Note From Michael: Alyssa Johnson has some creative and applicable tips to save money on vacation. I’ve personally used many of these to save money.
You don’t have to be rich to travel if you know how to save money while traveling. These 10 tips will help you to travel more.
I feel tired of scrolling of my friend’s fancy Instagram feed. How do they do it?
The truth is, you don’t have to be super-rich to let yourself see the world. Cheap traveling is a thing, especially if you know how to use it.
But hey, don’t worry. It’s a skill, just like any other which means it can be mastered. Here I collected tips on how to save money while traveling. There will be references to my experience of traveling to different countries, but the rules are totally applicable to any destination.
Rule #1 – Ditch paid entertainment
I am serious, do that. Most things you pay for can be gotten for free or be easily ignored. Like, excursion. Sure, sometimes you find a really fun guide or the places are going to be awesome but 99% of the time it’s real trash. Not to offend anyone but what do you expect to find out that couldn’t be read on Wikipedia or looked up on Youtube? Let’s be real, in the digital world the information is everywhere, why pay for it? Just look up the stuff you need before going to the place.
Rule #2 – National dishes are overrated (well, in most cases)
Really, most English people don’t actually eat pudding every day same as Polish don’t eat pierogi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mostly, it’s just marketing cause restaurants need to attract visitors. If it was your dream though, then there is no need to refuse its realization. Just remember that there are good restaurants outside of the city center.
Rule #3 – Cook in your room
Whenever I travel abroad, I always go to a supermarket, ignoring restaurant by all means.
Remember one single rule: while going to another country, live like a local, not as a tourist. Do you think regular French people enjoy fancy cuisine every day? Hell, they don’t. There is Carrefour (FYI, the biggest European supermarket), what else do you need?
Comparing prices in restaurants and markets. Paris, France. Data source: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Paris
So go, buy stuff in a supermarket and cook the hell out of it.
Rule #4 – Walk, walk, walk
I hate spending money on transportation. When you are in another country, everything needs to be explored. What’s a better way to do it than by foot? So, walk whenever the weather lets you and wherever you can. Well, at least within one city or town.
Rule #5 – Settle for not-so-fancy accommodation
Average tourists spent a lot of money on accommodation. In Europe, it’s 55 euro per night!
Average expenditure on accommodation, spent per night, by type of rented accommodation, EU-28, 2015 (Euro)
Hear me out: spending money on an expensive room is a waste. How much time will you spend there anyway? And how great should your bed be? For all times I traveled I noticed one thing: the better my housing was, the worse was the trip. Stable WiFi, nice TV, comfy warm bed with soft pillows – these are the worst enemies of traveling experience and finances.
Rule #6 – Buy tickets ahead
If you plan to spend summer in Italy, start booking accommodation and tickets in winter. Or even earlier. This is especially important if you look for plane tickets. Remember: the earlier you book, the cheaper it will be.
I know many people delay trip planning because they have more urgent tasks to take care of. The truth is, if you know how to outsource study tasks to a related webpage, you can always find time to look into tickets or traveling route. When I want to go somewhere, I outsource whatever I can to do what I love.
Rule #7 – Set up a budget
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. The 101 rule of saving money is planning expenses. Boring? Yes, but still crucial. Make a clear statement of your spending and incomes and decide what exactly you will spend on. Most importantly, stick to it.
Rule #8 – Breakfasts – yeah, dinners – nah
I don’t know why but many people ignore morning meals. This is wrong. Not only for the health, but also for your wallet. There is no surprise that evenings are peak hours in all cafes and restaurants. With this in mind, eat more in the morning so you can have a light dinner or ignore it completely.
Rule #9 – Snacks are expensive AF
No secret that you can buy a big barrel of water almost for the same amount of money as small 0,5 bottle. Be smart, buy a lot of water at once and bottle it. Same with snacks: take a bunch of bananas and apples and always carry 1-2 on you. Don’t spend money on silly granola bars at the city-center shops. That’s a proven way of pouring money down the drain.
Rule #10 – Behave yourself
Okay, this might sound obvious yet: respect the laws of the country you are in. Heads up, don’t throw used chewing gum on the pavement when you are in Thailand. That will cost you nearly $600. Kind of a stupid way of spending money, huh?
The last bonus tip is to make your own traveling route. Don’t follow the popular advice of tour guides. All these 10 essential places to visit are often so overrated and expensive – and for no good reason. You are your own tour guide. For no charge.
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