Take It Back! 20 Cheap Travel Tips For An Affordable Trip.
Discount Vacation Tip #1 Choose a Bed & Breakfast Instead of a Hotel
Bed and Breakfasts are great cheap alternatives to hotels and staying at one is our first cheap travel tip. Knowing the local translation for B&B is useful in finding them, for example in Norway it would be Husrom, in Slovenia it’s sobe, and in Germany it’s zimmer. Depending on where you stay you may save up to 50% on your hotel costs!
2 Stay In a Hostel for a Cheap Trip
If you don’t mind a living with a little less privacy you can save a lot by staying in a hostel. The accommodations are typically dorm-room style beds often with a communal kitchen available which will allow you to save money on your food as well! For the lowest prices you will have to share a room, but if you are willing to pay a little more (but still less than a cheap hotel) you can sometimes book a private room in a hostel. A great way for a traveling family, young adult, or young at heart adult to save for money on a discount vacation.
3 Budget chain motels
While budget chain motels do not offer anything special to customers, they do carry the benefit of consistency. While B&Bs often offer slightly more economical options, their accommodations are hit or miss. The efficient “no-frills” business model of budget chain motels allows them to keep prices low, while their brand-standards (even if they are not particularly high standards) tell you what you can expect without having to research every detail of the establishment. The large chains offer consumers the purchase security of high level establishments at a fraction of the price.
4 Choose a simpler discount hotel
Rather than booking that five-star hotel that looks like a palace, consider booking a one or two-star hotel. They may not have an elevator or restaurant, however if you’re a young traveler without a lot of baggage, carrying your backpack up a couple flights of stairs may not matter too much. And hotel restaurants are rarely the most cost effective option for dining. Finally, consider how much time you will actually be spending in the room and how much of that time you will have your eyes closed.
If you book a one-star with even sparser accommodations, such as without a private bath, you will save an additional 20%. This can be a good option if you’re traveling around Europe and are only staying in a location for a short time. In such a scenario you may not want to spend much time in your hotel room so that you can maximize your touring potential in each location.
5 Fill the room! Pack the room, i.e. the more people you put in the same room, the cheaper the accommodations become for each person. It is also not uncommon to request additional beds for your room in European hotels, and such requests will typically only raise the cost per night by 10-20 euros (for each additional bed). So a room that costs 80 euros with just one bed could be 95 euros with two beds, or 110 euros with three. Sharing a room with another couple rather than each couple paying for their own saves about 60 euros a night on average, which really adds up if you do it for a whole week!
6 Eat on the street (cafe style) - In Some Locations If breakfast isn’t included at your hotel, then you may want to consider finding your first meal of the day somewhere else. This strategy when employed well can provide you with better food at a lower price. Hotels typically serve a higher volume of customers, which means unless you are staying in the crem de la crem, the food you find there likely won’t be as fresh. An all around better option would be to go to a small bakery, deli, or café, all of which will typically make their goods fresh every morning. Not to mention the small eateries are a great way to experience the local culture of wherever you travel.
7 Where do all the locals eat? Cheap travel tip #7 revolves around eating. At the restaurants that cater to tourists, often known as “tourist traps,” you will find establishments that spend a lot on marketing to tourists. Whether they pay for this by raising the prices or by skimping on the quality of ingredients, ultimately the cost comes back to you. Whichever spot is most popular with locals is likely going to give you the best value for your money, whether it’s a great price for good food, or great food for a good price. The locals are the ones who have the opportunity to try all of the restaurants in the area, so the local favorite is a good choice. Local favorites are easy to identify, just go the whichever one has the longest line of local diners.8 Picnic on the grass
If you want to sample high quality local fare, but don’t have the budget for five-star dining, planning a picknic with delicacies from the local grocery store or market is a great way to go. If you are staying in the same place for a week, (or even a weekend) it’s a good idea to stock up on non-perishable foods and drinks the first day, and purchase any perishable goods you will consume the day you want to consume them.
9 Belly up to the bar Unlike most restaurants in the US, most European restaurants have different prices for drinks depending on whether you order them at the bar, or at your table. Space and amenities are always at a premium in Europe, so if you’re not staying long and you don’t mind standing, it may be in your best interest to drink at the bar rather than getting a table.
10 Big grocery Stores = Cheap Prices Convenience stores are exactly what they’re named for, convenient. However they’re no bargain. In Europe, especially in the big cities that tourists most often visit, it can be difficult to find a large grocery, however it’s worth the effort to find one. Shopping at a large grocery store can save you 30% on all of the picnic items you buy, and when you consider the conversion rate of dollars to euros, that really adds up.
11 To market to market Open air markets are great not just for the fresh options they provide savvy shopers, but also because they supply restaurants as well. This causes great cheap restaurants catering to locals to crop up around (or in) these open air markets. Eating at such restaurants also gives you the added benefit of know exactly how fresh all of the ingredients that went into making your meal are.
12 Tipping tip to cut cost Automatically tipping is a uniquely American tradition. In Europe the 20% tip, which is rapidly becoming the standard in America, is virtually unheard of, and typically no tip is expected. Also, many European restaurants factor the tip into the price of the meal, so adding and additional tip on top of this is essentially tipping twice.
13 Split a meal and make it early Splitting your entrée and desert is a great way to save money. Also the highest profit margin in restaurants is on beverages, so ordering tap water (be clear about the tap part) will save you money on a low value, high cost item. It is recommended that you employ these techniques early so that you don’t frustrate the wait staff by paying a small tab and occupying a prime table all night.
14 Open your jaws and take in the savings Flying “open jaw” (flying out of a different city than the one you flew into) is a great way to maximize not only your money, but your time as well. If you are traveling through Spain and Portugal, it might be a good idea to fly into Madrid, and out of Lisboa. You won’t save the money by booking round-trip tickets, however you save all the time and transportation costs of traveling back to Madrid from Portugal.
15 No car in the city; save it for the country In crowded major cities with public transportation, a car is often more of a hassle than a convenience, so why pay for one? It’s a better idea to take advantage of the cheaper public transportation options, such as subways, buses, and taxis, rather than paying for parking, rental car fees, and trying to navigate an unfamiliar city. Schedule pickup dates on rental cars for when you’ll be leaving the city, and heading for the country.
16 Not busted by buses Buses may be slower and less comfortable than trains, but at half the cost they can be the perfect option for a traveler on a budget. In Great Britain, where trains are truly at a premium, a bus may save even more, costing less than 1/3 what a train does.
17 Public transit; a green cheap travel tip Public transportation options will save you money, (and reduce your carbon footprint). All major airports in Europe have public transit options that are cheaper and will typically get you to the center of the city in a half hour. So the next time you land, it’s a good idea to take a train, subway, or bus the rest of the way to your destination.
18 Shop Cheap When you’re traveling through several countries, pay attention to which ones have the lowest exchange rate and lowest prices. Shop more in cheap countries and avoid the pricier ones, also within a country, shop more in local shops, and less in touristy gift shops.
19 Which department? Souvenir stores are quintessential tourist traps. The same folk art which is “ON SALE FOR 70% OFF!” in a souvenir store can probably be purchased at an even greater discount in a large local department store. Remember the way souvenir stores make a profit is by selling goods to tourists at an inflated price, whatever their signs may say.
20 E Money Travelers checks provide the risk conscious traveler with security; if they lose their money they can get 100% back. However this protection comes at a sky high price. Today with our global banking system the most efficient way to get the best exchange rate is by using your debit card to make ATM withdrawals rather than exchanging money at a bank or using travelers checks. It is also better to make a few large cash withdrawals at ATMs rather than more frequent smaller withdrawals to cut down on the ATM fees you will pay. Credit cards (for purchases) will also give you a better exchange rate than money-changers.
These tips can help you to fulfill your travel desires without taking out a second mortgage on your house. Some say “time is money,” but while you can always make more money, time is limited, so you must weigh quicker options against cheaper ones and decide what matters to you. However trips that are well planned and fit in your budget are typically more enjoyable. So as you create your own story and leave your footprints on the world, carry these tips with you, and your money will carry you further. We hope you enjoyed these cheap travel tips for a discount vacation. One last tip: Do your due dilligence when booking a flight, hotel or transportation. You can find many of the cheapest places to book online on our discount vacation booking agent page.