Traveling out of the country can be an especially pricey experience, and often times can severely damage the infrequent traveler’s pocketbook. Since people who travel infrequently are more likely to be restricted by money, it is even more important to employ some of these international travel tricks.
Many Americans, especially Americans who do not travel often, immediately look for hotels as their primary (or only) source of lodging. By doing this, a huge market of discount options is being eliminated. Hostelworld.com is the best research for lodging all around the world, and many of the options listed below can be found there.
- Hostels: With group dorms and private ensuite rooms, it’s possible to have a hotel-like experience for a fraction of the cost. It isn’t necessary to bunk with strangers, but the group dormitories provide a wonderful opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. Each hostel is different, and it’s important to research ahead of time.
- Apartments: Some people are willing to rent all or part of their apartment to travelers for a rate that is much cheaper than hotels. These apartments usually come with full kitchens and a good amount of privacy.
- Bed & Breakfasts: Pricier than hostels and many apartments, but often times still cheaper than hotels, bed & breakfasts provide a truly unique experience. It gives travelers an opportunity to meet with locals and discover how they live.
- Camping: If the weather is nice enough, camping out can severely reduce lodging costs. Europe especially is huge on camping, and it’s easy to find campgrounds just outside of many cities.
- Couchsurfing: If the pocketbook is nearing empty, couchsurfing is a great alternative to paid lodging. Just be careful to review any potential hosts and check for positive feedback.
Watch what you eat
For many people, vacation is an excuse to binge eat: especially if the trip is to a new place with exotic cuisine. Unfortunately, all of those restaurant bills can add up quickly. Instead of dining in five-star restaurants every night, consider the following:
- Cook at home: There is no way to become better acquainted with the local cuisine than by actually cooking it. Most hostels have a group kitchen, and many apartments include full kitchens. Take advantage of this and purchase food from a local market. It’s much cheaper than restaurant food and truly authentic!
- Buy from street vendors: Many countries have vendors along the streets, especially in big cities. In England, for example, there are fish n’ chip stands all around city centre. In Paris it is difficult to go a block without finding someone selling crepes of some sort. These mobile corner stores often offer fantastic local food at a fraction of what it would cost at a restaurant.
- Drink less: Certain things, such as visiting a winery in Tuscany, may demand a bit of indulgence, but everything in moderation. By keeping the number of alcoholic drinks at a minimum, it’s easy to save quite a bit of money in the long run.
Now, despite these frugal tips, it is important to enjoy the local food. Plan one or two nights to visit a local, perhaps pricier, restaurant. By saving money throughout the trip it will be easier to afford this splurge.
Just because the plane touches down, that doesn’t mean the traveling is over with. Many Americans have become incredibly car dependent, and automatically look to rental companies to get around Europe and other countries. Before doing so, check into alternative transportation methods. Busses, rail stations, and ferries are all prominent and can add up to a good deal of savings. Check out eurorails
Budget travel resources:
There are a ton of ways for the frequent and the infrequent traveler to save money. As mentioned earlier, some travel gurus have literally made cheap/free travel their lives. The resources provided here link to some of these travelers.
Travel Guru Websites:
The Points Guy
Hack My Trip
View from the Wing