Most people only see dollar signs when planning a vacation. If you get sticker shock whenever you book a plane ticket, we’re here with solutions. Whether working remotely or making new friends, there are plenty of ways to save money while you travel.
1. Drink Tap Water
This tip depends on the location you travel to. For example, you cannot drink tap water in Peru without boiling it first, but if you have patience, burn large amounts of water at a time, consume it at room temperature, or put the water in a fridge to drink later.
In Iceland, tap water is the safest and cleanest water in the world, but it smells like eggs in Reykjavik. The natural sulfur from the hot springs causes the water to emit a stench similar to that of hard-boiled eggs, but if you don’t mind the sharp smell (or don’t inhale while drinking), you’ll save $2 or more USD per bottle of water.
The best thing about working as a freelance journalist is the ability to work from anywhere in the world. One way to make money while traveling is by researching various freelance gigs to tap into while hopping between countries. These jobs range from pet sitting to odd jobs for locals.
3. Befriend the Locals
My best friend and I booked a speakeasy tour in Paris. The host was from Italy and moved to Paris a few years before the trip for her job. After the obligatory four speakeasy stops included in the tour, she wanted to stay out.
Since her career permits her entry into all the bars around the French city, we got free entry and free drinks at every bar she took us to. She also had a wealth of information about the best local restaurants and attractions, not just the tourist traps. Of course, that is just one example, but it does help to know the residents.
4. Pay Attention to Conversion Rates
Different countries have different currencies. That’s nothing new; however, it does seem to escape minds when planning trips. Let’s take Thailand. An average flight from the US to Thailand ranges between $1500 and $2000, but $1 USD equals 34.48 Thai Baht. So, you can travel around Thailand for $50 USD.
5. Avoid Shopping at Tourist Traps
Think about this; tourist shops make money by upping their prices, so ignorant tourists pay three times what something is worth. In Peru, I traveled to an alpaca farm and purchased a few sweaters and a scarf, thinking I was getting a great deal since I was on the actual alpaca farm. The next day, I saw better quality material for a third of the price.
6. Don’t Buy Gifts
The stress of bringing home a souvenir for every friend and family member is enough to postpone a trip for months. This may sound rude at first but don’t buy many souvenirs or gadgets for others while traveling.
You will spend too much money on items that may never be used or appreciated. Instead, share the adventure and exhilaration of your trip through pictures or postcards. I always buy my cousin a postcard when I travel abroad.
7. Take Advantage of Attractions With Free Admission
One of my favorite people lives in the city of sin. Las Vegas has a reputation for debauchery, endless casinos, and impulsive weddings. Right next to the infamous Las Vegas sign is a gargantuan building hosting hundreds of pinball machines, old video game consoles, and popular arcade games.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is free to visit; you do have to pay to play the games, and some of the systems cost a quarter for four games, but if you appreciate the makeup of gaming systems, this is the best free indoor attraction in Vegas.
8. Book a Group Trip
One way to maximize travel savings is to book with others. Group travel trips receive discounts since they book in bulk, making your trips cheaper. In addition, these travel companies book lodging, tours, and flights before you embark on your journey, easing the stress of travel planning and forking over extra funds.
9. Snack Bags
Every traveler is guilty of purchasing overpriced snacks in a rush between tours. Maybe you’re at a train station after your flight to London, and that beef jerky is calling your name, or perhaps you’re stumbling through France at 3 am after exploring the catacombs and locking yourself out of your Airbnb.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, always have some snacks on your person. Even a few nuts or chips saves you money at the end of the trip.
10. Get to the Airport Early
Once you travel a certain amount, you develop a strange bond with airports. You don’t love them, but you don’t despise their dirty floors or the aggravated TSA agents as much as you used to.
You learn how long an average shuttle takes from the lobby to your gate or how long it takes to pass through security with or without extra inspection. You also learn to situate in the launching pad and pass the time. So, take an Uber or taxi to the airport a few hours earlier. You can save money from surge pricing.