Traveling cheaply requires a little flexibility and resourcefulness, but it is well worth it. As a full-time traveler, I am well placed to talk about it.
I can afford to travel indefinitely for two reasons. The first is that I am a digital nomad (I work entirely online). The second is that I learned to travel economically.
In this article, I give you my 10 best tips to get the best out of your travels, without having to sell one of your kidneys!
1 – Stay free thanks to the House sitting
The concept? Keep the house and pets going on vacation. In exchange, you can stay on-site for free.
It has become my favorite mode of travel, I use it mainly in big cities, like in London where hotels are very expensive.
2 – Find cheap airline tickets
First of all, if you have the opportunity to leave on flexible dates, you can save a lot on your plane ticket. For example, I saved more than 150 $ on my ticket for Thailand by staggering my departure of 2 days. Flights booked at the last minute can also be very interesting!
Then you can also find good plans if you are open about your final destination. Tools like Kiwi.com allow you to search for “all destinations” and class results by price.
Finally, some flights are cheaper because they offer one or more very long stopovers. The difference in travel time is sometimes very important. But the price too! This is especially the case for flights between countries that are poorly connected.
I remember traveling 40 hours from the Dominican Republic to Nicaragua because of two stops – including one night – in the United States. I slept on the floor of Houston Airport (I was not the only one). In the end, I saved 1500 $ compared to other options.
Since I took a map PriorityPass that allows me to access areas Lounge – VIP of most airports. It’s very convenient for taking a shower, having a good meal, taking a nap on a comfortable sofa, or working with a quick WiFi. Without a pass, these lounges cost between 20 and 90 $ per use.
Do not forget to take into account the cost of checked baggage if it is not included in the ticket. Some companies only allow one piece of luggage in the cabin. If you travel loaded, the bill can quickly be salted. Also, think about checking the airport of arrival and the cost of transport – from this airport – to reach your destination. Tickets arriving at night or on national holidays may be cheaper, but taxis on arrival will certainly be more expensive.
For example, flights to Israel on Shabbat are cheap, but no public transportation is available. So you have to add 50 to 100 $ to join Tel Aviv or Jerusalem from Ben Gurion.
3 – Routes specialized sites on economic travel
There are 3 types of sites to travel cheap:
- Last minute deals, with LastMinute and PartirPasCher. These sites offer a search filter for close departures.
- Operators specialized in discounts. My favorite is VoyagesPirates. : It is possible to receive alerts from the site directly on his phone via WhatsApp.
- Private sales as on Private Sales often offer luxurious trips at a low cost. The competition is tough: you have to be among the first to buy in order to benefit from a stay at a very low price.
Attention: think to read the description of the trip and what is included or to add. I also recommend that you search for the hotel, when included in the offer, to ensure its cleanliness.
4 – Search for free activities at your place of stay
To find the list of free things to do, visit blogs and sites dedicated to travel. You will have better results if you do your research in English. But do not panic for 100% Francophones: there are enough resources in French.
You can search: “free things to do in” + name of the city for a result in English. The Lonely Planet website has made many lists of popular destinations like London.
For the French version, the principle is the same! Just search for “free things to” + city name. Travel sites like blogs Momondo, Skyscanner and HostelWorld are veritable gold mines.
On-site, tourist offices can guide you to free activities. Most cities offer many free activities, at one-time or unlimited times. In this list, we can find sports activities, access to parks, concerts, museums open to the public for free, or free tours and tours.
Some town halls also offer a calendar of upcoming cultural events and free events – directly on their sites. If you can not read the local language, the Chrome browser offers an automatic translation!
One of my techniques is to buy the backpacker guide for each of my destinations. I read all the pages “culture” and “history” during my trip, in addition to descriptions of the places I visit. I use the maps to orient myself and to know things to see.
5 – Join the MeetUp site to join free events
The MeetUp Site offers events in the city where you are. You can use some filters to display your centers of interest: sport, professional, social, evenings, linguistics, art, culture, cinema … there is something for everyone.
6 – Reserve your activities directly with the locals
Activities offered by local people are often cheaper than those of tour operators or remote booking sites.
TripAdvisor brings together local activities to do during his travels, as long as we are comfortable with their very busy user interface.
The Airbnb site recently offers experiences, that is to say, activities with people based on the spot. Just do a search of a city or country to view the proposed local experiences.
Among my favorites:
- the photoshoots for the so many memories, especially if traveling alone!
- the one-day tours, with a means of transport, that allow you to see many things in a short time,
- the activities local cultural. For example, I took flamenco lessons in Spain or Keliki painting in Bali.
7 – Find other travelers to benefit from group rates
If you stay in a hotel or hostel, you can ask travelers if they want to go on a group tour to a place you’ve spotted. If you are a small group, you can then negotiate the rates with a guide or a local tour operator.
It is also a good tip at the exit of the airports. Remember to ask your neighbors on the plane how they plan to reach the city center. Some will be happy to share a taxi with you.
Sites like Groupon make it possible to buy online with other people. It is a good alternative to benefit from group rates with a little advance.
8 – Go on the spot to find an excellent deal
In the low season, some theaters, restaurants or hotels are struggling to find customers. To fill their rooms or rooms, they are ready to offer last-minute discounts. You can you present before closing a window, a kitchen or early evening for hotels.
Finally, you take the risk of being rejected. But traveling cheap also comes with its own set of constraints
9 – Choose a credit card that offers points to redeem for travel
Some payment cards convert your purchases and the amounts you spend into points or ” miles ” for traveling. However, it is necessary to make a calculation between the price of the card and its advantages, to know if the annual cost of this card makes sense.
I use an American Express card that allowed me to enjoy a London-Amsterdam flight for a dozen euros. It also includes travel insurance, a concierge, and a PriorityPass card is included. Despite the high cost of the card – 500 € / year – I am a winner. All in all, I accumulate points for each expense and I receive other services that would have cost me more in a separate purchase.
10 -Take time to travel
To conclude, my best advice for traveling cheap is as follows: it is better to have time. You will have better rates if you commit to long term rentals. You can explore one continent at a time using the bus or train, rather than the plane, to get around. Finally, if you become fully nomadic, no more rent in your country of residence. It is also a sacred economy.
By becoming Digital Nomad, you will be able to let yourself be carried along with the good plans, without calendar constraints. Of course, this is not possible for everyone. But the idea is germinating in your head, so throw yourself!