The internet is full of articles and blogs about how to travel cheaply. If you’re frugal, you can live on bread and noodles, stay sober, avoid major cities, and sit out the exciting, adrenaline-pumping activities. Backpackers stay at hostels, hitchhike, buy a junker car, and cook cheap food from the discount supermarket. There are also tips and tricks on how to get free upgrades, how to score a free night at a hotel, and how to use airline miles to fly business class around the world. So, how do you travel cheaply without sacrificing the comfort or the lifestyle you are used to? Here are my tips for travelling cheaply.
Mix and match your flights
If you are flexible, mixing and matching your flights can sometimes be a few hundred dollars difference in fares. Taking an early morning flight, having a long layover, and then an evening flight can save a great deal of money. An app like Skyscanner can find a mixture of flights. If you’re even more flexible, you can type “everywhere” into the Destination box for the cheapest flights from your current location (or wherever you want to fly from).
If you’re young enough, there are Working Holiday Visas available to a myriad of countries. It depends on your country of residence, of course. That determines the factors that then allow you to apply (for example, if you are from the USA, you cannot apply for the New Zealand WHV after you turn 31, however Canadians and Brits have until they are 35). But if you can get the visa for New Zealand, Australia, the UK, or another country that offers it, then working abroad might just be the ticket to travelling cheaply. Some jobs, especially in Australia, will offer accommodation as part of the job offer, meaning any money you do make can be saved.
Get a rewards credit card
There are a lot of credit cards out there that offer cash rewards, but just a few that offer cash rewards for travel-related purchases only. One such card is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card. This card is perfect for an overseas traveller as it has no foreign transaction fee AND no annual fee. It pays less reward than its cousin, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card – only 1.25 miles per dollar spent – but the difference is that the reward money must be used on a travel purchase. Of course, to get any credit card at all you must have a good credit score, so be sure to check your credit score before applying. Quickly get your credit score from Credit Sesame in three steps. Travel hacking is definitely one of the easiest ways to travel cheap!
Stay with locals for free
Stay with locals for free in order to travel cheaply. Sites like Couchsurfing are popular because they are free and because they connect travellers with locals. There’s even a book about a guy who travelled around the world couchsurfing. He met some really interesting and genuine people in some of the weirdest places, some of whom even went to visit him later. You might get a nice big bed, or you might get a couch, but you’ll get it for free. There may even be other couchsurfers there at the same time, so you might get a new group of friends out of this too. Of course, listen to your gut instinct and if something seems wrong it probably is, but staying with locals can be one of the best ways to travel cheaply. Alternatively, you can find a room or whole apartment on Airbnb click here for an Airbnb Coupon Code.
Take a free walking tour
A free walking tour is the best way to see a new city! Typically they are hosted by young locals who have intimate knowledge of the city. They’re engaging and fun, and usually treat their tour like a big group of friends. You’ll get an in depth tour of the city’s history, culture, and bar scene before the tour ends. Sizes vary from place to place and tour to tour, and tours typically last about two to three hours. They are free, but the guide usually asks for a small donation at the end – whatever you felt it was worth.
Cook your own food
Eating out is one of the biggest drains on a budget, so to save maximum dollars cook your own food. If you’re renting an Airbnb with your family or friends, you’ve got a kitchen. Staying in a hostel also usually allows you to have a kitchen to cook in. Hit the grocery store or farmers market and pick up a batch of veggies, then cook up a big pot of stew or pasta. A big batch lasts a few meals and you won’t feel too guilty if you sneak out for a meal at a local joint later in your trip.
There are plenty of other ways to travel cheaply, like hitchhiking, sleeping in hostels (even a private room at a hostel is cheaper than a hotel and you get the added bonus of a kitchen), or house-sitting. If you’re on a Working Holiday Visa, consider buying a cheap car rather than buying a bus ticket or renting a car every time you want to go somewhere else.