How to save money on travel 21 ideas
How to save money on a trip is a pressing issue. Most independent travelers choose a hotel not for the price of a glass of dry Martini in the bar of a five-star hotel, but for the price/quality/budget ratio.
There are many different tricks, honest and not so, allowing you to travel cheap. But how far are people willing to go to save money? Where is the line between savings and fraud?
What do tourists usually save on
Here are some statistics from ICE PLC, how tourists save money:
- Took a meal from Breakfast for lunch - 38.75%
- Did not leave a tip in a bar or restaurant - 32,20%
- Used the hotel's mini-bar to store your own products - 29.40%
- Requested a free late check-out to stay in the hotel room longer - 15.40%
- Asked at the reception to order a taxi/restaurants, so as not to spend money from your own phone - 13.40%
- Used entertainment of a nearby hotel - 11.65%
- Lied about your child's age to pay less for entering a theme Park - 11.20%
- Used the pool in the best hotel where they didn't stay - 9.05%
- Used a free beach or Shuttle service to the city of another hotel where they did not stay - 7.65%
- Pretended to be on a honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary / birthday in order to get an upgraded room category without additional payment - 5.55%
- Left a bar or restaurant without paying - 1.35%
Some of the items in this list are quite controversial. For example, ordering a taxi at the reception. Many of the hotels offer this service. And the traveler may not know the phone numbers of taxis. Honestly, we have repeatedly asked to call a taxi for this reason.
Another example is tipping at a bar or restaurant. It happens that the tip is already included in the bill, and sometimes it is not. It takes time to sort this out. After all, no one will know first of all whether to leave a tip or not. I will say that we leave tips only where we really liked everything: the service, the food, and the atmosphere. What do you do?
Of course, taking a towel from the room "as a souvenir" is more like petty theft, and leaving the bar without paying ... Although there were a couple of situations in life when I wanted to do so because of the slowness of the waiter and the slowness of the kitchen. Have you had any similar cases?
A few ideas on how to travel cheap
Ways to save on flights and transport
1. We fly low-cost airlines: in Europe — WizzAir, RyanAir; in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) - AirAsia, Nok Air; in Russia — Pobeda
2. We use ground transport, which is usually cheaper than flights. For example, in Asian countries, trains cost pennies. Although there is sometimes a plane ticket is cheaper than a bus ticket.
In Southeast Asia, it is very cheap to travel by train and bus.
For low-cost trips to Europe by bus, you can use Lux Express, Bus for, and Ecoline services
3. We try to buy cheap air tickets at sales or use regular discounts.
Prices for flights with a late departure are usually cheaper, but check whether you will have time to get from the airport to the city by public transport? Sometimes taxi prices are very biting. If you do not have time, it is better to order a transfer in advance, so as not to overpay.
If the return date is known in advance, you can save money by buying a two-way ticket.
Many airlines have bonus programs, you can collect miles for free flights.
4. We try not to take extra Luggage. In any more or less normal hotel, they give out soap, shampoo and shower gel, so there is no need to drag it with you. Alternatively, there are special small jars where you can pour your favorite shampoo and take it with you. I do this regularly myself, especially if we are going somewhere for a couple of days.
5. We use public transport-save on renting a car/motorbike.
6. We use the services of fellow travelers and hitchhiking
In some countries, hitchhiking is quite developed. There are also special services that allow drivers to find fellow travelers, and all together save on road expenses. For example, the service blablacar.ru or a similar service www.mitfahrgelegenheit.at in Austria.
7. Save on Parking — if we rent a car, we are looking for an apartment or hotel with free Parking
Ways to save on food
Here are our tips on how to save on food when traveling:
1.If you are going on a tour or just wander around the city, you can take a small snack with you.
2.Choose hotels with Breakfast included.
3.Search for local markets, where prices without cheating on the tourist.
4.If you have to sit at the airport for two or three hours, buy food in advance. Everything is expensive at the airport.
5.Apartments are better than hotels because you can prepare your own Breakfast, lunch or dinner.
6.Usually supermarkets have food courts where you can quickly and inexpensively eat.
7.Some cafes offer set meals at a very good price.
8.In large grocery stores, there are departments with cooking. After 8 PM, the remaining food is sold at a large discount.
Ways to save on housing
1.If you plan to stay in the city for longer than a week, you can book a hotel for a couple of days, and then rent a cheaper apartment on the spot. Laundry service in the hotel is always expensive.
2.Looking for hotels on hotel aggregators. Our favorite is RoomGuru. Aggregators show the price for the same hotel at once for all: Agoda, booking, islet and other sellers.
3.Hotels in the city center are usually more expensive than those that are a little further away. But here you should take into account the convenience of getting there and the cost of transport.
4.If you only need to stay overnight, you can use couchsurfing or stay in a hostel. Usually hostels cost a penny.
Note also on kesbeke (maniaci) some services, reservation of tickets/hotels.
Ways to save money on excursions
If you are familiar with couchsurfing, you know that you can not only stay with someone for the night, but also just get to know someone from the local area. And the locals will always tell you where and what is best to see.
In some cities, there is such a thing as free sightseeing tours. For example, in Sofia (Bulgaria), we went on a food tour, where we were not only told about the cuisine of Bulgaria, but also fed at the same time.
In Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), there are several free excursions to the city's attractions.
In Singapore, for transit passengers, there is a free sightseeing tour of the city by bus.
I also like routes from Lonely Planet travel guides. There are quite well described sights, and a map is attached. You can walk and watch yourself.
Another life hack is a tourist card. The card gives discounts in different hotels, museums, restaurants and bars. About availability of specials. maps for a particular city need to be found out in advance. In some cities, this card is free, in some paid.
Ways to save money on the Internet and mobile communications
1. We save on roaming — in our experience, it is often cheaper to buy a local SIM card than to take some universal roaming. And sometimes we do without a local SIM card, using the free Internet.
2. We use free wi-fi — it is available in all public places, food courts, restaurants, cafes and hotels.
3. Maps for navigation we cache in advance on the phone, and maps work offline without the Internet.
For Thrifty shopaholics
There is such a concept as "tax free" or "vat refund" or tax refund. This means that the buyer, who is not a citizen of the country where the purchases are made, can be refunded VAT on purchases. There are several tax refund systems in total:
Global Blue-unites 36 countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, great Britain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Turkey, Singapore, Japan and Uruguay.
Premier Tax Free-covers 20 countries: Austria, Belgium, great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Czech Republic, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, South Africa, Morocco, Jordan and Singapore.
Innova Tax Free — 5 countries: Spain, France, great Britain, Italy, Portugal and China.
Although the systems are different, the meaning is the same: you buy a product in a store, save a receipt, fill out a tax form, and get your money at the border.
We used the Global Blue system in Cyprus, as well as refunded tax on purchases in Thailand.
What you should not save on when traveling
And a couple of points about what you should not save on:
Insurance — life and health are more important than money
Food — you can eat cheap, but, most importantly, do not overdo it: in roadside cheap eateries, fresh products are not always used and sanitary standards are observed. Spoiling your vacation by lying around with poisoning in a hotel is hardly a pleasant prospect.
Safety — in Thailand, once there was a case when tourists wanted to save on a taxi and the two of them got on a bike (without a stroller). The Thai driver doesn't care, but the tourist sitting in the back and falling off the bike was not happy.
The main thing is to understand that there is no Golden recipe for saving money. You need to try to find a middle ground in the price / quality ratio in what you really need/are important to you.