Travel Tips May 03, 2018
8 Surprising Ways To Travel On The Cheap
Are you looking for ways to save money while on vacation? Of course you are. Who isn’t? While traveling is sometimes considered off-limits to those without fat bank accounts or accommodating jobs, there are actually plenty of ways to see more of the world without going broke. Here are some of our favorite thrifty travel tips.
1. Fly from a smaller airport
Did you know that airlines essentially have to rent runway space to fly out of large, busy airports? Not surprisingly, they usually transfer that cost to travelers. You can actually score much cheaper flights by expanding your ticket search to include smaller airport that may be an extra 30 or 40 minutes drive time from your home. It might mean a few extra dollars in gas, but you could save hundreds on your ticket.
2. Make or bring your own food
This one is a no-brainer. Eating out is almost always more costly than packing your own lunch, not to mention the astronomical prices of everything at an airport dining venue. Save serious cash during your travels by purchasing groceries either at home or at your destination and whipping up easy meals like sandwiches, cut veggies, or trail mix to tide you over during a day of exploring.
3. Always weigh and measure your luggage before you get to the airport
This tip could save you up to a hundred dollars per bag, not to mention the irritation of having to frantically remove items from your suitcase right in the airport. If you don’t want to be hit with overweight bag charges or be forced to check your carry-on, it’s worth it to invest in a cheap luggage scale for your home. Heck, you can even pop that suitcase on your bathroom scale (make sure no part of your bag is touching the floor) to get a feel for how close you are to the weight limit.
4. Try the side streets
You’d be shocked just how much you can save in dining costs just by veering off the main drag. That plate of genuine Italian pasta that costs $30 at a busy restaurant downtown? You can easily get the same quality (or better) or for $15 or less at a local joint just a street or two down. When a city has a clearly defined "tourist district" or street, try going down just a street or two to find better restaurant prices.
5. Pre-book your airport parking
Little known fact – you can actually reserve a parking spot at the airport before getting there. Sometimes even weeks in advance. Not only is this way more convenient than circling the lot for ages trying to find an open space, but booking in advance is actually far less money than leaving your car there without a reservation on the day of your flight. Check your airport’s website for more information.
6. Travel at the cheapest times
All flight bookings are not alike. It’s very possible that the person sitting next to you on a plane payed double (of half) what you paid depending on when they booked their ticket. Try to minimize your chances of getting hit with a high ticket price by strategically booking your flight on the right days. In general, avoiding traveling on weekends or near major holidays, as well as anytime around a typical school holiday. Additionally, consider booking a vacation to a destination in its off-season. You’ll still experience the area without paying through the nose for hotels and airfare.
7. Try WWOOFing
WWOOF is a funny acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Yep, that’s right – this program lets volunteers stay on organic farms with free room and board as long as they pitch in around the farm. Different hosts have different terms, but generally, guests can expect to between 20 to 25 hours a week doing a diverse range of tasks such as milking goats, harvesting coffee beans, or gardening. This is a great way to stay and eat somewhere for free, as long as you don’t mind a bit of work. Plus, there are opportunities abroad as well as in the U.S.
8. Consider couchsurfing
While this may be more of a viable option for single backpackers than full families, couchsurfing is an incredibly cheap way to travel and meet new people. In fact, over 15 million people have tried this novel kind of accommodation though the Couchsurfing website.
Here’s how it works: you join the Couchsurfing website for free and find available hosts in your location of choice. Contact a host through the website after reviewing their profile and arrange your free stay on their couch or spare bedroom. All hosts have photos, personal bios, and reviews from other travelers. As always, you should always be cautious when traveling and don’t be afraid to opt out if things start to feel fishy. However, couchsurfing is a legitimate option for travelers on a budget. It also lets you connect with locals who can offer a more authentic take on your destination than any guidebook.
What tips do you have for traveling on the cheap? Let us know in the comments! If you don’t mind dropping a bit of cash, check out the world’s new largest cruise ship