Top 10 Cheap Travel Tips

Someone rudely suggested that I should give up travelling simply because I am broke.

What nonsense!

I will NEVER give up travelling. I live and breath and crave travel.

Travel can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to keep costs down:

  1. List your home on Air Bnb while you are out of town – it’s a great way to offset the expense of paying for accommodation while you’re away.
  2. Camp in National Parks – the sites are well-maintained and there are usually bins, BBQs and toilets. Just make sure you book ahead because the best places get snapped up quickly.

    Your mission, if you choose to accept it
  3. Carry a refillable water bottle – most airports have water fountains and you can drink tap water in a lot of countries.
  4. Take food with you – you can take dry food like muesli bars, rice crackers, tins of tuna, baked beans and packaged nuts to most places. This is handy if you find yourself stuck in a place where all the food options are crappy or expensive.
  5. Book your flights really early. The general rule is that flights get more expensive the closer you get to the travel date because of the way fares are structured in the booking/ticketing system.
  6. Check out car sharing sites like Catchalift. You can cadge a ride or offer seats in your car in exchange for petrol money.
  7. Houseswap if you own your own home (a friend of mine stayed in France for a month and paid for one night’s accommodation).
  8. Never pay rack rate for a hotel room. Sites like really do have the cheapest available price. This is because they sell ‘distressed inventory’ (rooms that are still empty within days of the booking date). Hotel operators strive to sell every room, every night and, because of trade agreements, the cheapest rates are given to hotel booking sites or advertised on the hotel’s own website.
  9. Withdraw the maximum amount of money when you use foreign ATMs. You get charged a motzer when you use them and you’re going to need the cash anyway so don’t mess around withdrawing small amounts. Go large.
  10. Make sure your smartphone is on ‘airplane mode’ with ‘cellular data’ turned off. I learnt this the hard way when I got an enormous phone bill when I got home from overseas (with three noughts on the end – eeps!)

Do you have any cheapskate tips for travellers? How do you indulge your travel obsession when you are in a financial abyss?



6 comments on “Top 10 Cheap Travel Tips

  1. You tell ’em, Em! I think you covered all of my travel cheap tips – the water one is really important as you’re often slogging around and get really thirsty, and buying drinks really adds up.

    I’ve warned my mum, who’s off to New York, about the cellular data thanks to you.

    I am in a financial abyss and I’m indulging my travel obsession this year by bushwalking and exploring NSW.

  2. My tip would be to figure out the local transport system at your destination. Using trains, buses or walking over taxis or even city tours will often save you money and get you to places you want to go relatively easy. Most tourism offices will usually have maps to help you navigate around.

    By other bit of advice would be that if you must travel but can’t afford a big expensive trip try doing something short and sweet somewhere relatively close to home to satisfy the travel bug temporarily. I’ve been planning a big European trip for years but always struggled to get the cash together. Knowing I still needed a holiday I had a quick trip to New Zealand that eased the pangs without breaking the budget. There are always deals to places like Hawaii, Thailand, Bali, Fiji etc that will get you out of the country for a few days but won’t leave you destitute afterwards.

  3. Hey Gen,

    Go to Settings -> General -> Network. Cellular Data is the first in the list. Slide it to OFF.

    When you get to your destination, either turn off your phone or keep it in airplane mode. Only turn it on when you want to receive/send texts or make calls. You should be able to use free hotel wifi without turning everything back on.

    The guy at Telstra told me that heaps of people get stung with this – beware, my love!

  4. Great Em. It’s great to see how others save the pennies.

    I’m a big fan of saving on accomodation. Currently renting out my room to a mate whilst away for 2 months but otherwise would use Air B’n’B.

    Hostelworld is great for hostels and homestays – and searching nearby to the actual city. Some great cheap hotels there too.

    Otherwise think of the friends you have and friends of friends in other citieies domestically and internationally. I travelled for 3 months once and paid 1 nights accomodation the entire time, just from visiting with friends and family and friends of friends.

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