Today on GoAbroad, we bring you a three-part guest series from Darcie Connell, the Co-Founder of Trekity.com, a fun adventure site, and TravelBloggerAcademy.com, where you can learn how to blog about you travels. She is thrilled to share 101 tips of different and unique ways to save money on your next trip abroad.
Part one of this series covers tips for travel planning, flights, and accommodations. Stay tuned for parts two and three!
Traveling is expensive.
You have overpriced flights with hidden fees up the wazoo, money hungry hotels that have the nerve to charge for WIFI, and restaurants that double their dinner prices for the exact same meal they serve for lunch.
But guess what? Travel doesn’t have to be expensive.
Having been on the road since 2009, I’ve wandered through Europe, the U.S., South East Asia, India, Nepal, Central America, and now South America and learned some surprising tips on how to sock away cash while exploring the world.
Here’s my secret list of 101 ways to save money on your next trip…
1. Avoid traveling during holidays, events, or peak season.
2. Be flexible with travel dates as flights and hotels can be hundreds of dollars cheaper day to day.
3. Travel with an open itinerary. This allows you the flexibility to stay in one place longer if you like (or vice versa) or travel with people you meet on the road to get group discounts.
4. Travel at night to save a day a day’s accommodation.
5. Travel to less expensive destinations such as South East Asia or Central America.
6. Consider staying one town over rather than the major tourist town. Accommodations and meals can bet up to half off which is well worth a 10 minute bus ride into the major town.
7. Stay local. There could be people flying from around the world to see a tourist destination that’s right in your backyard. You’ll save money on airfare, gas, and get to know your own town better.
8. Travel slowly. In general, the longer you stay in one place, the cheaper your accommodations and the less you spend on transportation. From my personal experience the price for an apartment for 2-weeks is only slightly less than a month.
9. Travel in a group or at least with one other person. You can get killer discounts on accommodations, transportation, and activities as you’re buying in bulk.
10. Understand all the fees airline charge before booking such as baggage, taxes, and more. While one flight may seem cheaper online, the extra fees might make it more expensive in the long run.
11. Book airplane tickets three to six months in advance for the best rates.
12. Check rates at different times of the day. They can change drastically from morning to night.
14. Research both round-trip and one-way tickets. Sometimes roundtrip tickets are less expensive than one-way.
15. Evaluate the cost of a round the world (RTW) ticket versus buying in segments or giving yourself the freedom to change your plans.
16. Book domestic flights within the country you are traveling to get the local rate.
17. Research last minute travel deals.
18. Sign up for a frequent flier program and use your miles when you can. With some airlines, if you don’t use them by a certain date they simply disappear.
19. Fly coach and ask for an emergency exit while at the airport check-in for more leg room.
20. Use AirfareWatchdog.com to get custom discount flights emailed directly to you based on your departure or arrival destination.
21. Ask a friend in the airline business for travel vouchers. You have to fly standby, but the prices are incredibly cheap.
22. Consider booking a regularly overbooked flight. If they are overbooked and you volunteer to get bumped to the next flight you get a free flight voucher.
23. Think outside the box with your negotiations. You’ll have a lot more leverage if you research other accommodations in the area and stay longer. You can simply ask for discounts, if they price match or for free breakfasts. Be creative. For example, you can negotiate the price down if you don’t use the air conditioner or volunteer around the hotel.
24. Sign up for CouchSurfing.org, build up your profile and contacts and find free accommodations around the world.
25. Consider staying in a “home-stay” where you literally stay in a family’s home and get home cooked meals too!
26. Check out VBRO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owners) for short and long term stay vacation rentals. I’ve scored a sweet three-bedroom from them for the same price as staying in a guest house.
27. Skip LonelyPlanet or other guidebook’s recommendations. After the book has gone to publication, demand goes up along with the prices. You’re better off checking the guest house next door.
28. Check Craigslist.org for cheaper alternatives to hotels.
29. Skip accommodations all together for party destinations. My friends frequently do this for a quick trip to Las Vegas. They party all night and buy a pool lounger the next day to sleep and shower.
30. Camp. Not only is it inexpensive, but it’s free at many locations. I’ve literally knocked on strangers doors to ask if I can camp in their backyard and haven’t been turned down yet (knock on wood).
31. Sign up for email alerts or rewards points for your favorite hotels. You can also “Like” or “Follow” them on Facebook and Twitter to get special discounts.
32. Check out HomeExchange.com to literally swap your home for someone else’s for weeks at a time.
33. Ask friends and family if they have a timeshare or vacation rental that you can rent.
34. Evaluate what’s included with your accommodations like breakfast, parking, and internet because these extra charges can add up fast.
Darcie Connell is the co-founder of Trekity.com, a fun adventure site, and TravelBloggerAcademy.com, where you can learn how to blog about you travels. As an avid traveler, she’s currently exploring Peru and has plans to meander Argentina and Chile the remainder of the year. Follow her adventures on Twitter.