“Money talks, but all it ever says is good-bye” – American Proverb
A guest article by Evan Fischer
Saving when you take to the skies isn’t always easy. With the cost of travel going up and up, you might start to wonder if you’re paying for every inch of altitude you gain when you step aboard an airplane. And yet, that doesn’t stop most people from seeking adventure in the farthest corners of the globe. But if you’re looking for ways to cut costs when you visit foreign countries (or even travel within your own borders), here are just a few ways that consummate travelers can lower expenses while still having the trip of a lifetime.
1. Traveler’s checks
It’s not entirely uncommon for local thieves to target unwary tourists, so even though you are probably smart enough to wear a money belt, consider taking traveler’s checks as a form of insurance against loss. Carrying cash and cards may be easier, but you could end up losing a lot of money that way (although your card company may refund you for fraud, you could also be on the hook for attendant recovery fees). Traveler’s checks are easy to obtain, insured against loss, and totally replaceable, even abroad.
2.Plan ahead This is absolutely imperative if you’re going to reduce prices on your trip. It will not only help you to save on major expenses like plane tickets and hotel rooms, but you can cut costs on the little stuff, as well (and it quickly adds up). This is not to say that you have to put together an itinerary for every meal and taxi, but getting a guide book that gives you plenty of options and then taking the time to circle services you’d like to try is going to alleviate both stress and spending when you’re on the go. P.S. A few great smartphone apps like Kayak, Urbanspoon, and Foursquare may also prove useful; just find a WiFi hotspot so you don’t have to pay for roaming charges to use them.
3. Pack light
Baggage fees can cost you a ton these days ($25-$35 per bag on each flight quickly adds up to a big expense). So pack smart and small. Get yourself a max-sized carry-on and fill it with only the essentials (remember, most hotels provide hair dryers, shampoo, and other amenities). Get multipurpose, wrinkle-free garments and buy more at your destination if you find you forgot something.
4. Get hostel
No, this doesn’t mean you should bully people into giving you better prices (although haggling is a time-honored tradition in many locales). Instead of staying at high-end hotels, save some dough by finding inexpensive hostels when you travel. They might not be the best accommodations (shared bathrooms at best, bunking with strangers at worst), but considering how little time most tourists spend in their room, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
5. Alternate transportation
Forget about hiring high-cost taxis when you travel. Instead opt for alternatives like cheap car hire services (believe it or not, flat-rate limos can sometimes cost less than cabs), multi-use train passes, and whatever the locals use (motorized rickshaws, for example). You can even get around on your own two feet for free (just bring comfy shoes), or save a ton by renting two wheels in bike-friendly cities.