Travel doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are my top five travel tips to save money!
To give you all a goal, the prices of my previous travels have never been over $2,000. This will of course depend on the country and length of stay, so take time to research affordable places before deciding on a destination. Traveling to Thailand cost me less than $1,000 total from Salt Lake City, Utah, for 10 days (tickets, accommodations, food, all included.) My first experience backpacking Europe totaled less than $2,000, including plane tickets. I spent a month there and visited 6 countries! Lastly, I just flew to Florida for $11.60 from Idaho.
Number 1. No Hotels
Hotels may be exquisite and convenient, but they are money guzzlers. Look for alternatives such as air bnb or hostels. Hostels are basically hotels, but are set up like a dorm. Some hostels mean sharing a room with 12 other people in bunk beds, but if it’s $200 cheaper than a hotel, why not? Hostels can be as little as $7 a night in some countries.
Hostels are the perfect set up to meet other travelers like yourself. Many residents are solo travelers looking to make friends along the way. Hostels also offer tours, day trips, and other fun things for cheap. These tours are usually half the price of the same tour you would book online. Last but not least, hostels typically offer a free breakfast or dinner. This can save you $20 a day, and trust me, it adds up!
Number 2. Buy Groceries
If you’re staying in a country for a length of time, I highly suggest finding a grocery store and buying some basics for meals. Going out to eat every day, three times a day, adds up fast. An easy purchase is bread, peanut butter, and jelly. If you’re in the European mood get some cheese and turkey to have with jelly and bread! These sandwiches fill you up, and cost a fraction of the price you would pay at a restaurant. While staying in hostels or hotels, grab the free apples and bananas to carry with you to keep your hunger under control. This way, you won’t purchase unnecessary meals and snacks. For coffee and tea lovers, bring your own so you’re not spending $6 on a cup of Starbucks a day!
Number 3. See Nature
Nature is free! It’s good for the soul and is easy on the wallet. If there is an option to hike or walk – do it. I typically stay away from the tourist traps and find lesser known destinations. There are some places you can’t miss, so If you’re a college student, bring your student ID with you. Many tours will give you a discount!
Number 4. Use Google Flights
Google flights lists all airline options – assuring you will find the cheapest flight. This could be booked directly through the airline, Expedia, Priceline, etc. Google Flights allows you to select specific dates. But, if you want the best bang for your buck, select the flexible flights option. This will show you all flights to the area, and allows browsing for the best seasons to travel.
I have found that traveling in November- May (minus the holidays,) will show the cheapest options. Summer is typically the most expensive time.
Make sure to browse in a new window on your computer or phone, and *most importably* in ‘incognito mode.’ Airline companies track cookies on the internet and can raise the price of tickets viewed. If you want the best deal, it is so important to be invisible to them.
Number 5. Get A Credit Card
Every time I travel overseas I open a new credit card. This is scary for some, but if you are responsible with money – do it!Credit cards have deals, for example; spending $1000 in the first couple months will give $200 back. If you’re buying that ticket to Italy for $1000, why not get it for $800 instead?
Travel credit cards also offer miles with specific airlines as a reward for opening a card with them. For example, American Airlines had a promotion for 60,000 miles with a $95 fee to open. That amount of miles can take you round trip to most of Western Europe, Hawaii, and anywhere in the United States. I highly suggest researching deals like these and finding a card to fit your trip and lifestyle.
My $11.60 flight was with American Airlines. I opened a credit card with them, rewarding me the 60,000 miles. I used 40,000 to fly to Florida, and just paid tax! This is easily done through airline apps such as Delta or American Airlines.
If you have further questions about cheap travel, find me on Instagram (@earthtosarahwp) and message me!