Thrifty Travel Tips

The meaning of budget is different for everyone. Some people may think $50 a night for a hotel is a bargain while others won’t spend a dime over $10. You can learn a lot about a country without spending a ton of money.

When I was in Nepal I walked for 6 hours through rural villages just to get to the next town. During that walk I saw a side of Nepal I would have never seen if I took the bus. Nepal is really cheap so in reality I only saved a couple bucks but sometimes traveling on a tight budget allows you the opportunity to get closer to the country.

Accommodation

Hostels are one of the most popular, budget-oriented accommodation options for backpackers. They normally offer a sociable environment equipped with facilities such as kitchens to cook your own food, laundry machines, security, wifi & more. Some hostels also organize fun activities such as walking tours or pub crawls which is a great way to meet other travellers. Each hostel is unique and can provide a fun atmosphere. Hostelworld.com is my go-to place for booking a hostel. Make sure you read the reviews!!!

If hostels aren’t your thing than Airbnb is another good option. And if you are really adventurous and do not mind sleeping on a strangers couch than couchsurfing.com may be the option for you!

Sightseeing

When I visit a city I always research free activities or attractions. Go for a hike, have a picnic in the park, explore the free museums.

A fairly new discovery to me are free walking tours. The tours are “free” meaning they don’t cost anything upfront but the guides do work for tips (and they will be sure to remind you). For travellers on a budget these tours offer an affordable way to get to know a place and meet other people. I like to take a free walking tour on my first day in a new city as a sort of orientation.

When I was in Cape Town I went a bit free-walking-tour-crazy and participated in all the various walking tours that they offer including the historical walking tour, district six. etc. I met and developed friendships with other travellers that were also solo and they became my travel buddies throughout Cape Town. You never know where you will meet new friends!

Flights

Flights can be the most expensive part of a trip. Hot tip: use points. 6 years ago I purchased an aeroplane visa card and I make all my purchases with that card. Every dollar I spend I earn a point. I received 15,000 points just for signing up which can get you any round trip short haul flight in North America (from Canada). Since then, my points have taken me to Africa, Asia, and Europe. I must say there is nothing more satisfying than booking a flight with points!

If you’re just starting to collect points and don’t have enough just yet to get you to your destination not all hope is lost, there are plenty of cheap flights out there. I like to start with either kiwi.com or skyscanner.com. These sites compare hundreds of airlines worldwide and help to find the cheapest and fastest flight.

When booking a flight it is important to consider the extra costs. Some airlines may offer a discounted flight but then charge for checked baggage, check-in fees, meals, seat reservations etc. With planning and light packing these costs are avoidable.

Be Aware Of Scams

As much as I do not like to over plan my trip I find that a little bit of research can help save money and avoid scams. I always email my hostel before I arrive to ask how much I should expect to pay for a taxi that way I know if the price I am being quoted is fair. When I got to the bus station in Fez, Morocco one taxi driver tried to charge me 40 dirhams to get into town. Luckily, I emailed my hostel ahead of time and they told me I should not pay anything over 15 dirhams. No thank you, taxi driver!

Scams like this are very common in many cities and the only way to avoid them is to be aware.

These are a few of my thrifty travel tips to help save you money on your next adventure. What are your money saving secrets?

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