When you were a kid, saving money was something your parents did. Now you’re a grown-up. You know what it’s like to have to fork over hundreds of dollars for a flight, shell out $10 for a beer, and overpay for a bad meal just because you’re starving.
When you’re traveling, sometimes it cannot be helped. But, you don’t have to blow through your entire bank account balance just because you’re on vacation.
How To Save Money On Air Travel
If you’re flying, there’s an easy way to save money: book in advance and use your British Airways credit card. Accumulate points for the trip, and save money through a direct discount by booking online. Easy win.
Saving Money On Lodging
This one isn’t quite as obvious, but it’s totally worth the effort. Book at a hostel, homeshare, or through couchsurfing. This is a strategy families can’t really pull off because of the kiddos, but you can because you’re single.
You could also stay at a friend’s house if you know someone in the area where you’ll be staying.
If you don’t have any friends in the area, and you’re not comfortable sharing a room with a bunch of strangers, you could ask about private rooms at hostels. They sometimes offer them, and they’re not that much more expensive. You may have to share common spaces with others, but you’ll get your own private sleeping area that’s usually locked and separated from the rest of the common area rooms.
Sometimes the price for hostels is significantly cheaper than staying at a hotel, and you get most of the amenities you would get there.
And, some of the smaller, independent, hotel chains sell smaller rooms specifically for singles, so there’s another way for you to save money on the price of a room. Make sure you ask though before booking.
Saving Money And Getting Around
Many places offer free or low-cost public transportation. Use it if you can.
It sure beats a car rental, which is an expense that is often shared between two or more people in a family. But, if you’re going alone, you’re fronting all the costs yourself.
If you need to get a vehicle, however, get the smallest one you can find. If it’s just you and your bags, you won’t need much in the way of space. Make sure it has a sufficient trunk or back seat for your belongings.
Finding Low-Cost Food
This can be tricky, because it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to cook meals yourself. But, if you’re staying at a hostel, you might be able to take advantage of a home cooked meal there. Also, ask around. The locals almost always know the cheapest places to eat.
A few ideas to get you thinking:
Eat near universities or colleges – they tend to cater to college students who don’t have a lot of money to spend. This can be a great way for you to get good food at a great price.
Eat ethnic foods – Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisine can often be cheaper than conventional meals. And, if you’re actually in another country, stick to local fare. It will be cheaper than imported food.
Eat free meals – Your hotel probably offers a free breakfast. If you’re staying in a chain hotel, this is almost guaranteed. If you’re staying in a hostel, you’ll probably be offered low-cost meals. Take advantage of them and eat a big breakfast.
In some hostels, you might have access to a kitchen, which is a plus since you can shop locally and prepare meals at the hostel rather than eating out. This is probably the most economical way to eat. But, unless you know for certain that this is an option, don’t count on it. Ask before you book, and if you’re dead-set on it, you might have to shop around for the right place, which may cost you a little extra.
Eat lunch, not dinner – In most places in the world where lunch is the largest meal of the day, it’s going to be cheaper to eat lunch and have leftovers for dinner than it is to skip lunch or eat lunch and dinner.
You should also not be afraid to explore local restaurants. Most of the time, they will offer food that chain restaurants don’t have. And, they might offer you a better deal or have lunch or dinner specials that you can load up on.
Melissa Bull is on a year-long journey exploring the world, on her own. A keen blogger/writer Melissa is writing as she goes, sharing travel tips and writing destination guides to help supplement her income.