Don’t we all want to travel more with less? Especially these days, when we are both looking forward to being able to travel, but also trying to plan our money as best as we can.
Let me tell you something: you don’t need to be rich to travel. Why should you trust me? Well, because I’ve seen many places in Europe when I was making so little money, paying rent, and living on my own.
It is true that the cost of living where you come from might not be comparable with the one in Romania, but that holds true also to the income.
No matter where you live and what you do, if you plan accordingly, you will be able to save money and travel more. Or do something else with those savings.
But since we’re talking about travel, here are my top tips on saving money for travel and on travel.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about it on our disclosure page here.
How to save money for and on travel
Changes you’ll have to make on a daily basis
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
I know that for many this might be so hard, but it’s worth trying. I remember a friend was telling me she has started using an app to keep track of all her spending and that she was surprised to see what she spent the money on.
It is easy not to know how much things are and to lose track, especially when you pay for everything by card.
CUT BACK ON COFFEE EXPENSES
Why coffee? Well, because that’s usually a daily expense, and it sometimes sums up to 120 USD per month when you go for the 6 bucks coffee we all love.
That’s a lot, right? It can be a plane ticket or a night stay in a beautiful hotel. With SPA.
Now listen to me, I’m not saying you should give coffee up! I couldn’t ever do that. I love coffee so much I couldn’t do without it.
However, there are ways of saving. For example, I buy good coffee every other day. That way you could cut 50% of the cost.
Another option is to invest in a good coffee machine to have at home and only buy good coffee every other month.
The coffee machine might be more expensive to start with, but you will use it for years to come. And you can find affordable good coffee beans.
If the move to Hong Kong thought me one thing, that is that I can live without acrylic nails (or any kind, for that matter).
Sure, my nails looked lovely for 2 weeks or so, but I now keep them super small and they are healthier than ever. And they look nice too.
It takes 20 minutes every week to maintain them and I can apply whatever nail polish I want. And I save the money.
I know this is another tough one. But do we really need all those clothes? No, we don’t!
I left 3/4 of my wardrobe back home when we moved and I cannot say I missed any of the things I left behind. That means I’ve overspent for years, and I could have lived easily without all of that.
One of my friends once decided not to buy any clothes for one year. While I don’t think I could have done it myself, I think we can at least try to accomplish this every other month.
When I used to work in an office I had a time when I used to cook meals for every lunch. I did that not only for the savings but also because I wasn’t a fan of the food from the cafeteria.
However, when you buy stuff and cook at home you will have meals for more days and will save lots of money.
Here is a book that will help you with some inspiration for 900 fast and easy recipes:
START A TRAVEL FUND
Ever since I can remember I would set money aside monthly. No matter how much I made, a part of that would go into my savings account.
Whenever I got paid, part of the money went to expenses, another part in the savings account, and what was left I could spend.
That’s pretty much how I managed to travel to a different country every month for so many years.
How often are you eating out? Do you do it because you meet friends, don’t have inspiration for cooking, or because you want to try something else?
Well, grab that book from above and start planning for meals ahead of time. You can go out to eat on weekends and special occasions.
I remember I once read about the number of gym memberships people make at each start of the year and the number that actually uses them.
Be honest with yourself, I know you’re guilty of doing that, just as I am as well. That’s why I started exercising at home.
There are so many free resources out there, and you will only need to invest in a yoga mat or some weights.
DO YOU STILL HAVE CABLE TV?
We cut that so long ago because let’s be honest, don’t we all watch Netflix and Amazon Prime?
By the way, here are some great travel shows you’ll want to binge-watch.
SET A GOAL AND A TARGET
That’s the best way to feel rewarded and know you have done all that for something.
Having a goal is always good for motivation and once you get there you’ll want to keep on with it.
Save on travel
There are so many ways we can save when we plan for a trip, and even when we are on location. Some of these tips you might have used until now, but I hope some are brand new and can help you plan for cheaper vacations.
SAVE ON ACCOMMODATION
There are so many ways you can save on accommodation that it is a pity not to use most, if not all of them.
- Enroll in a hotel loyalty program – I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept and you know you can get better rates and also gain points for any stay. When you gather enough points, you can redeem them and book or upgrade further stays.
- Use platforms like Booking.com or Skyscanner.com and look for the best rates for hotels ahead of time.
- Book for more than 1 night – most places usually will have a higher rate when you stay only for one night.
EAT AT THE HOTEL
Book a hotel with breakfast, this way you’ll save on one meal of the day – the most important for energy to wander around all day long.
Sometimes we used to eat really well for breakfast, buy some snacks from the supermarket to have with us, and would only eat a late lunch or early dinner. We would save on one meal and could see so much more in a day.
Another great thing would be to book an apartment with a fridge and a kitchen or a hotel room with a fridge. This way, you can cook dinner in the room, or grab something to eat from the supermarket.
DON’T STAY IN THE CENTER
You don’t have to stay in the heart of town to make the best out of your trip. I’m not saying to stay outside of town and waste all the time and money on commuting.
However, you can find great places for less if you look a bit outside of the main area. A great example is our trip last year on the Amalfi Coast. We went in the full season (August), stayed in Vietri Sul Mare with a breathtaking view, only for 100 EUR/night. Yes, you read that right: Amalfi Coast in August, with a view, for 100 EUR.
USE AN APP FOR CHEAP GAS
Did you know that if you plan for a road trip in the US you can check out cheap gas prices on this app?
GasBuddy is the only app helping drivers Fuel Better. What does the app do?
- It helps you find the best gas prices.
- Save up to 25¢/gal on every gallon using the free Pay with GasBuddy card.
- Earn free gas (we call it GasBack) when you shop your favorite brands via GasBuddy — brands like Walmart, Amazon, The Home Depot, Old Navy, and many more.
BOOK MUSEUMS AND DAY TRIPS ONLINE
The best way to get discounts on tickets for most of the popular attractions and museums or day trips is to book them online, ahead of time.
They work best when you book online and you have the flexibility for canceling at any point before the trip.
SHOP AT LOCAL MARKETS
Apart from the fact that you will save on food, you will experience how real life in that place is actually like. On top of that, at the local market, you find some of the best and freshest products.
It is such a win-win situation that I don’t see any problems with this.
USE CITY CARDS
City cards are the most efficient way to travel around town and get to see the most museums at the lowest price.
Once again, most of the city cards and passes can be found online at better prices than on location. On GetYourGuide you will find plenty of options.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DATES
When you plan ahead of time and have the flexibility, try playing around with your dates and see which combination is the most affordable.
Try going during shoulder season – the weather will still be nice, but prices will be much lower than in full season.
DON’T EAT NEXT TO POPULAR ATTRACTIONS
It is well known that in most of the places the restaurants and coffee place closest to the popular tourist attractions are the most expensive ones.
I remember having a coffee in Venice when I lived in Trieste and how shocked I was about the huge difference in price between the 2 locations. And I’m certain that in Venice as well you can find decent priced coffee, food, and drinks.
You just don’t want to eat in Piazza Navona or Piazza San Marco.
GET AROUND BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR WALK
Do as the locals do and live the real local experience. Take the bus, the tram, that crazy tuk tuk in Sri Lanka, anything goes on vacation.
I rarely take a taxi on vacation, and in many parts of the world, you can also negotiate the price of transfers.
Walking is another great option. On city breaks, I always walk over 20 km daily. That’s the best way to see the hidden streets mingle with the locals and really feel a place.
EAT WHERE THE LOCALS EAT
First of all, because that’s where you’ll find the best local food, done in the traditional way. Secondly, because the prices are always much cheaper where locals eat than in tourist-oriented places.
I remember one of my friends taking us to eat at this pizzeria in Rome where she said they have the best pizza. It was a place with some plastic tables covered with newspaper. Needless to say, the first impression wasn’t the best but that pizza was indeed one of the best I’ve ever had!
The same thing goes also for Hong Kong. While a meal for 2 at a “westerner” restaurant can set you back more than 1000 HKD, you will get delicious local food at the “cha chaang teng” for around 200 HKD. That’s 5 times cheaper!
Rome2Rio.com is a site that will help you organize your commute for that trip you are planning. They give you options for trains, ferries, buses, and planes.
You can organize your trip and optimize your costs.
FIND CHEAPER FLIGHTS
There are ways I bet you haven’t thought about when it comes to booking cheaper flights.
One of them is skiplagged.com. Their main focus is on the US, but you can find deals for anywhere in the world.
They look for flight combinations that will save you money. For example, let’s say you want to get from Atlanta to Orlando and the flight ticket is 250 USD. They would be able to find a flight from Atlanta to Dallas with a stopover in Orlando for only 120 USD. You skip the lest leg of the flight but save the money.
SPEND MORE TIME IN ONE PLACE
I must admit I’m guilty of this too, and I’ve seen so many people talking about wanting to fit into a one week trip 10 destinations.
Even more, today, when we’ve learned how important the chance to travel is, I think we should stay more in one place. Slow travel has been a concept for a long time now, but we thought we couldn’t afford it.
Of course, not everyone has the chance to spend 3 -4 weeks in a place, but instead of trying to see the whole of Italy in one week, why not see Rome and its surroundings alone?
By spending more time in a place we live the real experience, and save more. We save on transportation, save time spent on the road, and we can even get good deals for longer stays.
FLY OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK
Flights are usually cheaper when you fly out on a Wednesday than if you would want to leave on Friday or Saturday morning.
That’s why it will be much cheaper to leave and come back in the middle of the week than going from Saturday to Saturday.
GO FOR FREE ACTIVITIES
Go on a free walking tour (you will only have to pay a tip to the guide), swim in a lake instead of going to the pool, see a street fair, go to a local market, catch a sunset. There are so many free ways you can feel and live a place.
I remember wondering on the streets of Lisbon on a Sunday morning at the flea market. It was such a fun activity, we mingled with the locals, felt the vibes of the city, got some souvenirs for great prices, and didn’t have to pay anything for this.
JOIN A FACEBOOK GROUP WITH OFFERS
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There are plenty of Facebook groups that share all kinds of travel deals.
In most of the cases, you will have to make the bookings yourself and be flexible with the dates of travel. But if you’re open to that, you’ll save a lot!
TRAVEL CLOSE TO HOME
Why not go for a road trip and explore some places close to home?
I bet there are so many places you still haven’t been to because you always said you will have time for this, and always wanted to travel somewhere further away every time you had the chance. That’s just how I was doing things as well.
But the good think about being unable to travel further away is that you have the chance to discover places you never thought existed close to home.
PIN FOR LATER!