During the last couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. Many times, on my own and with relatively little money to spend. Through organizing various (longer) trips by myself, I figured out some easy ways to save a lot of money on traveling that I would like to share with you in this post.
Note: I just started this blog about six weeks ago, so this post is obviously NOT sponsored. I’ve been using all the search engines mentioned in this post for several years already.
1. Be flexible with your destinations
I guess you probably have a long bucket list of travel destinations, either on paper, your phone or in your head. At least I have. When I was in my first semester, I wanted to travel to Cape Town for a couple of weeks. However, flight tickets to South Africa were crazy expensive during my semester break, so I decided to go somewhere else instead and ended up in Thailand. Southeast Asia is obviously cheap in general, so if you want to go on a longer trip, this area is a good start.
2. Check flights on Skyscanner
Instead of only checking individual airlines, it’s much more efficient to use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. I checked out other flight search engines in the past, but Skyscanner is by far the best in my opinion. What I particularly like about Skyscanner is the fact that you don’t necessarily need to fill out the destination field. In that case, you will get destination suggestions chronologically listed by the amount of money they cost.
Additionally, you can compare flight prices across a whole month, which is especially convenient if you are flexible with your exact departure and return dates.
3. Choose your accommodation wisely
Before I traveled to Bali and searched for my first accommodation, I was positively shocked by the prices there. Of course, I knew everything would be much cheaper than here in Germany, but I only fully realized it, when I scrolled through booking.com. In my excitement, I immediately booked a hotel room for the first three nights which cost me only 70€ in total. Of course, I wasn’t planning on staying in hotels all the time, but I believed I had made a good deal. To be honest, however, these three days were the most boring ones out of the seven weeks I spent on Bali.
It felt like I was wasting money on something that wasn’t a priority to me. I was honestly so relieved when I left my beautiful hotel room behind me and went to my next accommodation – a twelve-person bunk bed dorm. As a solo traveler, it’s so much easier to get to know other people when you stay in hostels than when you have a room for yourself. Additionally, and this takes us back to what this post is all about, it is much cheaper!
I paid 5-7€ per night at most of my hostels in Bali. My absolute highlight on that journey, however, was my accommodation in Candi Dasa that cost me 14€ for three nights including breakfast. In Thailand, I often paid 3€ or less per night.
For hotel and hostel bookings, I almost always use booking.com, because they have really good filters that make it easy to find suitable accommodations. Another benefit of booking.com is their genius program, which means the more stays you book with them, the more discounts you get on your next trips.
If you book your next accommodation via this link, you will get a 10% refund.
If you travel with someone else or don’t like the idea of sharing a dorm with strangers, Airbnb is a great option too!
If you’re not on Airbnb yet, you can save up to 50€ on your first trip by using this link.
4. Choose one longer trip over several short ones
Truth is, it is often much more reasonable to go on one, longer vacation than on various short trips, due to the transportation cost. I know, not everybody can take several weeks off at work, yet for those who can, it’s an easy way to save money while traveling. Road trips are a great option if you want to see several places in a larger area. If you don’t feel comfortable driving in strange places, public busses are another alternative.
Since I’m not the best example myself, I don’t want to come off as preachy, yet I try to avoid unnecessary short-distance flights, not only for my wallet but also for the environment. So instead of taking a one-hour flight, I rather choose an eight-hour bus drive.
5. Avoid expensive tourist trips
So many tourism agencies advertise their amazing tours and packages for so-called discounts, that are still crazy expensive. Most of the time though, you can easily visit many of these places by yourself while spending much less money. If your desired trip is only doable with a guide, check out offers from different agencies to make sure you’re making a fair deal. I much rather spend some extra time researching than getting caught in a tourist trap.
6. Either eat out or cook by yourself – depending on where you are
This tip may sound stupid, but whereas eating out in places like Bali or Thailand is cheaper than cooking by yourself (at least if you don’t want to have pasta every day), the opposite applies to developed countries. When in Asia, I love checking out fancy restaurants, but I still try not to overextend my wallet too much, so I also eat street food sometimes. However, I’m generally more willing to pay more money on a delicious meal than on fancy accommodation. I think this is just a matter of preference.
7. Luggage on flights
If you’re traveling to a warmer climate for a longer time, you would probably take a backpack instead of a suitcase with you. That’s great because this usually means that you carry far less than 23kg with you. Many airlines offer different check-in baggage fares, e.g. 15, 18 and 23kg. I never took more than 15kg check-in luggage with me when I traveled to Australia and Asia, which in sum saved me a lot of money.
8. Check your visa card and bank conditions in advance
Before I’m going on a longer trip, I usually check with my local bank where I can withdraw money with no or low fees. The same is advisable for visa card conditions.
9. Be cautious regarding exchange offices
This point ties up on the last one. Do your research on exchange offices and compare different currency ratios to avoid getting exploited. Also, pay attention to commission fees and other hidden costs.
10. My low budget destination recommendations
As already mentioned, Thailand and Bali are some cheap travel destinations and particularly worth a visit, if you’re planning on doing a longer trip. In Europe, Prague and Budapest are probably my favorite low budget places so far. However, I haven’t seen much of eastern Europe yet, so let me know if you have any more recommendations!
I hope you found some of these tips helpful and save some money on your next trips!