June 8, 2015

11 Tips for Thrifty Traveling!

Traveling is expensive - there is no doubt about it. But, if you make it a priority to go and see the world and are smart with your money, it is more than do-able on a budget! Today I thought I would share the tricks I learned on my trip. Some were 'you live and you learn' type of lessons (oops) and others were accidental discoveries (yay)!

1. Make meals at home. Don't have a kitchen? Buying pre-made food at the local supermarket is still cheaper than going out to restaurants for every meal. We intentionally tried to get Airbnb's with functional kitchens so we could cook as often as possible! Extra tip: Buy snacks for the plane/train/bus at the supermarket too, much cheaper than buying at the airport or station!

2. Find free museum days! Or reduced price days. The best is when these fall on a rainy day and you can escape to a museum for the afternoon, for free!

(We stumbled upon the Ny Carlsberg Gylptoteket in Copenhagen on a rainy Tuesday. When we went to the ticket booth, we were told there was a 100% discount that day! Score! We spent the entire afternoon there checking out the vast sculpture collection & beautiful building!)

3. Bring a reusable water bottle! Fill it up, remember to bring it out with you. Water is not often free while traveling, even at restaurants. I used a Platypus 'hydration pack' which flattens nicely when it isn't full, and the plastic is all BPA free and good and stuff. This also cuts down on disposable water bottle waste, which is a bonus!

4. Take public transit (and walk!) everywhere that you can. Both are fantastic ways to see more of the city and discover things you might not have before! It's also kind of fun to check out another city's public transit system and compare with your own back home ;)
(Taking a double decker bus for the first time in Edinburgh!)

5. Give up your ideas of 'luxury', it's OK if the bed is squeeky and the jacuzzi is right next to the fridge. Sometimes the best deal is the best idea - so long as the place is clean, bug free, and functional, which, if you read reviews, is easy to figure out. Which brings me to the next point:

6. Always read the worst reviews. For restaurants, attractions, and places to stay! Usually they are more telling than the positive ones (and sometimes you just find something really outrageous and funny from a negative nancy). The negative reviews often tell you whether the prices were fair, too.

7. Don't go shopping. Straight up. There's no need for it if you're traveling on a budget and your hope is to see more of the world. I found most stores around the world are the same anyway. H&M in Europe won't be that different from H&M back home!

8. Get as much cash as you can back home, and pay with credit when you can. I was charged a 5$ fee every time I needed to take out cash. No fun!

9. Try to give up your daily habits (*cough* coffee *cough*). It'll be easier, as not every hostel or Airbnb has coffee. It's also cheaper and saves you time if you don't need to find a cafe for your coffee every morning (I only sort of managed to do this...).

10. Find free fun. Sometimes sitting in the park with an icecream and enjoying a sunny day, almost falling asleep in the grass, and people watching makes for a better memory than lining up for hours at the theme park or paying tons of money for an over-packed tourist attraction.
(Hanging out by the Seine in Paris on a sunny afternoon with a baguette to snack on! Ps. This outfit? Entirely second hand! Woo!)

11. Stand up for yourself. Do not let yourself be ripped off by people preying on tourists. Negotiate terms of payment with taxi drivers before you get in the car. Don't fall into tourist traps, speak up and walk away if you feel someone is trying to scam you.

These are my best 11 tips, tried and tested! I hope they are helpful for you if you are dreaming of traveling on a budget anytime in the future.

What are your best thrifty, budget-friendly travel tips?


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