Eventually, everyone is going to be able to travel again, and that day is going to be glorious. Whether you’ve got an international holiday planned or you’re simply intending to wander around the country where you live, travel is one of the most important ways to keep yourself healthy mentally and physically. However, travel can be expensive – prohibitively so, for many people. Here are 10 of the best tips we’ve found for saving money, either before travelling or while you’re on your journey.
1. Need extra cash? Take out a loan before going
If you’ve got a regular income but you just need that extra cash injection to realise your travel dreams, you might want to consider taking out a loan. There are a whole range of online personal loans available from reputable, friendly providers, so this can be an excellent option if you want a reserve for travelling. Remember that you will need to pay the loan back, so this isn’t a good long-term solution if you don’t have a reliable income, but it is a great short-term option.
2. Take public transport or walk
In the vast majority of countries, taking public transport is significantly cheaper than driving. While the day-to-day costs may vary, as a driver, you need to take care of your vehicle in more ways than just filling it up with petrol, so while travelling, public transport is almost always cheaper. If your destination is in walking distance, it’s also an excellent idea to walk; you’ll get your daily exercise, and you’ll also be able to take in more of the sights and sounds as you go.
3. Cook your own meals
While it can be tempting to dine out at a different fancy restaurant every night while you’re travelling, cooking your own meals is a more budget-friendly option. Stock up on ingredients when you get to where you’re staying and plan out your meals for the duration of your visit. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally dine out, of course; treating yourself is important, after all. If you cook most of the time, however, you will save a lot of money.
4. Avoid typical tourist traps
It can feel like you’re missing out if you visit a place and don’t hit up the usual tourist spots, but believe us, this can be an excellent way to keep the coins in your pocket. Tourist destinations know exactly how popular they are and will often inflate prices due to demand. If you stay off the beaten path and try to create your own experience, you’ll find that you save money along the way, and you’ll also likely get a more authentic portrait of the place you’ve travelled to.
5. Don’t travel during major holidays
As you might expect, the busiest travel times tend to be around major holidays, with Christmas being a particular focus for many travellers. If you want to save money, it’s a good idea to travel during off-season. You’ll find pretty much everything to be cheaper when you do this, but that’s not the only benefit; many tourist destinations will also be significantly less busy, so you’ll have a better chance of seeing the things you want to see without long queue times.
6. Don’t buy souvenirs
Thanks to the incredible standard phone cameras have reached, pretty much everyone now has a near-professional camera in their pocket. This means that any photos you take of your destination are likely to be pin-sharp and to serve as excellent reminders of your journey. With that in mind, you don’t necessarily need to buy souvenirs and gifts. Your photos can act as souvenirs, and this also has the added benefit of putting you more in the moment when you’re taking them!
7. Research and talk to locals
Before you travel to a place, you should undertake extensive research on its customs and laws. Sometimes, you can avoid hefty fines for doing something you didn’t know you shouldn’t do, or you can find out how to dodge potentially expensive traps for tourists who don’t know any better. By talking to locals, you can get a better sense of what costs money and what doesn’t, thereby enabling you to immerse yourself more successfully in the local culture.
8. Work while you travel
This isn’t so much a tip for saving money as it is a tip for generating money while you travel. If you’re lucky enough to have a portable job, you can always take your work with you and earn a little extra while you travel. Otherwise, you might want to consider picking up a little part-time work. Make sure your job is near to where you’re staying and that it’s a legitimate job, but with those conditions fulfilled, you can easily make some money doing something quick and easy while you travel.
9. Save on journey costs
Before you even set out for your destination, you should be thinking about how to save money. Train, plane, or ferry tickets can be expensive, so travel during off-peak times and try to find lines that aren’t going to overcharge you. Looking for non-premium seats, travelling in economy class, and not availing yourself of travel snacks are all also excellent ways to save money on your journey costs. However you do it, make sure your money-saving attitude begins with the first trip.
10. Take snacks with you
This is a small tip, but you’d be surprised just how much money it can save you. Instead of popping into a shop while you’re walking around a city, take pre-made snacks with you. There will inevitably come a time when you’re hungry and exhausted and just want to stop for something to eat, and that’s how kiosks and other shops make their money. If you craft pre-made snacks to take with you, then you can have the best of both worlds; you can stop to refuel, but you don’t have to spend to do so.