Top 5 Ways to Save Money While Traveling

Check out these travel hacks to save money on your next trip. By doing a few simple things here and there, you can conserve a lot of cash. Keep it, or use your savings to fund your next adventure!

Use the Sharing Economy

It’s 2017, and the sharing economy is booming. What do I mean by that? It’s the model that allows people to easily rent out their home, car, bike, and even your Wi-Fi network when you’re not using it. The sharing economy gives you a ton of options. An abundance of options creates competitive pricing – meaning lower rates and savings for you. Put the sharing economy to work for nearly everything you do while traveling, from your transportation, to guided tours, meals, and where you sleep. Some favorites include: Airbnb, EatWith, Vayable, Guided by a Local, BlaBlaCar, and ZipCar.

Stay For Free

Sounds too good to be true? Nope. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) sets travelers up with room and board in exchange for work on a farm. I know, farming isn’t for everyone. But most of the time it involves light cleaning duties, not milking cows. WWOOF is great for people thinking about traveling in New Zealand and Australia, but it has options extending into Europe and South America, as well. Other hospitality networks connect travelers with locals who will let them stay for FREE. Aside from a place to stay, you also get to meet new people and see what living like a local is actually like. You won’t find that in a hotel. These services aren’t just for young solo travelers, either – you’ll find people of all ages willing to host couples and families, too. Recommended sites are: Couchsurfing, Servas, and Be Welcome.

Look for Free Activities

If you do a little research, you’ll see there are often lots of free activities in the area. Look at community calendars to see what is going on in town while you are there. Do a self-guided walking tour to familiarize yourself with your destination. If there are some must-see attractions on your itinerary, do some research and see if your destination city offers tourism cards. Depending on the card, you can gain free entry to top visitor attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, skip-the-line options at busy attractions, free public transportation, and even free guidebooks. It’ll cost you some money upfront, but can definitely save you some money later.

Fly on Budget Airlines

Okay, so if you’re trying to save money while traveling and know that you need a plane to get you where you’re headed, you’re probably already aware of the basics: search and compare multiple flight fares; always fly economy; pack lightly to avoid checked baggage fees or charges for extra weight; multiple layovers, although they’re never fun, will get you the cheapest price; connecting flights (equally frustrating) also save you a chunk of change; and once you’ve found the perfectly-priced flight, carefully monitor its fluctuation and wait until the perfect moment to pull the trigger. What most people don’t know, however, is the amount of bourgeoning new budget airlines the Big Guys are trying to prevent you from learning about. Companies like Norwegian Air or Air Asia do the same thing as other carriers – getting you between continents – just at lower costs, with no frills. Norwegian Air, for example, has departures from both US coasts and will fly you to Europe for as little as $150 one way.

Finally, Use Those Points

There are tons of travel-branded credit cards that offer huge sign up bonuses, such as the 50,000 bonus points offered by the Chase Sapphire card (that can equal a roundtrip flight to Europe, FYI). Other shopping portals give bonuses for each dollar you spend, and an abundance of loyalty programs constantly offer promotions and deals. Chain hotels, like Hilton and Marriot, have reward systems that give you points for staying there, which can add up to free overnight stays.

Be mindful – this travel hack is a little delicate, as it requires spending to receive savings. Don’t go crazy with your new, shiny credit card, or you can wind up in a lot of debt with creditors or the IRS—debt with the latter could leave you in dire need of tax relief help. Stick to purchases that you regularly make, such as gas and groceries, to avoid spending more than you can afford.

Start using these top travel hacks today to begin funding for your travels in the future!

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