You’re online looking for your next escapade for a quick vacation. While searching or places to go, you have a budget in mind, but by the time you get to the homepage, you feel a stab in the heart. No, it’s not your ex coming out of the computer. It’s even worse— the price you checked online yesterday is 20% more expensive today. You curse yourself for not buying it then but acquiesce to a higher power.
This can continue on and on until you’re on your vacation and you resort to forgetting everything about the budget. But for your next trip, with these little tips you can work your way up to ensure that some of your cash can be trimmed from the total budget.
1) Buy tickets Incognito and with VPN
One quick and easy trick is to clear out your cookie and look. But a better way is to log in in Incognito Mode or Private mode and buy your flights that way. This can change the cost of the flights dramatically, enough that one of my friend’s jaw dropped because of this simple little trick.
One website I enjoy using is Kiwi. It’s my go-to when researching travels and we’ve recommended it to many people. I once bought a ticket on Iberian Air for $180 one way from New York City to Madrid Spain. To put that in perspective, the Acela train (Amtrak’s high-speed rail) has tickets from Boston to New York City that cost around the same price.
A point to note about traveling for cheap is to read the fine print.
- Read the weight limit to make sure it’s realistic
- Check if and how much they charge to check bags (if you’re planning to check bags)
- Enquire if food will be served and if it’s free
- Double check if they require you to print out your boarding pass ahead of time
- Check which documents are required to be presented.
Budget airlines make a lot of money by charging passengers when their baggage is overweight, to check bags, to order food on the plane or to print out your boarding pass at the airport, so make sure you know what you’re getting for the price! This will ensure that you have a stress free flight the next time you travel.
If you e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we can give you a 20 euro discount code for Kiwi! Just write “Kiwi discount” in the subject line.
2) Hit your friend’s friends network (or couch-surf)
This is where things get interesting. You could travel around and stay at hostels costing an average of 15 euros a night (around $17) or hotels costing even more… but what if you could save most or all of that money by staying at other people’s houses? One network you can check out is by going to Facebook’s search function and typing in “friends of friends who live in X”. You could even post on facebook asking if anyone has a friend from that country you could be introduced to.
If all else fails, try Couchsurfing. Sometimes, you have crazy encounters with other people and other times you might get the best place in the world, but what it comes down to is finding someone you feel comfortable with. That may come in the form of talking to them beforehand, knowing the host is the same gender as you, or even having the same interests. It can be a fun way to explore as the Couchsurfing community is interesting and brings some quirky characters from all walks of life that are fun to be around.
Funnily enough, most people think that if you don’t have a kitchen, you shouldn’t be able to cook. If your cooking skills are a bit rusty, you should check out some simple recipes that are easy to cook on Youtube or check out one of our future blog posts about it. If Couchsurfing, you can always ask to borrow your host’s kitchen and make food for both of you, and it’s one of those skills that gets better with time. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a newfound talent in cooking this trip?
4) Bring a water bottle
In the US, you might be used to getting water for free when you go to restaurants, but in other countries, they usually charge you a bit of money. Even worse, airports charge you ridiculous fees and it’s so easy to get dehydrated on the plane. I recommend bringing an empty water bottle to the airport to stay hydrated. Plus, you need more water the higher elevation you are in, so it’s definitely recommended to fuel up on water whenever you can. I usually like to bring a sturdy 40 oz hydro flask. We cover more items to travel with here.
5) Don’t use cash, but rather your credit card
The exchange rate of a credit card is usually 1-2% higher in most places. When you withdraw from exchanges, they take a higher exchange rate fee that you may not even notice. This can be around 3-4%, or if you use those terrible Euronet ATMs probably 6%. This advice may not work in some countries like India or Vietnam where cash is still pretty much king, but overall this will make ensure any charge towards you can be fought through credit card insurance. Plus, you won’t have to deal with any permanent scam or frauds.
Also, if you want to store your credit cards or cash in a safe location, check out our Kezari pants with huge pockets enclosed with a discrete zipper so you’re not constantly panicking about your card being stolen or lost abroad.
Side note: I’ve seen a rising trend where people who “lifestyle” travel beg while traveling to less fortunate countries. If you see this trend, please don’t do anything to promote it or even become part of it. This lifestyle of a wandering nomad going to poorer places to beg for money isn’t what traveling is about. Traveling is for understanding different perspectives and cultures, gaining new experiences and whatever else you want it to be. This practice is also rude, but that’s for another post.
Any other tips you have in mind? Share in the comments below!