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Travelling is one of the greatest pleasures in life. It is “the only thing you buy and gets you richer”, as one of those inspiring anonymous phrases on the internet would say. While this is the biggest dream of most people, a trip is always costly and every dollar saved can help you to plan the next destination. The great news is, during our travel around the world, we learned a few tricks to make your travel cheaper. So, here you have 12 ways to save money travelling!

1 – Choose the best time to travel
save money travelling

The majestic Taj Mahal

If you are the type that has the flexibility to take vacations, try to avoid the high season.

The cost of everyday things will be higher than average, let alone the ticket to get there. For example, summer vacations in Europe run from July to September, when all Europeans are travelling. The price for accommodation, food and transportation goes up. Getting to know the old continent in the spring or fall is as enjoyable and you still avoid the crowds of tourists.

Have you already seen our Facebook page and Instagram?!
 2 – Book hotel well in advance or only on arrival

Booking the hotel well in advance (3 months before) usually makes it cheaper. If your holiday was planned last-minute, you’d better wait to book a hotel when you get to the place.

We normally look for discounts on websites (booking.com, hostelworld.com or agoda.com) and write down the addresses of the most cost-effective accommodations without booking anything.

>> Did you know that if you book your hotel through our website, you pay the same as on Booking’s website, but you help us carry on with Monday Feelings 😉


Booking.com


After that, we take a tour of the city centre and knock door to door asking for room price. In the end, we always find something much cheaper than what we’ve seen on the internet (many of the cheap lodgings are not listed on Google because they do not have websites). If you do not find it, you already have the address of the hotel you searched on the internet. Just head over there.

For all these years on the road, I think we booked in advance just one hotel and never had a problem finding where to sleep.

3 – Getting around without travel agencies
save money travelling

Tourist boat arriving in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

When travelling, many tourists choose to go to a travel agency and buy their tickets (bus, boat or train for example). This option will always be more expensive. Look for the transportation that the local people use.

Often, the information to get somewhere is confusing, especially in places like Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, but be persistent. As much as the agency workers, or the taxi driver says there is no other option, there is a good chance they are saying this just to get you to do business with them.

A good tip is to get away from the place where the agency or taxis are located, go to a bar or restaurant and try to speak about it with the locals. They will surely help you.

This happens a lot with us. We pay the local price to take a boat to some island and we see other tourists taking the same transport, but paying double because they booked through a travel agency.

4 – Work while travelling
save money travelling

Volunteering in Kenya for five months

This is an option that has grown more and more among travellers. Sites like WorkAway, WWOOF, Worldpackers and Helpx offer volunteer work of different types and in various corners of the world in exchange for housing and food. Besides the savings, you will still have the opportunity to get to know the local culture deeply and, perhaps, to help with a great project.

5 – Couchsurfing
save money travelling

Couchsurfing in Indonesia

Sites like Couchsurfing, which connect travellers with locals, are very useful and you stay at people’s homes at no cost. It is a tool that goes beyond cost zero because you know your destination through the eyes of a local.

6 – Hitchhiking
save money travelling

Hitchhiking in Malaysia

This tip does not fit for everyone because a lot of people are afraid of it. We put this topic here to say that we have travelled this way and met other travellers who are also hitchhikers (including a guy who travelled from Poland to Thailand just hitchhiking) and never heard of any negative cases.

Incredibly, the world is not full of psychopaths ready to kidnap you. It is far from it. Most people are good and they want just to help you. Besides, we don’t think that this is some crazy people’s tactics, like: “I’m gonna take my car and drive around until someone ask for a lift and then, bang, I’ll kidnap and steal everything from them! (can you hear the malefic laugh at the back?)”.

Our rides are almost always accompanied by an invitation to have a coffee, to have lunch or even to sleep in the person’s house. Transportation is a big expense in the budget of whoever travels and hitchhikes goes for free and is still fun!

7 – Bla Bla Car

Another idea that has become increasingly popular among travellers is the collaborative carpooling site Bla Bla Car. They are present in several countries in Europe and, more recently, in Brazil as well. The site connects car owners who are going alone to a certain place, with people who need a ride to the same destination. The costs of the trip are divided between all. Beyond the comfort of a car, it always comes cheaper than travelling by bus.

We have used the site several times to travel around Brazil and Germany. We’ve always had great experiences that have given us new friends.

8 – Camping
save money travelling

Free camping on a deserted beach in Thailand

This is one of the best ways to save money, especially for free camping enthusiasts.

Putting your tent in any corner does not cost anything! Even for those who do not plan to camp during the trip, it is always good to have a tent in hand. In case of overcrowding or expensive prices, you can ask to set it up in the backyard of a hotel / hostel and use the facilities of the place paying half the price of a room.

9 – Bargaining
save money travelling

Bazaar in Iran

Sounds silly, but every price is negotiable. Even when the value is written and stipulated. Just imagine: you arrive late to a place, the hotel is practically empty, no one else is going to arrive at that time. It is better for the hotel owner to have someone staying there for a lower price, than not having anyone. It’s a win-win situation, most of the times.

Most recently, I emailed an Amsterdam hotel asking if they could offer me a better price than what I had found on their website and on Booking.com. Guess what, they lowered the price by US$ 30! Just because I had the guts to ask.

The trip taught us to haggle for everything: sightseeing, transportation, hotel, food, rental of things and so on. And we found that almost all prices are negotiable and it’s all part of the art of travel 😉

10 – Have you considered searching for “any destination” on Skyscanner?

This tool is incredible. All you have to do is indicate your point of departure and the specific date you are looking for. The flight search engine allows you to find cheap low-cost airline tickets to almost every corner of the world. Are you going to have this adventure?

11 – Do not arrive in the cities late, when it is already dark, so you can search calmly
save money travelling

Rome

Try planning to get to places during the day because at night everything gets more difficult. Arriving at a bus station at night with only taxi drivers around does not give you much mobility option. You will end up with no other options and will have to pay the asking price. The same is to look for a hotel: It is not advisable to go wandering around an unknown city at night.

12 – Ask to work

If for some reason accommodations will be more expensive than planned, you can try to negotiate with the owner of the place to work in exchange for a discount or free accommodation. This happened to us in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

We stopped at the island right on time of the famous Full Moon Party (read more) and it was impossible to find a bed for less than US$ 20. When we stop at one of the hostels, we offered to work in the bar or reception of the place in exchange for discounts on our accommodation, and it worked! We ended up being called to work on a party that would happen in a few days and we won 70 dollars!

We also worked in Malaysia promoting the hostel we were in exchange for accommodation and drink.