How to save money while travelling
Posted in: Blog
There are many ways to travel on a shoestring. You can find a house that needs sitting. You can get a job on a cruise ship. You can work on a farm. If you’re already losing interest, stay with me a bit longer. Okay, you don’t want to be responsible for an unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar locale. Or twist towels into bunny rabbits. Or slop the hogs. These travel tips are for those of you who want a travel vacation minus excessive or unnecessary expenses.
Find great deals
It may take a little extra effort but finding discount deals, exclusive offers and voucher codes online is well worth it as nearly every major outlet runs online promotions all year round. This can save you a fortune on everything from flights to travel essentials. Worth starting with a site like Groupon to see whats available to you. It could really help your budget.
Of course, we want you to have a healthy food regimen, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about how you can eat well and spend less.
Ask the locals to recommend the restaurants they patronize. They aren’t paying the inflated prices to dine out that tourists do. You’ll find good food at sensible prices. You can scout out a restaurant yourself. Leave the main thoroughfare and the tourist attractions. Wander off the beaten path and find that little restaurant tucked away on a side street. If the restaurant has diners who seem to be local and they don’t look apprehensive, give it a try.
Eat your main meal at lunchtime. Lunch is less expensive than dinner and often they are the same dishes, maybe smaller portions, but we’re always looking to cut down on the calories, aren’t we? Also, you’re unlikely to run up the bill with wine or cocktails in the middle of the day.
Go to a grocery store and buy fruit, vegetables, snacks, energy bars, and bottled water at reasonable prices.
Here’s a secret about water: If your hotel has a gym, it may be stocked with bottled water and it’s all yours for free.
Avoid the Tourist Shops
We all know that souvenir shops are ripoffs, but we want those tchotchkes to take home. Again, shop where the locals shop: a discount department store or a novelty shop, maybe a drugstore. You will find nicer things at lower prices. Same goes if you find you need an item of clothing. Those hotels shops are totally off limits!
Know When to Tip
Don’t tip more than is customary. Before you leave home, find out what the tipping conventions are in the country you’ll be visiting. There are countries where tipping is expected (indeed, just about demanded). There are countries where it isn’t expected but appreciated, countries where it isn’t done, and, where you really have to be careful, countries where tipping is an insult.
Before you tip anywhere, check your bill because in some countries a “service charge” is added to your bill and that’s the tip.
Don’t Spend Money on Money
There’s just something wrong about paying to spend your money, but that’s what happens many times when you need to convert your money into foreign currency. One absolute rule: Do not exchange your money at airport, hotel, or Travelex counters. No matter what the sign says. If it says, “no fee,” there’s a “service charge.” If it says “no commission,” they’re cheating you on the rate of exchange.
Download the free app GlobeConvert onto your smart phone. If you must convert currency, the app will give you the correct exchange rate.
The most financially wise method of payment is by credit card—one that does not charge for foreign transactions. The company will calculate the exchange rate without charging additional fees.
- Do not use your credit card at an ATM. It is charged as a cash advance and the fees for that are high.
- Let your credit card company know when and where you’ll be traveling. Then there will be no red flags flying when your card is used in Kazakhstan.
Each item may result in small savings, but like pennies in a piggy bank, they add up. You’ll see a decided difference in your travel expenses.
If you would like to stretch beyond these tips and travel with little or no money, look for the houses, cruises, and farms that I mentioned in the beginning. They, and others like them, are valid options for traveling in the least expensive way possible. And some of them will even pay you!