13 Hacks For Saving Money On The Road
Saving money is an integral part of backpacking. This will not just enable you to have a long trip but will also help you indulge in an activity that you planned on. Transportation accounts for a majority of the price tag. Making small adjustments can help you cut down the costs to a greater extent. Here are 13 hacks for saving money on the road. Use them to get the most out of your trip. Especially when traveling abroad.
Stick to Self-Catering
You should consider cooking your own meals while traveling across the United States and in most countries of Western Europe. Eating out in highly developed countries usually costs a lot of money with few exceptions. On the contrary, eating out in countries with less developed industrial base adds to your experience. Eating street food can prove to be much cheaper. It wouldn’t be hard to find 1 USD bowls from street vendors in countries like Thailand. Eat heartily in the morning if your hostel offers a free breakfast. This may help you skip lunch and snack on the local treats.
Get a Local Sim Card
Purchase a SIM card and a data package, which would cost you $10-20 per month instead of connecting to the Internet from a café or hostel (yup, there are hostels that charge money for Wi-Fi). Stay at places that offer free Wi-Fi. Most bars and restaurants in developing countries offer free Wi-Fi.
Pick the Right Accommodation
If you want to travel around the world on a tight budget, you need to make sure that you save a lot of money on accommodation. Staying in hostels can help you save on average $40 a night based on the location, dorm size, facilities and quality offered. You can try home exchange, also known as house swapping as well. You just need to exchange your home with another traveler. Hence, this drives your accommodation costs to zero. Airbnb is another cheap option that helps locals rent their apartments, spare rooms or entire houses on a nightly basis. This can prove to be beneficial in big cities where budget hotels start at around $100 per night.
Define Your Priorities
You may be tempted to pay $130 for an hour’s flight rather than opting for an 18-hour bus ride that would cost you just $20. This can be a dangerous mentality though. But there is no harm in occasional self-indulgence. If you choose to travel by plane thrice during your trip, then you would end up spending $390 in this case. Doing the same by riding a bus would cost you $60. This amount can be equivalent to a week’s accommodation price while exploring developed countries.
Reduce Your Fees
Plan well in advance if you do not want to get stung by unexpected charges or fees. National park fees, toll roads, airline charges, visas, cancellation fees, lost hostel key deposits can be clearly avoided. Then there are other unnoticeable (or hidden) fees such as credit card fees, booking fees, agency fees, service fees and exchange rates. Make sure to check multiple places before exchanging currency. If you wish to avoid card fees, then you should consider withdrawing cash from a partner’s bank ATM. Dynamic currency conversion is not that convenient as you might think. Converting their prices to dollars before running your credit card usually means you end up paying more. So avoid DCC as long as possible. You can easily reduce travel costs by getting your tickets and accommodation directly, skipping the travel agency.
Find the Cheapest Time to Travel
Based on the time, day or month of travel, there can exist a great difference in the airline ticket prices. You can make use of apps that show day-to-day variations of flight and bus prices across a whole week, month or year thereby permitting you to opt for cheapest days to travel. Avoid traveling during weekends as the prices are at their highest. Traveling in low season can help you cut down expenses not just on the ticket price but on accommodation costs as well.
Avoid Foreign ATM Fees
When you withdraw money from an ATM abroad, you can be charged some additional international fees. While using a credit card at a foreign ATM, you need to be aware that most banks charge a separate amount for each cash withdrawal in addition to the commission fee. Estimate the budget and withdraw larger sums to avoid paying unnecessary fees.
Bring Your Own Medicine
Allergy medications, cough drops, vitamins, and pain relievers are usually overpriced at stores in tourist areas and in airports. Instead of paying triple or double the regular price, it is best to pack a bag of medication that you may need while traveling. It may be useful to retain the prescription medication with the original label in its bottle.
Get Cheap Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a worthwhile investment as it can prove to be beneficial in case you missed a flight or lost your luggage. If you travel frequently, then consider purchasing an annual trip policy. You can get a family insurance package deal if you have kids traveling with you.
Take Advantage of Free Visit
Visit tourist sites or museums on free days or get a discount for buying tickets on certain dates. Make sure to check the website to find out whether they offer free visiting hours.
Use Credit Card Reward Points
Read the details of your credit card program and benefits thoroughly. You might be able to redeem the points on frequent flyer program or for accommodation costs.
Avoid the Tourist Food Traps and Eat Like a Local
You will find authentic food at cheaper rates if you move a block or street away from the prime tourist spots. Street food is cheap and you can actually check what and how the food is being made right in front of you. Ask the locals what is popular and check where they prefer to eat.
Do not Miss the FREE Stuff
There is always free things to do and see. For instance, you can attend a cultural event, concert or a street fair for free. You can catch the magnificent sunrise or sunset, take a walk in picturesque locations. Free movie screenings in hostels and cafes can add up to the excitement. You can explore the market or the beach for free, swim in the lake. You can make amazing discoveries while indulging in fun activities that do not cost you a dime.