Here are 20 of the best travel hacks I’ve gathered after 15 years of traveling the world. Use these to save money on your next trip!
Best Travel Hacks to Save Money
1. Book In The Afternoon
Though it’s well known that flight prices are likely to fluctuate during the week, not many people know that they also change during the day. To save some money, book in the afternoon as prices tend to be higher in the morning when business travelers book most of their flights.
2. Check Prices On The Less Popular Booking Sites
Online Travel Booking Agencies allow you to search for the best price across a number of different airlines at once. Oftentimes, the less popular sites offer bigger discounts compared to the major OTAs. These are a few of our favorite sites to check prices: Going, Vayama, and CheapOAir.
Tip: Be sure to read the change/cancellation fees carefully before you book.
3. Set Up Flight Alerts
This is one of my best travel hacks to save money! If there’s a particular place you want to go, sign up for flight alerts with AirfaireWatchDog. You’ll get emails whenever there’s a drop in price from the departure location you set.
Also, sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights offer deal alerts to your email for a small fee — these are often the mistake fares that you only have a small window to purchase but they save you hundreds of dollars. I’ve found some great deals with his service!
Read more: How To Find Cheap Flights To Anywhere
4. Choose Affordable Accommodation
Other than flights, hotels end up being the next most expensive thing when planning a trip, but if you’re willing to sacrifice homogenous roadside enterprises for something a little more economical, you can spend more on activities.
Hostels, both backpacker, and luxury are excellent alternatives that often provide the same quality of service as hotels. We use booking.com to find the best prices on hostels and hotels.
5. Earn Money While Traveling
In today’s market, there are a hundred different ways to make money while you’re on the road. Teaching English to children or adults or freelancing on platforms like Upwork are just a few of the options.
6. Become A House-Sitter
House-sitting is not something many people consider when traveling, but it’s a great way to not only get FREE accommodation, but you’ll also get a better idea of what it’s like to actually live in the destination you’re visiting.
Trusted Housesitters is the best website to connect with homeowners looking for people to house-sit and care for their pets while they are away. They have the largest selection of houses all over the world. I recommend becoming a member to get the best selection of house-sit gigs and have the opportunity to apply for the most popular locations as soon as they are listed!
7. Roaming Charges
After my first international trip, years ago, I came home to a huge cell phone bill. Luckily, nowadays, you can either switch out your SIM card for a local one to avoid international fees or purchase an international package with your current carrier.
If you’re based in the United States and you travel often, T-Mobile includes free international data on their basic plans, which has literally changed my life. I no longer have to worry about going without service or scrambling to find WiFi. I’m actually surprised at how many frequent travelers don’t know about this feature with T-Mobile.
Read more: How to Keep in Touch While Traveling Abroad
8. Shop Like A Local
When it comes to everyday items like fruit and coffee, find your local market and head there instead of the nearest supermarket chain. Especially in places like Asia and South America, you’re guaranteed to find everything you need at a reduced cost.
9. Make Use Of Your Carry-On Luggage
Virtually every airline offers you one free bag of hand-luggage, so if you’re in doubt about the weight of your larger cases, cram as much of it into your hand luggage as possible (within the dimensions restrictions) to avoid paying extra fees at the airport. Even better, travel with a carry-on only!
10. Don’t Change Currency At The Airport
You’re bound to be busy in the weeks leading up to your departure date but make sure you leave yourself time to exchange currency at your bank. They’re notorious for giving the worst exchange rates and for a little extra effort you can save yourself a significant amount.
11. Don’t Pay For WiFi, Find It For Free
Lots of Open WiFi zones will ask you to purchase a set amount of data but when you’re traveling, it’s incredibly easy to find free WiFi if you’re surrounded by bars and restaurants. Where there are lots of people, there’s WiFi!
12. Use An 8-Week Rule For Flights
Studies have also shown that 8 weeks in advance is the perfect time to book your flights. Any later and prices will start increasing and any earlier and your plans could change due to unforeseen circumstances and you may have a worthless ticket.
13. Learn The Art Of Haggling
This applies to accommodation and, in many countries, items you’ll come across in markets and shops. You’d be surprised at how many hotels are willing to negotiate rates to keep their occupancy rate up — and street vendors will always be willing to arrive at a reasonable agreement with you!
14. Get Multi-Day Passes
One of the biggest money savers if you’re going to be in the same city or country for longer than a few days is to get an all-inclusive, multi-day pass. Use it as many times as you want to get around town and save money!
15. Use Public Transport, Not Taxis
Allow yourself the luxury of taxis or Uber to and from the airport when you’re weighed down with luggage, but otherwise, use public transport.
16. Make The Most Of Lunchtime Menus
If you’re willing to eat-in at dinner time, you can save a huge amount by uncovering some great value lunch menus around town instead of dining out in the evening. Many reputable restaurants serve world-class food during the day for a fraction of their dinner prices.
17. Rent An Apartment
With sites like AirBnb making it easier than ever to enjoy city breaks in comfort and style, you’ll find that renting an apartment can work out a lot cheaper than an extended stay in a hotel, plus you get the luxury of your own space and absolute privacy.
Read more: How to Travel Expensive Countries Affordably
18. Cook At Home
While most hotels won’t offer cooking facilities, the majority of hostels and rented apartments do — and something as simple as preparing your own meals (with delicious local food!) will make your trip a lot cheaper.
19. Find Free Things To Do
From free-walking tours to complimentary tastings at farmers markets — there’s an unbelievable amount of free activities on offer in metropolitan hubs as it’s a good way to attract people to visit the city. Simply Google “free activities + your location” and have some fun for free!
20. Use Downloadable And Digital Guides
For the latest information on great deals, free things to do and generally budget-friendly places to eat and sights to see, download a city guide to your destination of choice so you can refer to it while you’re on the road.
FAQs: Cheap Travel Hacks
The best way to travel without going broke is to take advantage of work exchange programs that allow free room and board or to work remote while you travel.
Flights, accommodation and meals are where you will spend the most money on your vacation. Using flight and hotel comparison tools, being flexible on dates, traveling in the off-season, and having simple breakfasts in your hotel room are all great ways to save money.
One of the best ways to get cheap flights is to set up flight alerts that will email you when there is a drop in price to your desired destination.