Traveling the world is on most people’s bucket lists. It can cost a pretty penny, though. Luckily, there are “hacks” you can utilize to travel for less. Here are 9 of our favorites.
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Become a Host
Putting your house up on Airbnb is a great way to earn money for free. You will have to put in a bit of effort the first time you do it — creating a verified host profile, taking good photos of your properties, and filling in requisite details takes a while. After the first time, though, hosting takes very little effort beyond communicating with guests, and it can draw in a surprisingly large amount of money.
You might even be able to arrange a house swap on Craigslist or a home-swapping site like Home Exchange.
Find Flight Deals
Most people don’t realize how cheap airline tickets can be if you know where and when to look. For instance, don’t go to an airline’s site directly to look for fares. Kayak and Google Flights are two expert-recommended fare aggregation sites to head to instead. There are others that specialize in specific parts of the world, so do a bit of research.
There are even paid subscription services like Scott’s Cheap Flights that can save you even more on flights by pointing out mistake fares and flash sales for members.
Regardless of the site you’re using, book well in advance. Tickets booked months rather than days or even weeks in advance are usually much, much cheaper.
Cook In or Eat Local
In most countries, buying groceries and cooking for yourself is much cheaper than eating out. Make sure to ask around first about the most affordable place to get groceries.
We’re not suggesting you forego entirely local restaurants, but whipping up an omelet for breakfast or a sandwich for lunch will make you feel better about spending a bit more on a nice dinner outside.
There are also apps like EatWith that are kind of like Airbnb for meals. In other words, eat with a local family for a price lower than a restaurant. It’s a good way to eat authentic, homecooked food while saving money.
Utilize Travel Rewards Cards
Many credit cards earn you free miles for signing up and for every dollar spent. Make the
most of them, and you’ll get to fly literally for free!
For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card offers customers 50,000 miles of air travel if they charge $3,000 to the card within 3 months of getting it, and 2 miles for every dollar spent over the card’s lifetime. That stacks up, and it doesn’t even take very long. The membership fee for that card is $95/year, and it requires excellent credit.
There are many other travel rewards cards with different terms. Use one to fly cheap.
Find Free Accommodation
Use your network to find people in your destination city who will house you for free. For example, look for friends or family members who will put you up if you help pay for groceries.
You can also use Couchsurfing or a similar site to look for people who are willing to host for free. If it’s in a non-English-speaking country, the host probably wants a native speaker to practice the language with. Other hosts just like meeting new people and showing off their city.
Buy City Passes
Many cities offer passes to all their most popular tourist attractions that are cheaper than the admission to each attraction combined. If you’re interested in seeing a city’s most iconic landmarks, inquire about the pass online.
If you’re okay with seeing your destination from a more local perspective, travel for less experts recommends you not schedule your travel activities. Wandering around an area and not going to the typical tourist attractions is actually an excellent way to get a feel for the local flavor, and it’s very cheap.
Last-minute deals are also easy to find in most travel hotspots, so putting off your vacation planning can pay off big-time.
Work on the Go
Working for two or three hours a day is not the most fun vacation activity in the world, but it’s an effective way to fund your trip.
If you have any skillset that can be utilized online — coding, content writing, graphic design, voice acting, and more — then there is almost certainly a site that will help you find jobs you can do from anywhere with that skill. Mornings spent in a local cafe could pay for your afternoons and nights of traveling to your heart’s content.
By far, the best way to travel for less is to get advice on what to do from the locals. If you can learn a bit of the local language or have any local friends willing to advocate for you, use those resources to eschew guide books and get your travel for less tips directly from the people who know the area best.
If you’re lucky, you can use one of these house-sitting sites to find 100% free accommodation as long as you stay in it. Being chosen as a house-sitter is not easy — people are cautious about who to entrust their house. It helps if you are a girl, if you are in a relationship, if you are over 30, if you have a good job, and if you’re willing to go on a video call. Recommendations from other users on the site are a big help too. If you do manage to land a house-sitting gig, though, it’s a pretty sweet deal.
As you can see, it’s actually very feasible to travel for less if you do your homework. Once the coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, use these tips to begin seeing the world without going bankrupt.