Want to know how to travel cheap on a budget and save money on travel? This post will show you 7 easy ways to save money on travel so you can travel longer for less!
Traveling isn’t cheap and unless you make money online like through a blog or teaching English online, then while you’re traveling, funds are only leaving your account and nothing is going into your account.
I know this can be a really scary feeling – I traveled for over a year using ONLY my savings. I didn’t work at all during that time so I used a lot of money-saving travel tips and tons travel hacks to help me save money on travel.
I’ve collaborated with some amazing budget travelers to share their knowledge on more ways that you can save money on travel so you can keep more of your money and travel cheaper for longer!
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1. Use Cashback Apps like Ebates
One of the easiest ways to save money on travel is by using cashback sites like Ebates to make your travel purchases. Ebates gives you a percentage of your purchase back, usually between 1-8%, when you make your travel purchases through their site.
This cashback can really add up quickly if you book flights, hotels, car rentals, and even excursions or activities.
I used this tip on my vacation to Portugal last Summer when booking hotels and airfare, and was thrilled when I got a cheque in the mail for my free cashback!
Typically you have to wait until your trip has concluded to get your cashback. This is to stop people from booking and canceling trips just to get the rebate.
Ebates has a web plugin, which will automatically give you cashback when you make purchases on any of their partner websites without even having to think about it.
It’s so easy to get cashback on travel purchases, and it still gives you the freedom to travel when and how you want. ♥ Adrienne | BucketHalfFull.com
do a Workaway (free accommodation!)
For most travelers, deciding to travel long term means giving up a sense of financial security.
It can be terrifying! But it doesn’t have to be and there are many things you can do to save money while traveling.
One way to save money is to participate in a program called Workaway. Workaway is an online platform that pairs travelers with small business owners who are looking for help.
In exchange for working 4-7 hours a day, the volunteer gets a free place to stay. The jobs can range from working as an English teacher or painting a mural at a hostel to working as a bartender or babysitting for a family.
Each host has its own guidelines and expectations for and of the volunteers. Hosts usually want volunteers to stay for at least 1 week but the time limit varies.
The workaway platform costs $45 USD/ year or you can sign up as a couple for $54 USD / year. If you have your own small business, you can also sign up as a Host and have volunteers come help with your business needs in exchange for a free place to stay. For more info, check out Workaway.com. ♥ Hannah | Bolddestinations.com
Use Aggregate sites for the best prices
It’s definitely necessary to save money while traveling and even more so when it’s long term travel. But how can you actually save money while on vacation?
Whether it’s couple travel, family travel, or solo travel there are many ways you can reduce your costs while traveling and using aggregate sites are one of the best ways to save money on travel.
Aggregate sites are awesome for saving money on travel because they search hundreds of sites on the internet and find the best deals for you so you don’t have to! They do all the work for you.
You should never underestimate the full power of these comparison sites. Throughout our travels over the last 3 years, we always use aggregate sites for cheap flights, transport and accommodation and have probably saved thousands of dollars on travel.
Our favorite tools for flights are Momondo and Skyscanner. They search a range of airlines for the best prices on the internet and can suggest whether it’s cheaper to fly a day before or after to save money (in some cases, over $100!)
This guide will show you how to use aggregate sites to get the cheapest flights to anywhere! I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in airfare by using these tips.
When it comes to saving money on accommodation, websites like booking.com have helped us find the best prices on hotels and hostels, and when they price match, you know you’re getting the best deal on the web.
Lastly, when it comes to booking transportation, we love using Rome 2 Rio for finding the cheapest way to get from one place to the next. Additionally, 12go Asia is great for booking cheap flights, trains, ferries and buses all online throughout all of Asia.
We’ve saved a lot of money over the years. Years ago, it used to be that if you booked everything in person, things were cheaper, but the situation has now flipped, you get a better deal online around 98% of the time.
♥ Cazzy Magennis | Dreambigtravelfarblog.com
Make your own food
Dining out can really start to add up and be one of the biggest money pits while traveling! If you’re budget traveling then it’s not really necessary to eat at fancy restaurants to enjoy authentic, local, cuisine. Often times, the food at these high-end restaurants is similar from one big city to the next and you can get better street food for way less!
My favorite way to save money on travel while also experiencing the local cuisine is to buy food at grocery stores and markets and making my own food. (This is most effective if your accommodation has a mini-fridge so your groceries don’t go bad.)
I also recommend packing a box of plastic utensils and you can even keep some of those little salt and pepper packets you can get at restaurants to use as seasoning.
Being able to cook your own food will save you a lot of money while traveling. This is also why sometimes it can work out to be cheaper to get an Airbnb which has all of these amenities included!
To save even more you can go to a grocery store that’s outside of the city center or find the fresh market.
While shopping, ask for recommendations for local favorites or typical food for the region you’re in. Get different types of deli meats and cheeses and stock up on fruits and veggies that are easy to prepare.
Fruits are the easiest because they only require clean water to wash. Stick to vegetables that can be eaten fresh and only need to be sliced. Cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers work particularly well. Also, make sure to grab spreadable and nutritious items like hummus.
The easiest thing to prepare is sandwiches but they don’t have to be boring! Use your deli meats and cheeses. Pick up fresh-baked bread from the nearest bakery. You can also eat your fresh bread and pastries with hummus, cream cheese, etc.
Using this method, you can save hundreds of dollars on your trip!
♥ Valentina | Valentinasdestinations.com
Travel using a Campervan
I am an unashamedly tight-fisted traveler – because the way I see it, the cheaper I can make my trips, the more places I can get to! You can save a lot of money while traveling by cutting down your accommodation costs.
It seems crazy to pay for an expensive bed for the night when I can cut my accommodation costs by using a campervan!
One of the best ways to save money on accommodation while traveling is to rent a campervan or an estate car with enough space to sleep in.
I’ve done this many times and have saved thousands of dollars in accommodation! Not only do you save money on accommodation, but you’ll save money on transportation since it’s your ride!
Be sure to bring a good sleeping bag with you, some cooking supplies, and shades to cover your windows. Sometimes you can even rent campervans that include all of these things as well, so it’s a good idea to find out what’s included so you don’t overpack.
Finding a place to park for the night is usually very easy but you should definitely do some research on the place you’re going to be.
When I used a campervan while traveling in Iceland, it was really easy because you have the right to sleep on common land there.
Additionally, there are designated free wild camping spots which you can find on Google. Anywhere along the ring road, you will find service stations with water, showers, toilets and a microwave that you can use, plus a shop for food.
I recently did an English road trip to Cornwall this way and found it to be just as easy. In England, there are a lot of pubs and car parks where you can park overnight (you just have to buy a drink in the bar).
In Scotland, it’s even better because you have the right to roam freely. Just do a little research before your next trip and try it out! It’s really one of the best ways to save money while traveling so you can travel longer for less. ♥ Danielle | Livein10countries.com
Try Couch Surfing
Couchsurfing has been one of the most rewarding and effective methods I’ve used for saving money during my travels.
Couchsurfing is a community of travelers where the “host” offers a spare bed or couch to the “surfers” (travelers) who are visiting their country. No money is involved and it’s simply done in the spirit of travelers helping each other.
The amount of money I’ve saved on accommodation would easily be in the thousands. However, it’s important not to think of Couchsurfing as simply free accommodation, but more of a cultural exchange.
Hosts provide a place to sleep, but as a surfer, you are also expected to provide something – cooking a meal for your host is a popular gesture, you can bring a gift from home, you can offer to be their language partner – there are lots of ways to give back!
I’ve couchsurfed in over ten countries and have also hosted people from all over the world at my home in New Zealand.
It can sound daunting, but in my experience, it’s always been an overwhelmingly positive experience. If you have questions, they should all be answered in my free Couchsurfing 101 guide 🙂 ♥ Bren | Brenontheroad.com
rewards with Credit/Debit Cards
Looking for great ways to save money while traveling? One of the best ways to save money on travel is by taking advantage of travel rewards credit cards.
Choosing the right type card is crucial because it can work out to be the cheapest way to spend money abroad. If you are skeptical about getting yourself a credit card, I know I was at the beginning, you can always contact your bank and ask them to suggest the best option for you.
For example, credit cards with 0% interest on foreign purchases can offer you a solution where there are no fees incurred for spending money abroad.
Sometimes, you can even accumulate points to get free flights and hotels. With that alone, you can quickly see how you can save your precious hard earned cash.
Also, using a credit card is safer than carrying lots of cash on you. If you’re worried about losing your cards, I recommend using a document organizer to prevent losing them.
However, if the worse does happen, you can always freeze your card by contacting the card company.
If you want to learn how to travel hack using credit card points, The Points Guy is the expert on this and has lots of resources on his site.
Another reason why using credit cards can help you save money on travel is that you don’t have to pay any commissions to exchange cash. Currency exchange places always take a commission, and buying currency can end up costing you more than using your credit card.
All of these reasons are why I always use a travel credit card and find it’s one of the best travel hacks for saving money while traveling. ♥ Daniel | LayerCulture.com
Traveling doesn’t have to be as expensive as most people think. If you implement just a few of these tips on your next trip, you’ll save a lot of money on travel!
Why spend more when you don’t have to?!
What would you add to this list of ways to save money on travel? Let me know in the comments below!
FTC Disclosure: In order for me to maintain this website, I may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. I only recommend products/services that I personally use and/or believe will add value to readers :) Love ya! Read my full disclosure.