There are people who’ve managed to travel the world completely free or at very little cost. It proves that you do not have to have a lot of money to travel. All you need is to be creative. Here are 20 easy ways in which you can stretch your travel dollars.
1. Start saving
As a part of saving for your trip, make a plan. When planning, in one column list all the things that you would like. In another column list how you can reduce or eliminate these costs. Project how much money you will now need and save towards it.
2. Sign up for flyer miles benefits
Many companies now offer these as part of their product offerings. For example, banks will offer travel points on credit cards whenever you travel and use them.
3. Look out for airline ticket deals
Popular airlines often have ticket deals and sales for certain times of the year. Schedule your trips around these times so that you can save on airfares. Also, schedule your flights for the middle of the week when most business travelers or vacationers don’t fly.
4. Scout for destination packages
These are great ways to save money. You can get all-inclusive packages, especially at resorts, for less at certain times of the year.
Related: Top 20 Travel Tips to Save Money
5. Check with your employer
If you work for the government or for a large corporation, check with your employer to see which destinations worldwide have benefits for employees when they travel. Make use of these benefits and save your money. Travel with proof from your employer to your destination. These may even still apply even if you are a retiree.
6. Check with your school
If you are a student, especially a college student, check with your school for travel benefits that they may have for students. You may also be able to access international programs for students that will save you money when you travel.
If you are in high school, get your parents or guardians to look for locales for possible school trips. There are normally discounted group packages that will save them money and are cheaper than if they were to do it on their own. Usually, a teacher or school employee will chaperone the students on the trip.
7. Join a charity or religious organization
There are some charity and religious organizations that have overseas missions. As a member on a mission, you will get to travel for free. However, please bear in mind that you are on these trips to assist others and not for your own self-gratification.
8. Make a travel budget
It is very tempting to get carried away while traveling. You will come across many things to spend money on. Make a travel budget and stick to it.
9. Stay at cheaper accommodation
If you are not on a travel package that offered you hotels at cheaper rates consider accommodation that will cost you less but are still safe. These include bed and breakfast offerings in private homes, rooms on university campuses, convents, motels and cottages.
10. Try couch surfing
You may have a friend or family member living in another country. If they don’t mind having you, consider staying with them instead of paying for accommodation. Another thing you can try is a house sitting arrangement. This is where you occupy and watch over someone’s property and their pets while they are away. Lastly, you can join couchsurfing communities where you can connect and stay with locals for free.
11. Walk a lot
Save money by using your feet and not spending it on taxis or Uber. You can also wear a pair of smart shoes during your trip. Not only can it guide you and give you directions, but also burn calories as well.
12. Rent or buy your own transportation
Instead of paying for taxi rides to places, consider renting or buying your own transportation. Two-wheel vehicles, such as bicycles, scooters, or motorbikes, are normally the best to rent or buy as they cost less. You will get more mileage out of these to go many places at less cost.
13. Use electronic guides
There are now many kinds of guides that you can access to help you get around your vacation locale. You can access many of these GPS applications on your mobile phone. This will help you to save money on tour buses and tour guides.
14. Cook instead of purchasing meals
Don’t consider cooking on a trip a chore. You can make it fun by trying out some new foods where you are. Buy fresh food at their local market and experiment with some new dishes. You can do an internet search to find out how to cook them, and it does not have to be elaborate. Not only will this save you money but you get to learn about cuisine in another culture.
15. Look around for meal deals
Meal deals are not only available at international fast-food restaurants. You can find these elsewhere too. For example, buffet style restaurants, where the size of the dishes far outweigh what you pay. There are also all-you-can-eat restaurants and other places that offer discounted meals on certain days. Some of them don’t mind you leaving with a “doggie bag” either.
16. Drink boiled water
You don’t have to spend money on bottled water, which can add up. Use the regular water from the tap and boil it. Cool it and drink that. You may even use it to make drinks instead of spending on those too.
17. Entertainment deals
If you took a vacation package then you don’t have to spend extra on entertainment. This will be provided on a nightly basis for free. If you are traveling solo, due to negative worldwide events, avoid entertainment late at night and in certain places. Consider a local movie or concert.
18. Use your debit or credit cards instead of cash
Make sure your card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Then, if you have to pay for something, use your debit or credit cards instead of cash. You may be able to save money on the currency exchange differential depending on which country you’re in. Additionally, your card may have benefits such as insurance that protects your purchases or points that you can cash in for something else later. Every little benefit helps.
19. Shop at discounted stores
You don’t have to buy stuff in expensive shops for visitors or tourists. Duty Free shops in airports and shops in hotels charge way more for the same items than you can find in a local discount store. Look around for these, they shouldn’t be that hard to find.
20. Gifts for others
If you must take back gifts for friends and family, go for inexpensive items. Small souvenir items are great and you don’t have to buy them at expensive souvenir shops catering to tourists. If you go out an explore, you can find them gift ideas in local stores and craft markets.