Opportunities are almost endless, when it comes to travel hacks to save money. Sometimes I truly admire experienced travelers who keep discovering new ways to save money when everyone else is paying. In this post, among other tips, you will find out how to make use of free WiFi, how to travel solo like a pro, make the most out of your credit card, some great transportation hacks, finance wisdom and how to stay healthy while you travel.
We have collected 42 amazing travel hacks to save money for the next time you travel.
Travel hacks: Staying connected
#1 A great source of free Wi-Fi hotspots is Foursquare.
#2 McDonalds and Starbucks offer free WiFi almost anywhere in the world. Map them on your offline map for easy access.
#3 You can try to connect to free Wifi near rewards lounges at airports.
Solo travel hacks
#4 Traveling alone is by far the best way to meet locals and other travelers. So if you can and have the courage – travel solo. Push your boundaries and get to know yourself.
#5 Don’t use your camera all the time. Sure, there are places that should be photographed, but don’t drag your camera around everywhere you go. It will get unnecessary attention, plus you are kind of isolating yourself. The same goes for your smartphone. Use your eyes instead, you might spot some very unique and unusual things if you care to look.
#6 Get ready for hearing the same questions over and over again. Locals may get curious, so you might hear “Where you from, where you going, where you been” many times per day.
#7 Bring small gifts for people you meet during your travels. Anything – from a magnet to chocolate bar will do. I usually give those to hotel staff and it always makes them happy and willing to help out with my questions.
#8 Research for free activities in the city you are visiting. Quite often you will find free walking tours, free museum passes, free concerts etc. Consider investing in city pass to get free transportation and admission tickets.
Using credit cards
#9 Be careful with withdrawing cash from ATMs, because in some countries ATMs won’t handle PINs that start with 0 or don’t have four digits.
#10 Let your bank know where you are going in order to avoid card lockout.
#11 Get a backup wallet with 50$, spare credit card and photocopy of your ID. You never know when you are going to need it!
Transportation travel hacks
#12 Priceline.com has bidding system for rental cars. Try bidding for “Compact” instead of “Economy” – you will have less competition and therefore your bid might get accepted more easily.
#13 Take overnight trains and buses in Europe. It’s a really great way to save on accommodation! Use these tips for booking hotels
#14 Car sharing is a great way to meet new people and travel cheaply between cities.
#15 While you are still at the airport, observe the flight crews. Follow them, because they know which places are best to eat at, cheapest way to get to town etc.
#16 Walking is by far the cheapest and best way to explore new city, get to know the culture, people watch and above all stay in shape!
Financing your trip
#17 Good idea is to sell your gadgets before a long trip. It will pay for your flights or hotels. There’d be newer versions of them when you come back.
#18 If you need to cancel you booking at a hotel, call and ask to shift it few weeks further. This might help you escape no refunds policy.
#19 Some travelers reveal that using Internet explorer on a PC will get you better hotel rate than using Mac or iPad. Apparently, Apple users have higher incomes and can afford to pay more.
#20 Limit your daily spending. Don’t spend more than x amount and if you do, spend less the next day. Divide your available cash into small daily amounts if this way is easier.
Health and Safety travel hacks
#21 Waist straps on your backpack will save you from back pain. Learn to use them if you are planning to walk a lot.
#22 Leave scans of your passports and credit cards with family before you leave. You never know when you are going to need them! Also, store them in the cloud (Dropbox or similar) for easy access or email them to yourself.
#23 Using small shopping bags when eating finger food – great alternative to washing hands while on the road!
#24 Recommend getting vaccinations before you quit your job. If you are lucky, some of them may be covered by your health insurance. You can check out ERISA claims attorneys from here
#25 Hand watch may be a good item to pack with you. Sometimes, you just don’t want to risk showing your expensive phone in public. Other times it’s just a matter of comfort.
Food and Local cuisine
#26 Don’t be afraid to buy food from supermarkets. Some supermarkets have hot food available in small quantities. It’s healthy choice and gives you a chance to sample local flavors without spending all your cash on restaurants!
#27 Eat some yogurt – the probiotics will help your body fight stomach bugs that you might catch from accidentally drinking the water.
#28 If you need to eat out, go for lunch rather than dinner. Many restaurants have lunch deals for good price.
Planning travel hacks
#29 Don’t plan too much of your trip ahead – the best opportunities may happen because you are flexible.
#30 Plan around weather, not cool events
#31 Use flight booking engines like Skyscanner, compare fares with airline websites. Many airlines offer alerts in case the fare goes down. For hotel booking, see this post – Best hotel booking websites
#32 When choosing a hotel, try to find a room with small fridge. This way you can buy your own breakfast and evening snack from local supermarket. In order to truly save, make a habit of eating out just once per day.
#33 Never book local tours online. Instead, if you are still up for it, book the same tour locally for half the price.
#34 Helpful tip – avoid carrying heavy bottles with shampoo or shower gel by using straws to carry travel-size portions of products like shampoo, conditioner, SPF, and others.
#35 Protect charger cables from breaking by using springs.
#36 Staying hydrated during a flight is very important. Pack an empty bottle to pass airport security and refill it once inside.
#37 Bring a small water kettle with you along with a small pack of coffee and few tea bags. This way you will always have an opportunity to have hot drink in your room. (doesn’t apply if you are staying in hostels with shared kitchen).
#38 Disposable underwear may be a good way to save some luggage space.
#39 Having a scarf will save you from the cold, the sun and pollution. Some churches may require you to cover your head and shoulders.
#40 Write “fragile” on you luggage. Airport personnel will handle it with more care.
#41 General rule – less is more. To test out how much stuff you should pack, take a bag with whatever you think you’ll need on a trip and spend 1 day moving around your hometown using public transport. Do this on a hot summer day. You’ll get the point.
#42 Avoid entering the first bathroom once you are off the plane. It will probably be very crowded. If you are expected to queue for passport control, use the bathroom on the plane. It could save you at least 30 minutes of waiting.
What is your favorite travel tips?
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Great collection of tips, shared & saved.
I would also add another travel hack – try using wander.am when you’re flexible in your destination – as it allows you to search by budget