Seeing that one of the questions I get asked most frequently is „How can you afford to be on-the-go all the time?“, I thought it was time that I wrote a post on it. Yes I’m young, yes I’m broke, and yes I travel all the time! While I wrote a post on how save money to travel (in the first place) here, today’s focus is on how you can get the most out of your savings once you are actually on-the-go. There are so many ways you can save your hard earned cash along the way, tricks that have taken much trial and error to learn.
→ Planning Where You Want To Visit ←
Pick the cheapest flight/train/bus
When I went to Barcelona last spring, one of the major reasons that it ended up being my destination was because it was incredibly cheap to visit from Paris. I believe the bus there cost about 15 Euros, and we found a flight back home for only 30 Euros. On websites such as Transavia, Euro Wings or RyanAir, pick the city you want to depart from, and just see where you can go on the cheap. I’ve seen last minute flights to London offered for just 17 Euros or so. Same goes for busses.
Visit cities you can afford
There’s a huge difference between visiting Paris or Berlin, or visiting London vs. Prague. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, don’t go to an expensive city! For example, hostels in Berlin start at 10 Euros, whereas in Paris good luck finding anything under 30.
Look of prices of attractions
Some cities charge a lot more for site seeing (museums, churches, etc.) than others. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, either pick a city where you’ll be content with just spending days walking around outside (like Munich or Amsterdam), or pick a city where you know museum visits won’t bankrupt you (all museums in Paris are free if you have a student ID!).
→ Transport ←
Usually the two most expensive things about traveling end up being transport and accommodation. While I already briefly mentioned transportation, I wanted to go into the various ways you can get to your destination without breaking the bank.
With websites such as BlaBlaCar you can book a seat in somebody’s car, a person who is leaving from your city to go to your destination. The charge isn’t there for the driver to make a profit, but usually just covers gas and tolls. The website gives each driver ratings so you can know what to expect. I’m a huge fan.
80% of the time while traveling, you’ll find me taking the bus. With websites such as FlixBus or MegaBus, getting from Munich to Berlin can cost as little as 5 Euros. I cannot say enough good things about this system. Sure the ride may take a little longer, but essentially you get to your destination for almost no money.
If I know I have to fly somewhere on a particular day, I find my flight using SkyScanner. It always finds the cheapest tickets.
Be sure to keep your eye out for train specials as well. For example in Germany in the summer, the Deutsche Bahn oftentimes has specials, with which you can get from one side of the country to the other (or even to places such as Italy or The Netherlands) for under 20 Euros.
→ Keep in mind as well that just because you took the bus somewhere, doesn’t mean you need to take the bus back. Combine methods of transportation so that your schedule works out. Our bus ride to Barcelona was 15 hours, so taking it back would have meant one less day in the city. On our way home we spent 10 extra, but ended up getting a full additional day to explore.
→ Accommodation ←
Each place I’ve been this year where I didn’t have a couch to crash on (see below), I’ve stayed in an AirBnB. I’m sure any travel lover has heard of this website, but basically you can rent out anything from a couch to an apartment all around the world, for a lot less money than a hotel room will cost you. I personally love AirBnB because I feel like you are truly experiencing the city you are living in; nothing more French than staying in a genuine Parisian apartment!
Truthfully, I’ve never used Couchsurfing, but my best friend swears by it and another friend even met her boyfriend for it. Couchsurfer is a website that allows you to sleep on couches around the world free of charge. The people that let you into their homes are usually super open and young, one friend even got an entire tour of Paris and a close new friend through the experience. Plus, did I mention that it’s free?!?
Visit places where you know people!
The truest way to save the most money is to crash with people you know. Truth be told, often I chose destinations based on whether I know people there or not. Nothing is more fun than catching up with a friend, and exploring a new city with somebody that already knows their way around. I’ve done this all around Germany, and will do it in September as well with a very dear friend from Utrecht.
→ While There ←
Save money on food and drink
Eating out can get super pricey, so plan in advance. Another reason that I love renting AirBnB apartments is that you can whip up your own meals; eating a home-cooked meal on a balcony in Rome is just as good as hitting up a restaurant. Also, pack a water bottle you can fill up throughout the trip and hit up the nearest grocery store for fruits and veggies you can snack on throughout the day.
Give yourself a budget each day, don’t take more money with you than you can spend
For each trip, I withdraw the maximum amount of cash I want to spend, and spend it throughout the trip You’re less likely to go over your budget if you have a pile of cash rather than always charging a card. Plus, no withdrawal fees! Or course I always have a card for emergencies though, you never know what can happen.
Turn off your phone data
An obvious one, but a mistake that can easily happen! Be sure to turn off your data, even a moment of web surfing can cost a fortune. Stick to WiFi, or get some sort of an international phone plan.
It’s been super fun writing this post, and I hope you were able to learn something new. As always, ask any questions or contribute ideas in the comments below, I love talking with you guys!
Much love and thank you for reading,
P.S. Photo above not mine! I couldn’t find the original photographer, if anybody knows please let me know