Contrary to popular belief, you can ball on a budget while traveling, it’s simply a matter of knowing how. Accommodations, transportation, food, and everything in between adds up quickly. You’ll find that if you start budgeting your bookings even before leaving, you’ll end up with more bang for your buck.
Don’t pay for international phone services
Every cell provider has the option to add on an international plan, but this is 2021, where there’s WiFi on every corner. Planning ahead by downloading specific maps from Google Maps allowing you to use them offline will help, as well. Apps like WiFi Finder can help lead you to a hotspot if you’re having a hard time finding public WiFi and in a bind. Another option if you have an unlocked phone, get a foreign sim card from most airports and convenience stores. Sure, you’ll temporarily have a foreign number but you’ll find this is much cheaper than the cost of rolling with your cellphone provider’s international plans.
Don’t get caught having to pay foreign ATM fees
This adds up fast. If you know you’re heading to Croatia and need Kunas, get plenty from your local bank before you go. You can always return to your bank once you’re home and exchange what you have leftover. Although it’s not advised to carry large amounts of cash, know certain cities are less credit card friendly than others.
Book a private room in a hostel, instead of a private room at a hotel
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in the same room as at least 3 other strangers, most hostels have the option of private rooms. This option is typically cheaper than a hotel, and you’ll still get the social experience of hostel stays while sleeping peacefully in your own room.
Stop checking your luggage
This is where being a minimalist and your Solgaard Carry-on Closet really pay off. Airlines aren’t shy about charging you insane amounts to check your luggage, smaller budget airlines are even more strict on their policies. The Solgaard Carry-on Closet is accepted by all airlines as a carry-on, saving you big bucks in checked bag fees.
Public transportation is your friend
A private shuttle or taxi will rarely be more cost-efficient than public transportation. Get comfortable with buses, metros, and trains. This can also be the case with traveling between countries. It’s tempting to book a quick 30-minute flight, but taking the train or bus could end up saving you more than what you lose in time.
Don’t discredit food trucks and hole-in-the-wall restaurants
Being a tourist means you’re a target for all things overpriced, which includes food. Some of the most incredible local food is within places you’ll walk past because they lack a trendy aesthetic. If you’re really looking to save, get out of the tourist squares and venture (don’t go anywhere you feel unsafe, obviously) into the side streets. For extra savings, keep a reusable water bottle at all times. Unknown to some, even tap water isn’t free at many restaurants.
Keep an eye out for free events and free entry days
If you’re strategic, you can enter museums and join free events quite often. For example, the highly sought after Louvre Museum in Paris is not free to enter, however every first Sunday of the month entry is free. This saves you 17€. Doing a quick google search on places you know you’ll want to see and things you’ll want to do can give you insider knowledge to keep more change in your wallet.
Go to the airport to book your flight with certain budget airlines
A little unknown fact, certain airlines charge you far less in fees if you book at the airport counter. It can be a flight that’s four hours from the time of purchase or four months, it’s always going to be cheaper with these airlines. Included in this hack are Frontier, Spirit, and Allegiant airlines. Always weigh risk and reward with these airlines, as they are budget for a reason.
The bottom line here, cheaper travel is doable for everybody. Do your research before you go, check community groups on Facebook, Instagram pages, or travel chat boards via Reddit and Trip Advisor. It will always pay to be prepared as a budget traveler.