Saving for your next vacation or wanderlust adventure can be a headache. Don’t let it be. There are a wide variety of baby steps you can take in order to bring ease to your travel savings plan. Below are another sixteen ways in which to do just that. This is part two of our 32 budgeting tips. Part one can be found HERE. Most of these strategies have been tested and approved by yours truly. If you take them seriously and go into these ideas with a strong will, they can have a gratifying payoff.
17. Research Local Museums, Events, and Festivals
There are so many spots that can be seen for free. Embrace google before you depart and make a list of all that will be going on while you’re there. Do they give student discounts or are there set days that are free to the public? Find out. Be sure to fill your calendar with these deals so you can properly manage your time and your money.
18. Choose A More Affordable Travel Destination
Keep up on the international exchange rates and world economy. Take note of where the currency is down and make a list. Currently- Bali, China, S. Korea, Central America, Thailand, Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Bulgaria), and India are some of the best examples of exotic travel for a fraction of the price. There are many areas in the US as well. Stay current with your travel subscriptions, news, and sites in order to get the latest and make sure your next travel destination is from that list.
19. Buy Used Equipment For Your Trip
Know what you want and what you’re willing to pay for used equipment. REI often has classes, rentals, and loads of returns, which often leads to quarterly garage sales. You have to be a member, a small lifetime membership fee of $20, but it’s definitely well worth it. In addition, check online with websites such as GearTrade.com, GearX.com or The MEC’s Gear Swap Page. Backpacker.com comprised a pretty amazing list of “The Best Used Gear Shops,” which were voted in by their readers. I suggest giving that a look as well. Keep an eye out for personal garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, maybe even track a few things on
Keep an eye out for personal garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, maybe even track a few things on Ebay or Amazon. Call your local University and see if they have an outdoors club. If so, ask when their next sale for used gear would be because where there’s an outdoors club, there’s surely a mountain of used gear. Whichever direction you choose to go for your used gear, be sure to research what works for you so you’re ready when your gear comes up in the sales window. To save even more money, you could even resell the gear afterward, either at your travel location or once you return home.
20. Always Take Public Transportation
Be it bus, metro, train or ferry, public transportation is always the less expensive way to go. You can usually find it in every major city you travel to. It’s ow the locals get around so It’s also a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. In the end, it will save you a ton of cash. But, just like everything else with your travels, take steps to research each Countries systems. What do they cost, how do they work, how late do they run, and where exactly do they go? Know the answers to these questions before you leave. The more you plan, the less you’ll look like a lost tourist, which means you’ll be less likely to have a target glaring high over your head.
21. Get Yourself A Change Jar!
Put it in a jar and let it accumulate. It could add up to dinner out or a plane ticket. If you think it’s ugly, then be discreet about it. Our change jar happens to be a tall fancy ceramic vase and nobody is the wiser. It blends right into our decor. When we have loose change, we toss it in the vase. The last time we cashed it in, we got about $300.00 out of it. Every. Little. Bit. Helps. Don’t waste your change between the cushions of your couch. Save it, for a rainy travel day.
22. Invite Friends
The more the merrier right? Absolutely… and it can save you some cash. Whether it’s a camper van or a hotel, bunking with a mate will always bring the cost down. It’s also a safer way to travel and sometimes, more convenient. Each individual can share various tasks, cooking detail, or driving duties. Traveling with others is an enriching experience so why not save some money in the meantime. Bring a few friends, share the journey, share the cost… Win/Win.
23. Utilize WiFi or SIM Cards For Your Calls Out
Many people opt to use Wi-Fi while they are abroad. It’s free and (usually) it’s an immediate way to connect. For this purpose, Whats App, Viber, and Skype are all excellent apps for communication. They allow you to easily call, vid chat, or text your friends and family by utilizing your phone’s Internet connection. As long as you’ve installed and activated them before your trip, you can then use them without any additional steps. The key to keeping your calls free while abroad is to always use these apps while being connected to Wi-Fi instead of your data plan.
However, sometimes wifi can be hard to come by. At those times, you may want to consider purchasing a local SIM card (with 1 GIG of data) for approximately $10-$25. Before you leave home, have your phone unlocked by calling your carrier. They will only unlock your phone if your contract is up. When you get to your destination, turn off your roaming. Purchase a local “pay as you go” SIM card and switch it out for your original SIM card (be sure to put the original in a safe place so you can replace it once you’re home). That’s it. That new SIM card should last a few weeks and you’ll be able to use your phone as you would back home.
24. Priority Pass For The Airport
Priority Pass is a network of airport lounges in over 120 countries. The company was created in 1992 and currently claims to be the largest airport lounge network in the world. By paying a yearly membership of $100-$399, these lounges allow you to sit down, stretch out, enjoy a pre-flight bite, and drink from the selection available, including free alcohol at most lounges. And with free Wi-Fi in most of the lounges, you’ll never be out of touch with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether traveling for pleasure or for work, if you travel a lot, a Priority Pass may be a great investment for you.
25. Utilize Ride Sharing Apps
Most countries now have a variety of ride sharing apps. Use them. They are traceable, the price is set, and most drivers will speak your language. No more bartering the fare of your taxi before you take off, only to have the driver increase the fair as you go.This is a great way to budget your travel and stick to that budget. However, each country’s car services are branded under different names so be sure to research before you go.
26. When You Do Dine Out, Utilize The 6 Block Rule
This rule is an easy one… If you want to dine out, go 6 blocks past the barrage of tourist options, then start your search for dining options. It just seems to be a consistently successful way to find the good stuff; the local stuff. Get out of the overpriced tourist circle. It’s a good way to see your surroundings anyway. Once you’ve walked six blocks, observe where the locals are going and follow them.
27. Travel Discount Cards
There are travel discount cards that have been consistently lending out discounts for years. Make sure to take advantage of them. I’ve listed a few of the more popular cards below.
ISIC- The International Student Identity Card is for full-time students 12 years of age and older, currently seeking a degree at an accredited institution. The cost of the card is $25 per year. There is also an upgrade called the ISIC Explorer which, provides better insurance coverage, covering mental health and as well as adventure travel.
IYTC- The International Youth Travel Card is a discount card for travelers under 26 who aren’t enrolled in school. It offers loads of discounts, not quite as many as The International Student Identity Card but it is still well worth the $22 per year. Free travel insurance is also included.
ITIC- The International Teacher Identity Card gives you similar benefits towards travel as the first two mentioned but this card is teachers only. It can be purchased at $25 per year. If you teach, this card is a must have.
ISEC- The International Student Exchange Card is only issued to travelers under 26. This card comes with a “Youth” version and a “Student” version. Though there are more discounts with the student version, the youth version is also well worth the investment.
Hostel Discount Cards- often offer discounts off of your stay and are a great option if hostels are a regular routine in your travel itinerary. There a few different versions of these cards and though they can be hit and miss, they’re definitely worth looking into. Hostelling International has a discount card which works like a loyalty card. There is also the Hostel World Gold Card. This card saves you approximately $2 on every hostel you book through their site and it only costs $15. They’re also known to periodically send out free 6-month membership codes to random people who follow them on twitter and facebook.
VIP Backpackers Card- This backpacking card can be utilized for discounts on tours, airfare, accommodations, and activities. The card costs $47 per year and can be used towards 1,200 locations worldwide. It also comes complete with a guidebook on discounts for over 80 different countries.
28. Tourism/City Cards
These cards are similar to Travel Discount cards but are more loosely based. You’ll have to do some research for these. Specifically, see if you can find region-specific Tourism/City cards for local museums, restaurants, and hotels. This is a great place to start- WeLoveCityCards.com These cards often come and go and their prices vary they do bring in a boost to tourism so businesses love them. Ask your local hotel or rental company if they offer any. They’re fast becoming the modern way to see the best each city has to offer and for a fraction of the price.
29. How To Get Free Airline Tickets
1. Volunteer to Get Bumped from your seat. Airlines seem to be in great need of this lately. Many individuals don’t want to give up their seat, volunteer yours and they’ll usually work with you to get you additional credit for future travel. 2. Redeem your credit card rewards. 3. Save up your frequent flier miles- the more you travel, the more you can save.
30. Got Kids?… Get Them In On The Savings
Get your kids in on the action by letting them utilize their allowance and/or chores towards their travel adventures. Let them have an influence on the trip so that the whole experience is shared and educational. Have them apply for a grant. Grandparents.com is an online grant that children can apply to, through their family. It’s like a “Go Fund Me” for kids. For example, “Grandchildren applying to their grandparents for a travel grant, for the purpose of a shared trip, gives children the opportunity to choose where they want to go, do research on their chosen destination, and write a proposal as to why they want to visit that specific place.” So get the kids in on it, let them experience the journey, from start to finish and save a little in the process.
Remember that Savings Account I mentioned in part one?… Well, this is a new social banking startup that is quickly growing in popularity. SmartyPig is a savings program designed to help people save for specific goals. Goals can easily be funded with recurring contributions from an existing checking/savings account. So you can set it and forget it. They also help you stay on track with a goal planner, helpful reminders, competitive interest rates, referral bonuses and more. With tiered interest rates, the more you save, the better rate you can earn. I heard about this online savings option from a few fellow travelers. With rates up to 1.15% APY, $0 in account fees, $0 needed for a minimum deposit, and a FDIC insurance of up to $250,000, it’s no small wonder as to why this savings plan is so popular. Need more info. Here it is again, explained in 1 minute and 10 seconds – https://youtu.be/8n0pasfK75o
32. Travel Grants
There are Pulitzer Travel Grants, Road Trip Nation Travel Grants, and The Fulbright Grant Program, just to name a few. If you are young, old, a journalist, rock star or mathematician, current student, graduate, or non-college graduate, there is always a grant for you. You just need to be specific in your ideas. Often times you’ll need to bring your ideas to a board, to pitch your passion. The competition is fierce but if you remain consistent and your overall goal is strong then you may be the perfect candidate.
GrantWatch.com is a good starting point. Their site consistently provides info on government and foundation grants that are currently available. VolunteerForever.com is another great reference, their blog post: “200 Volunteer Abroad & Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants,” is extremely thorough and serves as a fantastic resource for any future Grant you may be considering.