Thought Catalog
September 3, 2014

18 Easy Ways To DRASTICALLY Reduce Travel Costs

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image - Flickr / Victor Bezrukov
image – Flickr / Victor Bezrukov

Thinking about traveling soon? Not sure if you have enough money? I’ll go over some really easy ways to drastically reduce travel costs in this article.

  1. Rent an apartment long-term. This can save you tons of money. For example, weekly apartment rentals are much more expensive than renting an apartment for a month. Sometimes you can even find similar apartments and these apartments will all have similar prices, but one rental is for a month and another is for a week. That will prolong your travels for a long time. And it will feel like you have your own place in whichever city you’re traveling to.
  2. Not a big fan of the idea of renting an apartment? Stay in hostels instead of hotels. Although they offer less privacy, they’ll drastically reduce your travel costs and increase the amount of time you’ll be able to travel for. If you want the best of both worlds most hostels offer private rooms, so you’ll get the social aspect of meeting new travellers, but you’ll have your own private space.
  3. Are you on a shoestring budget? Try out couchsurfing.com. You’ll get to meet locals, new friends, and they’ll offer you a space to stay in their apartment or house. Try and build up some reputation within the community (if you have none) beforehand, as you’ll want to be able to trust the hosts just like they’ll want to trust you. This is a great way to meet locals within whichever area you’re traveling to.
  4. Travel in low season. Obviously this will depend on when you can travel, but traveling to a destination in low season can save tons of money. Not only on flights, but with accommodations too.
  5. Travel to budget destinations. While you can still travel for cheaper than you’d expect to some expensive destinations, you can save lots of money by traveling to cheap budget backpacking destinations.
  6. Cook your own food. If you’ve rented an apartment then this is easy. If you are staying in a hostel or B&B with a kitchen in its common area this is also a feasible option.
    Who wants to cook when traveling? Sometimes I do! But if you don’t want to cook then you can eat cheap street food. Almost any city you travel to will have some form of cheap street food and it is usually delicious!
  7. Use budget airlines. In Europe and Asia there are a handful of these and they’re definitely worth using. Occasionally they can even be cheaper than traveling on trains, so they’re definitely something to consider.
  8. Book cheap airfare. Book in advance or the night before — there’s no rule of thumb of when you should be booking your airfare. Although I’ve had much more luck with booking in advance, sometimes you can find some last minute deals too.
  9. Check differences in prices amongst all airlines. Here is some of my advice on how to find cheap flights: How to find cheap flights anywhere in the world.
  10. On the contrary, sometimes trains are cheaper. Compare your options to find the cheapest form of transportation.
  11. Hitchhike? Ok, some of you may not be entirely comfortable with this, but it can definitely save you money. It’s also more dangerous and in certain travel destinations this is probably not the best idea. However, it is an option!
  12. Walk. Not from city to city, but within a city. There’s no need to constantly be taking public city transportation when you can usually walk there. It will take longer, but it will save you money.
  13. Pack only a carry-on. How will this save you money? Well if you decide to travel on budget airlines they usually charge extra for checked bags. Some of the most popular airlines are even charging for this. Also, don’t overpack your carry-on. You don’t want to have to pay overage fees on airlines. They’re ridiculous. Even if it won’t save you money it’s definitely advisable to pack with only a carry-on. I always laugh when I see people trying to board trains with 4 suitcases.
  14. Avoid excessive alcohol. Alcohol can be expensive in certain destinations and overdoing it can break your budget. Even in budget destinations where you can get a beer for $1 you might find that you’re overspending by purchasing more and more.
  15. Don’t buy useless tourist trinkets. In my opinion they’re a waste of money. I’d rather leave a destination with my experiences and photographs. Those are the best memories.
  16. Go where the locals go. Locals will know where to go and they won’t get caught in tourist traps like you or I might.
  17. Be creative and think outside the box. For example, check out how I went up the Arc de Triomphe for free. Or take a look at how I stayed in Florida for free here.
  18. Avoid paying airline fees. See some very easy ways to do so here.

These are just some ideas on some very easy ways to drastically reduce your travel costs. Traveling is as expensive or as cheap as you make it. There is no limit to how much you can save when traveling and you certainly don’t need to be rich to travel for a long period of time. Get out there and start traveling! TC mark