Traveling doesn’t always have to cost a fortune, if you do just a bit of homework. The effort you put in to planning your next holiday can be rewarding when you realize how much you can save. We are not saying to pitch a tent and live on bread during your long awaited holiday, but there are many ways to save on a trip without being a scrooge.
Use Public Transportation… smartly
We all know public transportation would be the cheaper alternative to cabs and guided tours, but take this a notch up and look for deals specially catered for tourists. Most cities offer a tourist-pass that gives unlimited access on their public transport network for a given time frame (usually 24 hours, 72 hours or a week). These passes may seem more expensive than buying a single-ride at first but check again what’s offered. Some of these tourist passes may include free or discounted tickets to museums, attractions and local guided tours. Most passes will also include a printed map and guide that comes in handy when you don’t have an internet connection.
Skip the Fancy Hotels
Unless it’s a business trip of course. Most people don’t realize that hostels are not just cramp stuffy dorms full of young travelers. Hostels offer private rooms too and some with an attached bathroom, which means it’s a near-hotel experience but at a hostel price. And the plus side of staying in a hostel is the chance to meet travelers in the common areas and sharing local tips. With everyone being budget travelers, the services hostels offer would meet the same expectation. You can expect cheaper guided tours or discounted tickets on sale when you enquire with hostels staff. The recent popularity of short-term rentals is also another good way of saving money on accommodation. These apartments or hostels also often have a kitchen where you could whip up a quick meal to save money.
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Book Overnight Trains or Buses
If you have to travel across cities, do it in your sleep. Overnight trains and buses may cost slightly more but that translates to lodging cost saved and more time to play in the day! Just be sure to get a reclining seat or bed so you’d have a good sleep and ready to explore when you arrive the next morning. If you’re traveling across Europe, it pays to plan and book your train tickets ahead of time. An overnight train from Edinburgh to London costs 54£ if you buy 3 months ahead, compared to 133£ if you buy on the same day of travel.
Eat where the locals are
When you can see the food cooked right in front of you, you get a better assessment of the place’s hygiene and quality. It’s no secret that street food is always a good place to start tasting authentic local flavor without breaking the bank. Eat at where the locals are and you won’t go wrong. There are chances you may be charged more than a local, but you know that’s still cheaper than going to a fancy restaurant meant for tourists. Just look out for the uncooked stuff like vegetables and fruits, the locals may have no problems stomaching it but not yours.
Seek out the free stuff
Free guided walking tours are available in most part of Europe. While the tours are not technically free, they are a good start to learn about the city and a cheaper alternative. These guides work on a tips-only basis with no other compensations from the company or the city. Such a structure means the guides have to sell their wares hard so you’d be guaranteed a lively and entertaining tour and tip generously at the end of it. Always check if the tourism board is offering special deals. Some countries go all the way out to attract visitors. Taiwan Tourism Board offers a Youth Travel Card where you can enjoy discounts at over 900 establishments in Taiwan.