Travel cheaper | The Best tips
In this article, I'll give you all my tips to travel cheaper wherever you are on earth. Tips to use everywhere, from the most basic to the one we think about the least. If one doesn't work or isn't possible in your personal case (like traveling out of season) try the others. Juggle between the possibilities because every penny counts when you have a tight budget. And I know something about this ;)
1) Travel out of season.
The first of these tips would be to travel outside the school vacations. Here you can often get plane or train tickets at half price and this will also be the case for hotel and hostel nights. Moreover, you will have less tourists everywhere (cities, museums, accommodation...) and it is therefore the best advice to save on your trip, although not everyone can afford it.
2) Use a flight comparator.
The technique is well known to all and several tools are available for this purpose between skyscanner, momondo or googleflights. These three sites compare flights at the dates and times you choose but note that prices for the same date are always changing depending on when you search. Here are some tips on how to search for flights to get the best price.
- The airlines' computers remember your IP address and they automatically increase the price each time they "see" you log in for the same search. So don't go back and forth on the platform too much or try for example to search via your phone in 4G and then on the computer connected to the net.
- The best time of the week to search is between Tuesday and Thursday, preferably at night between 00:00 and 6:00. The worst time is from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
- The cheapest flights are generally on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the week.
3) Buy / Rent on local websites
If you need to buy a train/bus ticket with a local company, make sure you are on the local company's website. (e.g. RENFE's Spanish website for trains in Spain which will offer you prices more in line with the average salary of the country)
4) Choose hostels / youth hostels.
Hostels have everything these days. Good beds, showers, breakfast included and restaurants, it's clean and it's a great place to meet people. The dormitory bed is the best option, you can sleep for 10$/€ in South America, 4$/€ in Thailand, sometimes 20$/€ in Europe. The more beds in the room, the lower the price but you can get by with a room for 2 for a good price too (40$/€)
5) Pay cash (But this is just between us!)
Sometimes, paying cash can also save you some $/€. This mainly concerns hotels, rentals, tours or purchases in stores above a certain amount. But this is just between us ;)
6) Negotiate EVERYTHING
Yes, everything. From the hotel room on. Do not hesitate. Either when you arrive at the place, or even by making a phone call before you arrive. You can always earn 10$/€ on a night or more or get the 4th night free if you take 3. If the hotel is not full, they will always make an offer.
Same for a scooter or car rental, or tuktuk ride. I had for example a scooter for 20€ in Mykonos instead of 25. For 3 days, that's 15€ less. There are no small savings.
The same goes for your purchases/souvenirs. They are often tourist prices and you can always save 1 or 2€ for the cheapest items, or even more for something more important.
7) Don't drop your money easily! (advice you won't see anywhere else).
For very touristy and expensive areas like Europe (France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy...) the shopkeepers increased their prices as American tourists always paid easily by saying 'It's cheap' even if the thing in question was indeed cheap and by spreading the bills on the frontdesk. This is a big difference between the American tourist and the European tourist who is more reserved when it comes to taking out the money. American friends, please do not take this as a criticism but as an observation and a testimony of many merchants and hosts.
Show that you are not a wealthy tourist and that you can't afford to do anything crazy, the person in front will understand you because they are often in the same situation.
8) Have the basics of the local language. (You won't see this one anywhere either).
On Exit Stamp we always give you a basic lexicon (hello, thank you, goodbye...) at each destination. This is to make it easier to get in touch with people and to show them that you are interested in them through the language of their country. Everyone will appreciate it because many people speak only English even for basic simple words like "hello" or "thank you". Have this basics for your language culture, to facilitate contact and show your interest in the country you are visiting and then use it to make friends and you will see that negotiation will also be more natural. I noticed this quite late but it is true that it helps to create a bond and sometimes the person in front of you accepts to make you a price or sometimes even offers you a dessert or a coffee for example. Afterwards, be sincere in your intentions. The primary goal is to make friends with the other person and create a human-to-human relationship, not just to look for the promotion of the day.
9) Avoid intermediary companies.
For a bus ticket, a ferry ticket, a tour or anything else, hotels and agencies in town often take commissions. Check the price on the website of what you want and buy it directly from the company. Here again, you can save $10 or $20 on a ferry ticket for example.
10) Eat cheaper / Cook yourself
Simple advice. Find cheaper restaurants such as sandwich shops, street restaurants, bakeries. Each country has its own basic type of restaurant (pizzeria, bakery, gyros,...) and when you go out of the center, it is always cheaper. And if you really want to try that more expensive restaurant, then balance the budget with one of the restaurants mentioned above or even better, buy some food at the supermarket and make cook yourself at the hotel!
11) Sleep while driving.
The ultimate tip for saving hotel nights. Sometimes a trip lasts a whole night, so you might as well spend it sleeping (+or- well) on a bus or train. Sometimes they are excellent sleeper buses like in South America and Asia, sometimes they are less comfortable but that's ok. Travelling is also that. And there you have one night of hotel of gained.
12) Carpooling (like blablacar.com in Europe)
This is a great way to save money. Trips are often half the price of a bus ticket and it goes twice as fast. You can also find a sociable driver and chat on the way. Otherwise, sleep or listen to music!
13) Avoid big bank charges
Today there are many cards that save you a lot of money on bank charges. In other cases, the more you withdraw, the more you will be charged. It is therefore recommended that you arrive with a little cash at the beginning of your trip and if you need to withdraw money, withdraw as much as possible at once, at least to last a week and not to come back every two days.
14) Be on the lookout for free activities.
There are often free activities such as a park, a view, an open exhibit, etc. But there are also many museums that have a free day in the week or month. So think about visiting the website of the city or the museum to know their free access day and/or in promotion. Here you can earn 20€/$ easily by being present at the right time!
15) Watch out for scams.
Scams are everywhere, in all forms, in all countries. A cab or a tuk tuk that announces a price that is too expensive, young people who want to make friends to get you to drink in a bar that will charge you more, souvenirs that you bought that are not actually the right cam. Don't be paranoid, but be wary of everyone and you will develop a reflex not to be fooled by the slightest proposal.
Here are 15 tips to keep in mind during your travels that will allow you to save small amounts of money but that will allow you to have extra hotel nights, or a meal, or a souvenir. If one doesn't work, try it somewhere else, move on to another one and by the end you will have your own mechanisms. Don't forget to write and share your tip in comments if it is not listed!