I hear people all the time say things like “OMG I wish traveling was free, you’d never see me again”. Well, it’s certainly not free. But there are ways to lower your expenses when traveling dramatically. It’s important to remember that the most expensive aspects of traveling are: airfare, a place to stay, food and transportation. 4 things that everyone needs no matter where their journey takes them to.
Here are some ways to cut these essential travel costs down.
USE AIRBNB OR HOSTELS INSTEAD OF TRADITIONAL HOTELS
I’m in Barcelona right now for a few days. I’ve never been so I figured “why not”. And for the first time I am not staying in a hotel. And I am glad I made the switch. I will never go back to hotels. When I was traveling throughout Europe with my at that time girlfriend, we would only stay at hotels. I figured yea sure it’s probably more expensive but it’s safe, clean and private. Well today I found out that staying at hotels isn’t necessarily the only way to go if you’re looking for those criteria. I rented out a room with Airbnb for the few days that I am in town and I have tell you guys, it’s a lot cheaper than any hotel I've ever been to. I have the same benefits that I would get if I were to book a hotel room. The apartment is CLEAN, PRIVATE, and SAFE. I’ve always been skeptical about Airbnb because I just didn’t know how to feel about sleeping in a stranger’s room. But it turns out that it isn’t any different then sleeping in a hotel room. Except that you’re saving yourself some serious money.
Airbnb works off of reviews and recommendations. Therefor it is pretty easy to spot a legit listing and it’s always recommended to communicate with the property owner directly with any questions you may have. Airbnb’s customer service is excellent and protects both the owner and renter. Check out Airbnb. Create a profile and take a look for yourself how much cheaper some of the rooms are. Compare, compare, compare. And if you’re not a fan of Airbnb, then take a look at some hostels in the area that you want to visit. They are a great way to meet people, make friends and expand your cultural horizon, because you will meet people from all over the world at these hostels.
Fly with budget airlines or travel on buses.
This one is tricky if you’re traveling within the United States, because there really aren’t that many budget airlines to choose from, and the ones that do operate there often are not that much cheaper than conventional major airlines . Still, they’re worth mentioning and certainly worth looking into.
Around Europe and Asia you will definitely have more luck. It is not uncommon for budget airlines in these regions to be cheaper than trains. That’s why when traveling to Europe it is better to stay for 3-4 weeks and just travel within Europe for cheap. You can easily see a dozen countries during a single stay and safe a lot of money traveling with these budget airlines.
Also, if you’re not in a rush and don’t mind spending a few hours on a bus, there are some great tour buses that will take you throughout Europe and the States. Greyhound is the major intercity carrier in the states. In Europe you can travel with Flixbus which I have used in the past. Takes a little longer to get to your destination but it’s definitely by far the cheapest. I took a bus from Germany to France for about 20 euros. You can’t beat that. Most of their buses have free Wi-Fi and power outlets so it doesn’t have to be that boring. Also it gives you an opportunity to appreciate the scenery in different regions. The world is a beautiful place.
Cook your own food.
Eating out is expensive, that’s just a fact. You know this when you’re at home, but people automatically assume that you HAVE to eat out when you’re in a different city. Truth is, you don’t. If you rent an apartment with Airbnb you most likely will have access to a kitchen where you can keep your food in the fridge and cook.
During my first Airbnb experience in Barcelona me and my friends went to a local supermarket down the street from us and bought a bunch of groceries, and took them back to the apartment. Right there we probably saved us a hundred euros throughout our 4 day stay. Sure, everyone wants to experience a foreign dish or fancy dinner with good company. But if you can keep the eating out to a minimum, you will be saving yourself a lot of money.
Use Uber when you’re trying to get around.
In most places public transportation is the cheapest way to get around. ‘Most places’ certainly do not include the U.S. Our public transportation system is horrible for the most part. Unless you’re in New York or Chicago perhaps. You will save yourself a lot of money if you’re using UBER. In the U.S. Uber is nearly available in every major city. And in Europe they’re expanding drastically. Although most European countries have excellent public transportation systems, it is wise to compare prices. I’ve used them in England, France and Switzerland and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. It was affordable, efficient and the drivers were really friendly towards us. It’s always good to ask locals for their opinion.
I recommend anyone who travels frequently to get the Uber app, and since the app is you no good if you don’t have any service, I also recommend for you guys to get a T-Mobile plan which comes with free international data. I’ve talked about this here . Make sure you have the app installed on your phone, a account created and linked to your banking information BEFORE you travel. Even if you don’t want to use it, have it just in case for an emergency.
Work for an Airline.