It’s something every world traveler thinks about; how do you save those extra few dollars or euros while out there on the road? Well, it can be hard to do, especially if you’re trying to see every single attraction a city has to offer. However, there are a few ways you can save some cash throughout your travel adventure:
1. Hostels are a travelers Best Friend
Yes, it isn’t the most glamourous living situation, I mean who really wants to sleep in a room with ten other people? Well, if you’re truly a dedicated traveler, then chances are you’ve already experienced “Hostel Life” in all its glory, with the snoring roommates, the late-night party-ers, or just the loud and chatty bunkmate. That being said though, staying in a hostel can be a major benefit to your trip as well. You’ll typically meet cool, like-minded people, who are all looking to do the same too. Plus, with the money you save on a hotel, you can go out and experience more of the food, or nightlife, or whatever you’d like to see while visiting your country of choice.
All and all, hostels are a 50/50 shot. You’ll either win the lottery and be up all night with new friends, drinking and laughing the night away, or you’ll be up all night because the guy in bunk next to you snores like a chainsaw. Either way, you’ll have a story to tell.
2. Cook your own food!
Look, everyone dreams of going on the amazing tour through the city of Paris or Rome or Tokyo and eating all the amazing food from all the top-of-the-line restaurants, but chances are unless you’re Anthony Bourdain, you can’t afford to do so. So how do you get the same experience without the cost? Buy your own food from a local grocer and cook it yourself! All the same dishes you see at those fancy restaurants can be bought and made at home for half the cost. Walk down to the local Sainsbury’s or Tesco or whatever the local market is in the area, and buy the ingredients you need. You’ll feel the pleasure of knowing you made something great all while saving those all-important extra pennies!
And if it all goes wrong, and you end up burning the dish, or overcooking the chicken or whatever the problem may be, at least at the end of the day you’ll have a story to tell!
3. A Free Museum is Better than a £20 Museum
Yes, I know you want to go into The Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, but there are ways to do so without paying the ridiculous entrance fee. They have student days and on Sundays it’s free entry, so why not wait the two or three extra days to see it? That way you can take the euros you save and spend them on a few beers that night at the pub.
This isn’t confided to Paris either, lots of cities across the world will have museums with Student Days for a discounted rate, or even free admission one day a week. Granted, those days will probably be the busiest, but if it saves you the extra quid and you don’t mind a crowd why not wait it out. The Mona Lisa will look the same on a Sunday as it does every other day, well that is unless someone doesn’t steal it first!
4. Couchsurfing is a Great way to make new friends
If you haven’t heard of it yet, well now you know; there is a service out there called “Couchsurfing” where people open their homes to travelers for a free night’s stay. You may have to help out with cooking dinner or with a few chores around the house, but it’s honestly one of the coolest ways to meet new people in a country you’ve never visited. Often times, the hosts will be just as excited to have someone staying with them as the “Couch surfer” is to have a place to stay.
Couchsurfing is not just a way of avoiding paying for a hotel or hostel though, if you’re going to use the service you must be friendly and interactive with your host(s). Help cook dinner, engage in conversation, treat them to a drink after the meal, it’s all about broadening the global traveler community, and negative energy will not be tolerated.
A fun story from one of my own Couchsurfing experience, I was in Paris for a week, but I had not booked a place to stay. I thought upon arrival that I’d be able to just walk into a hostel and grab a bunk, but as chance would have it everywhere was booked up solid. Even most of the cheap hotels had no room to spare, so I turned to this new app I had downloaded called “Couchsurfing”. I opened it up created an account, and posted a notice that I was a traveler who had just come from the UK and was in need of a place to stay for just a night or two until a room in a hostel opened up. I waited a little while, walking around the streets of Paris as the sun started to go down. Finally, a notification popped up on my phone that someone had responded to my “plea for help”. It was three Brazilians who were living in a small apartment in Paris at the time; they said we should meet at a nearby market and then we’d head back to their place.
After a short walk, I ended up finding them in the streets of the outdoor market, were we proceeded to buy supplies for dinner that night. We went back to their apartment, cooked a delicious and fresh mushroom risotto (together) and then spent the night laughing and telling stories from all our travels. I actually ended up staying with them the whole time I was in Paris, and we’re still good friends to this day! So see, you never know what can come from a Couchsurfing experience!
5. Take local transportation
It can be a daring thought, going to a new country and jumping on their local transportation without really knowing how to use it, but it’s honestly one of the best ways to get to know a new city. Think about it: if you know how to get from the City Centre of Barcelona to La Sagrada Familia, you’ll feel much more comfortable in the city itself than if you have to ask every person for directions. Also, if you’re with a tour group or tour company who cover all your travel for you, you’re much less likely to go out on your own and experience parts of the city the tour doesn’t show you.
At the end of the day, the local transportation is what all the LOCALS are using! It’ll get you where you need to go, while helping you to look (at least a little bit) lees like a tourist in the process. And isn’t that really what we all want? To look comfortable enough in a city we’ve never actually been to?
6. Make friends with the locals
There’s no secret that no matter where you go in the world, the best people to ask for recommendations are the locals. They’re the ones who will be able to tell you about cool restaurants and bars to visit, or interesting sights to see. And once you know where the locals go, you can avoid all the tourist traps that are out there! Living like a local in any country is much preferred to living like a tourist.
Plus, locals will tell you all about the hidden destinations to visit; when I was in Toronto this past December, it was two local bartenders who gave me all the recommendations on where to eat, what to see, and most importantly where to get cheap drinks! That advice alone probably ended up saving me quite a pretty penny on the trip as a whole, and it was something that wasn’t even planned from the start! Getting to know the locals in any city will open up doors to see what the city or country is really like, and if you can do that all while saving money, well then that’s just a win-win.
Hopefully you can take at least a few of these tips and put them to good use. It doesn’t take much effort to save a few extra dollars throughout your travel adventure, and at the end of the trip you’ll be glad you did! And while some of these tips may not work in every city you visit, at least you know now how to (try) to save some money on your next big journey!
Carpe Diem Amigos and Bon Voyage!
Where to find Jake:
Spotted Places: @jake.allegro