12 Tips for Saving Money On the Road
Philosophically speaking, traveling is a process of finding yourself through exploring new places, meeting people, and culture. Hitting the road several years ago allowed me to open up my mind and see things from a bit different perspectives, learn things that were unknown to me. However, traveling does have its economic undertones. It requires money, time and effort.
Since I wasn’t an expert traveler (I’m still enhancing my skills in that) who can quickly find the cheapest accommodation option or traditional restaurants with authentic food, traveling has always demanded some significant part of my money. Again, I couldn’t afford staying at decent hotels every time I’m on the road, not to mention, luxury hotels and expensive business class flights. Budget travel was the only way for me to see the world and its importance I couldn’t overestimate. The art of cheap traveling and saving money on the road involves only a little effort, but the fruits can be very sweet. Familiarize yourself with the 12 quirky and effective traveling tips for saving money on the road that I still use to drastically reduce my travel expenses.
Planning is the number one rule of any cheap travel endeavor. Planning can ease out many difficulties. It saved my time and money, and always make my trips pleasurable. Get all the information about the place you are planning to visit, book tickets in advance, stay informed about the weather and write down the attractions you are planning to visit there. An unplanned trip can go haphazardly in many ways. Planning your trip well in advance and pre-booking can provide you with cheaper deals.
- Get There During the Cheapest Time
Holidaying season in the United States begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year. Naturally, the prices shoot up at that time. Book flight tickets and hotel for traveling during the off-season, if possible. You can enjoy fewer crowds and delays along with saving money while traveling in the off-season.
- Find Cheap Accommodation
If you travel on a tight budget, there are usually not many accommodation options available. You can find out information about the hostels online to book privates or dorms. Hostels are very cheap compared to most hotels. Couchsurfing and Airbnb are well-known accommodation options that can add a local flavor to almost any trip while keeping a wallet full.
- Stick to Long-Term Stays
Some hotels offer discounts if you book for more than three nights. Take this advantage to stay at good rooms at a reasonable price, while having more time and money left for exploring the area around.
Maybe the horror movies have taught us that hitchhiking can prove to be dangerous and sometimes, fatal, for travelers. This is not true in fact. Sometimes hitchhiking might be the only travel option for reaching remote areas where public transport coverage is sparse. It is also enjoyable as you meet new people and can engage in interesting conversations about the area.
- Travel at Night
Traveling at night means that you don’t have to spend extra money on accommodation. Although it might seem tiring, overnight trips in buses and trains can cut down costs considerably, while still deliver a decent option for sleeping. Overnight traveling is exciting because you wake up in a new city the next morning and ready to explore it!
- Learn the Local Language
Having a basic understanding of the local language (if any) can help any traveler in many ways. Locals are often very enthusiastic about helping a person speaking their own language. You can also build up a friendship with new people by using the language. A person who looks like a tourist is more likely to be cheated by street vendors by charging more than the actual price. Learning some basic phrases ensures that you can bargain and thereby have a fair game in transactions. This is especially true if you are traveling to developing countries.
- Bring a Student Identity Card
If you are a student, your identity card can prove to be valuable while traveling. Many shops all over the world offer great discounts for students. Student discounts can be availed at food stores, museums and public transportation. This way you can save a bit of dough on a road trip.
- Take Offline Maps
Naturally, you will certainly have to navigate among the routes and directions when you reach the travel destination. I usually download offline maps of the region on my smartphone, to save money on travel guides and maps while traveling. It will save you a considerable amount of time as well.
As a traveler, you don’t need a travel agent to help you with getting flights tickets, tickets to concerts or booking hotels. Travel agents charge a commission for their services, which is a burden on your pocket. Most often, these agents work in conjunction with expensive hotels and flight companies to get them customers. With so many airfare search engines, aggregators, and booking engines out there, you just don’t need intermediary services to compare prices and book the cheapest option for your trip.
- Skip Shopping
While buying post cards and gifts is a good way to show affection to your friends and family, they cost a good deal of money. Souvenir shops are mostly targeting tourists and are usually undoubtedly pricey. Buy things and trinkets from local stores instead. Besides, do you actually need souvenirs since you carry some beautiful photos and memories back with you?
You can also visit farmers’ markets and local fairs to get some delicious food. The branded food chains cost more than local stores. In addition, why stick to burgers when you can enjoy the traditional local recipes!
You are in no hurry during the trip. Walk whenever you can, instead of using transport services. Short-distance walking is not only saved me money but also gave a vivid experience of the regions I was exploring. Skip hailing cabs, unless necessary. Public transportation is omnipresent all over the globe. Hop-on a bus or a train, instead of spending many dollars on taxis.
A budget trip is a great experience in itself along with the unforgettable memories it promises. A low-cost travel usually motivates me to undertake more such trips in future. Make sure to adhere to tips for saving money on the road the next time you set off on your adventure and save a great deal of dough for your next trip!