Planning a solo trip, or the getaway of your dreams? You don’t have to spend every cent in your bank account. There are many ways you can save money while traveling.  Here’s a list of top things to do to save money on accommodations, food, and transportation.

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Ways to Save Money While Traveling

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how to save money on vacation

How to save on accommodations

1. Volunteer

Work a few hours a week at a hostel to get a discount on your stay. Some places will even pay you. Check with the manager to see if they need any help. Look for places to stay that offer breakfast included with your stay.

2. Workaway

I first heard about Workaway from a friend who lived with a family in Switzerland in exchange for making lunch for the children and talking to them in English. Workaway opportunities exist all over the world, and once you connect with a host, you get to discuss how long you would like to stay and what your responsibilities will be.

Typically, you would work five days a week for 4-5 hours a day with meals included, but every situation is different and should be discussed with the host.

3. Couchsurfing

My first Couchsurfing experience was in Kauai, and I met the most incredible host. Marc took me to Polihale beach, we went on some incredible hikes, and even went diving for Tako (octopus). It was awesome, and I definitely wouldn’t have known about these places without his help.

Since then, I’ve used Couchsurfing several times all over the world. Trust your gut, read the reviews, and if you don’t feel comfortable, just leave.

4. Stay with Family or Friends

When you’re traveling, you meet friends from all over the world. Don’t be shy about reaching out to see if they have a place for you to stay. When I lived in Hawaii, my apartment was located one block from the beach. I’d often get messages from friends asking if they could stay with me, and I always said yes! I love having friends and family in my home, and now I can’t wait to visit them.  

This goes without saying, but when you’re staying in someone’s home (whether you know them well or not), be a courteous guest. Pick up after yourself and be respectful of the house rules.

tips for saving money on food

Tips on Saving Money on Food and Drinks

5. Shop local

I love eating at great restaurants just as much as you do, but let’s be real, eating out three meals a day, every day can get expensive. Shop at local markets for fruits and veggies or will visit the grocery store if I know I’m staying in a place for more than a few days. In Nicaragua, you can eat very cheap in the “comedores” and in Costa Rica, “sodas” serve great local food at a very reasonable price.

6. Look for happy hour specials

Look for places that offer 2-1 drinks or happy hour specials. Big nights out can get expensive, find deals to save, and have a great time. Some bars host Ladies nights, where women drink for free. (It’s usually that bottom shelf stuff, so keep that in mind, to avoid an all-day hangover the next day.)

7. Bring a reusable water bottle

I never go anywhere without my hydro flask water bottle. You can refill it for free in many places, and you can feel good about ditching plastic water bottles that are bad for the environment.

Ways to Save Money on Clothes

8. Swap your stuff

After a few months on the road, you’ll probably get tired of wearing the same clothes.  And so will your travel buddies. Donate clothes and any travel supplies that are weighing on you. If you’re not going to use it, give it to a friend or a local who might enjoy something new.

how to save money for travel

How to Save Money on Transportation and Travel

9. Public transportation

While you might need to take a few buses to get to your next destination, you’ll save money by using public buses. Ride-Sharing apps and private shuttles are convenient, but if you want to stretch your dollar, you have to know when to save and when to splurge.

10. Walk everywhere

Most big cities offer free walking tours where you can get to know the city and take notes of any cool places to visit later. Local tour guides are happy to answer any questions about the city and will tell you about the local history and the best places to eat.

11. Embrace Slow Travel

Ever heard of slow travel? It means taking your time and getting to know the locals and things to do in one area. Instead of rushing to check cities off your list, spend time in one place getting to know the area. Ask your hotel/hostel for a discount for extended stays. Avoid travel burnout by taking your time. Get settled in a location and unpack your bags.

Conclusion

Many people think that long term travel has to be expensive. It doesn’t! If you want to learn how to save money while traveling, there are so many things you can do. Use these tips to see what works for you!

How do you save money while traveling?

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