a new culture and explore a totally new part of the world. If I had the chance I would definitely pick Singapore.

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