7 Ways to Actually Save Money While Traveling

Sometimes, when I go away for the weekend or a few days, I actually spend less money than I would if I were at home. 

Of course, I live in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. But, if I think about it, even if I were to be back home, a weekend away sometimes actually saves me money.

Think about how much you spend in a weekend. It's Friday, you go out to eat with your friends, and then maybe go out for some drinks afterward. It's a good $40 night. It's Saturday, you drive yourself to the beach, pay entry, get lunch, before heading home for dinner and a night out with your friends. You need new shoes for your night out because your heels broke. Damnit. $100 day. Sunday. You're hungover. You order a massive pizza to your apartment - $20. You order a Redbox and stay in all day in your pajamas. 

In the end, that turns out to be a pretty expensive weekend. When I travel by myself, I often find myself spending less than that by using these easy tips.

1.) Use budget resources.

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Staying in hostels or couch surfing, using budget airlines, taking a coach instead of taking a train - all of these are ways to save money on simple things like accommodation and transportation. If you don't care much about how luxurious the place that you put your head at night is, then find a hostel or couch surf (which is free and amazing). I've found flights for $9 round trip. 

2.) Cook your meals in.

If you're staying in a hostel, try to find one with a kitchen. They're not hard to find, but it's a great way to save some cash if you're feeling particularly poor. When I travel, I typically splurge on one big local meal. I ask the hostel staff if they have recommendations for the best/most authentic meal I can have, and I eat out. The rest of the trip, I cook all my dinners in the hostel. It saves so much money in the long run, especially when you can spend $20 per meal at the touristy destinations.

3.) Be selective about your activities.

Definitely don't skip out on everything - that defeats the whole purpose of traveling. But be particular about what you're doing. $15 for a museum? Consider how badly you want to go into the museum or if you'd be okay without it. $10 a day to rent a bike? Maybe try walking (unless you're in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, in that case - definitely bike!) Even take into account public transit. If it's going to cost you 6 euros for a day pass, maybe make it more of an adventure and try walking everywhere that you need to go.

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4.) Consider the season in which you travel.

In Europe at least, it's so much more expensive to travel in the summer than in the winter/fall/spring months. If you don't mind the cold and you can do it, consider traveling in the off-peak months, as flights and accommodation are far cheaper.

5.) Forgo the drinking.

Some places, wine is cheaper than water. Which is excellent. But going out at night is still just as expensive almost anywhere. If you do want to go out, try finding a group pub crawl, as you can often get excellent drink deals at each location (it's also an excellent way to meet new people). I'm not saying don't experience the nightlife of each city, because it is an important aspect of the city's culture and a good way to learn what it's like for the locals. But hitting da clubs and binge drinking each night is a good way to kiss your wallet goodbye and limit the activities you can do in the future. You don't want to be too hungover to explore anyways, so consider how badly you want to go out in a city before you go all out.  

6.) Stay away from the tourist traps.

While this is extremely difficult, try to wander away from the touristy areas, even if just for lunch, so you can try to get a more local feel, and pay far less money for food. You're also more likely to find more authentic food (and more delicious food) if you wander out of the city center anyways, so give it a go. 

7.) CHECK FOR STUDENT DISCOUNTS!

Even if you're not a student, hold on to that ID! It may not have an expiration date on it, which would allow you to get student discounts at many places.