Like you probably all realised, Janna and I both are low budget travellers. As still so many people are surprised with how little money I travel I thought it’s about time to reveal what I’m doing (or not doing) on the road – and at home when I plan my journey. It’s easier than you might think!
Like I said in this article planning probably is the easiest way to save. You can compare fares, research for the cheapest option of things and so on. I know of many backpackers who do not book anything beforehands but choose the hostel they find on arrival and book whatever transportation is offered – I actually never heard that those people paid less than I did for accomodation, transportation, tours etc. I don’t know if it makes such a big differrence if you see the hostel in real life or if you just book it through the internet. At least it’s easier to compare via internet.
2. Compare fares
This is what I’m talking about what makes planning so worth it: you can compare fares!! In this article I listed the greatest websties (in my opinion) for comparing, so knowing these is always good for travelling cheaply. Best options are Skyscanner for flights, booking.com for accomodation and busliniensuche.de for transportation!
3. Choose low-cost airlines
Skyscanner always shows me the cheapest airlines and I can tell you not to be afraid of booking with Ryanair, AirAsia etc. It might not be as comfortable as Lufthansa or Quantas, but it’s definiteley cheaper!
4. Choose buses over trains
Buses always tend to be cheaper than trains (it’s not such a scenic ride though). If you want to learn more about buses then have a look here. But remember: they often take longer than a train, so sometimes train might be a better option: Again COMPARE! :)
5. Mix good offers
Last year I went to Paris for only 10€! Yes, right, TEN euros! At that time megabus offered great deals for journeys within Germany and flixbus offered a great Paris special. I simply mixed both offers by booking my jorney to Paris with flixbus (for 9€) and booking my trip within Germany (to get to the starting point of my journey to Paris) with megabus (for 1€). Going with one and the same bus operater from home would’ve cost me around 30 – 40€. Oh I’m so clever! :-D
6. Stay flexible with the airport
I’m living in the middle of Germany with no airport real close to me. While I was super annoyed by that fact in the beginning of my travels, I now see this as a great chance of not showing bias when picking the cheapest airport. Consider fares for different airports and fares for getting to those airports. It might be cheaper to fly from or to a different airport and finish your journey by bus or train.
Same goes here for me. Living in Northern Germany gives you a great disadvantage as the only airports nearby are in Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover. Bremen and Hannover are rather expensive airports (sometimes they have great offers, since RyanAir is flying from Bremen), but however it’s difficult to travel cheap into southern regions.
7. Book multi-city flights instead of one-way
Sometimes you’re not flying back from the same airport than you’ve started your trip. In this event, multi-city flights are great options as they’re much cheaper as two one-way flights!
8. Be modest with your accomodation
Whenever I’m travelling, I don’t care too much about accomodation – most of the times I’m exploring, so I don’t need fancy accomodation I hardly spend times in.
9. Try to find travelmates
Not only is it funnier to travel in a group but also cheaper to share costs for fuel, rental cars etc. I’m still trying to find great sites for finding travelmates, if you know a great one let me know!
10. Go in low season
You wouldn’t believe, but travelling in low season does not only have the advantage of lower rates for both transport and accomodations, but usually also less tourists! I can suggest to you, if you’re able to travel in low season, do it! It’s so much nicer, even if you have to go in winter! :)
11. Don’t eat out everyday
I would say this one’s self-explanatory. Going to restaurants is of course always more expensive than cooking by yourself. I get that sometimes you want to eat authentic local food, but keep it low. For example when you’re staying at a hostel buy cereals and some milk, this lasts longer for breakfast and you can even eat it in between when you get hungry. Noodles are mostly everywhere affordable. Also go to local discounters. Plenty of countries in the world do have Aldi, which is super duper cheap, but you’ll find out which one is the cheapest in your region and while buying groceries compare prices. The same as being home!
12. Go get some snacks for the day
Most of the times, I only eat breakfast, have some little snacks throughout the day and then eat dinner. Works perfectly for my tummy and my wallet.
A bag of cookies or even sometimes some fruits do wonders. I tend to eat unhealthy while travelling and from time to time an apple or banana is like a wonder! :D
13. Consider times
You might be happy that your flight was a true bargain but when you realise when you’re flight departs or arrives and find out that it’s in the middle of the night where literally no buses etc. bring you to the city you very soon find out that your flight was not the best offer when taxi fares or a night in a n expensive airport hotel top up the deal. In the end, a flight which might be a bit more expensive but goes at a better time might save you some bucks in the end!
14. Turn off your phone and use wifi only or get a local sim card
I still don’t understand how people can forget to turn off their mobile data when they’re travelling abroad! I’m on a pretty cheap deal for my phone, so it doesn’t offer much and I’m not willing to pay more just to have mobile data in other countries. So useless! Because what the heck are you travelling for? For typing on your phone? Ah, come on! Get your nose up, put the phone away and look at what is right in front of you. Mostly every hostel comes with Wi-Fi, so you can still satisfy your desire of having access to Facebook etc. I honestly can spare that for a decent time, because it’s really relaxing to not being available for some time!
15. Compare skip the line tickets from tour leaders with the official museum skip the line tickets
When I went to Paris with my boyfriend last year we both wanted to go to the Louvre but didn’t wat to queue for hours. We looked at several websites for skip the line tickets but found out that the cheapest skip the line tickets were offered at the official tourist information in Paris! I learned my lesson!
16. Be flexible with the dates
This one’s especially important when flying. Yes, being flexible while planning comes with plenty of adventages. Sadly, this isn’t always possible. However, when you’re planning something further ahead use the tools plenty of website are offering to you and compare the prices from different dates.
Janna and I tried couchsurfing, not only for saving money, but also because it’s a great way of travelling and meeting new people. Read here about our experiences.
Same as couchsurfing: Not only for free but also great for getting in contact with others.
19. Book night buses/trains in order to save a night accomodation
It might not always be the comfiest option but defo the cheapest. And you won’t loose a whole day of travelling. This comes in handy when you’re travelling a long distance! :)
20. When travelling with a low-cost airline: get your snacks with you on board
When travelling with a low-cost airline, meals are not included. So better get some snacks with you on board and refill your water bottle with tap water after security checks.
21. Refill your water bottle with tap water (not in every country obviously)
best way to explore a city, in my opinion!
23. Don’t buy overpriced maps, almost every tourist information/hostel/hotel has free ones
24. Do whatever you can by yourself and don’t book tours
Sometimes, it’s inevitable to book tours, but in some countries I would never go on a tour as it’s so easy to organise all by yourself (e.g. Australia, Thailand, …)
25. Travel with handluggage only
When flying with low-cost airlines you’ll always be charged for your luggage. Whenever I’m travelling in Europe I leave with handluggage only. 10kg is by far enough for a trip that’s no longer than three weeks! And don’t forget to check the sizes of your luggage. Plenty of low-cost airlines are very strict about them and it’s hella expensive when you have to pay for to big luggage at the airport!!!
26. The bigger the hostel dorm the cheaper
Don’t be afraid to book huge rooms. In Sydney I stayed in an 18-bed dorm and it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. However, compare! :)
27. Bring long clothes with you to temples etc.
You’ll have to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting temples. If you don’t bring those clothes with you, you will have to buy the pricey ones at the temples. A scarf or sarong can be pretty useful here, and when you know beforehand at least wear something which covers your knees and then put a scarf around your shoulders!
28. Negotiate (in certain countries)
Oh I’m so bad at negotiating, but actually you can save by doing so!
29. Go for public transport
!!! And please have a look at their tickets beforehand! Some countries offer great deals for people under 26 or day tickets, whatever. Look and check which one is the best option for your stay!
30. Count your change
There are many countries in which people will try to scam you by giving you too less change, so better count it.
31. Ask locals
Cause they mostly know the cheapest options. Also they can give you super duper secret tips for spots no one knows!
32. Don’t change your money, get a credit card and find an ATM instead
Less fees. ;-) OR when you have cash, don’t even think about changing at an airport. Just don’t.
33. Don’t pay for everything
I’m now at a point where I don’t feel like going into every single museum or paying for every single tourist attraction and I still don’t feel like I missed something.
34. Travel to cheap countries
35. Take some washing stuff with you
36. If you want to eat out, go for lunch, not for dinner
As mentioned in my saving tips for Rome lunch tends to be cheaper than dinner. So if you want to eat out (cause sometimes you will to not miss a countries‘ culinary highlights) then go for lunch!
37. In some countries you get tap water for free in restaurants
For example, this is the case in Australia. Not paying for your drinks on a restaurant visit will also save you some bucks. In Ireland, too :)
38. Get public transport tickets for several days
If you’re spending several days in a certain city and use public transport, then keep your eyes open for multi-day tickets.
39. Take care of your belongings!
Nothing could be worse than getting robbed out during your travels – so keep an eye on your belongings!
40. Choose low cost buses over the well-knowns
Within Europe and North America megabus is always a cheap alternative, in Australia, go for Premier instead of Greyhound. For more options, try busliniensuche.de they usually have a great variety of different busses.
41. Book in advance, but not too much in advance
Eight weeks before departure is said to be the best time for booking flights. Well, I don’t know if this is true, but booking your flights too many months in advance is too expensive, as well as booking a flight too short on time.
42. Try housesitting
We haven’t tried it yet, but will definitely do it on our trip around the world.
43. Try wwoofing, workaway or helpx
Yes, we’ll also try this on our trip around the world.
44. Do your research to find out the cheapest supermarkets within a country
In Europe, go for Lidl, Aldi or Carrefour (depending on your location), in Australia it would be Woolworths or Coles. There are so many more so ask google for the cheapest supermarkets with in a country (or go to a local market as this will always be cheaper!).
45. Avoid toll roads when travelling by car
My first trip by car to Italy was on country roads only to avoid Italian, Swiss and Austrian toll and it was one of the greatest experiences ever. Besides the money I saved I saw so much beauty! It even turned out to be my favourite travel moment ever!
46. Try to find cheaper bus stops that are close to an airport
You can read here what I mean and how to do it! Especially in Australia this can save you loads!
47. If you’re travelling by camper try to find free camping spots via app
When I was travelling around Europe by car it was quite easy to find free spots to stay and sleep for a night; however, in Australia, it was much harder to find spots where camping was allowed (and as you have to pay high fines for camping wild I would highly suggest you to find an official spot!). Wikicamps and Campermate turned out to be great apps for finding good spots!
48. Take things such as shampoo, sunscreen etc. with you
Depending on where you’re travelling to, toiletries might be more expensive than in your hometown so better take enough of these things with you.
49. Watch out for error-fares
50. Subscribe to airline newsletters to get the latest offers
I saved a fortune on my Australia trip cause I booked all my flights during Christmas discount time! To be honest, it was a coincidence that I booked my flights at that time but I immediately signed up for airline newsletters in order to never miss those offers again and to book at the right time!
51. Don’t buy travel guides and have a look at the internet instead
Travel blogs, tripadvisor, … possibilities are endless (and for free)!
52. Split your flights
Very often, direct connections are more exensive than flying with a layover (which is not the worst thing in the world at all). And also, sometimes it’s worth a check if going with two different airlines (and thus with two bookings) via a certain airport is the cheapest option for you.
53. Sleep in the car
That’s what I did while I was travelling around Europe in a Volkswagen T5 bus and it saved me a lot of bucks!
54. Take cuttlery with you
When you’re on the road and not eating out you’ll soon miss some cuttlery in order to eat whatever you want. Just take it with you and the problem is solved! And if you’re travelling with handluggage only and can’t take knifes with you, then take plastic ones. ;)