Traveling for almost no money is very realistic and all about good planning. Figure out your travel style, goals, route, and finally the budget. Break down the average cost of food, accommodation, attractions, transportation, and other common expenses. Then try to find ways to minimize these expenses as much as possible, Here are some tips and tricks how to do that:
Find cheap flights
The flight costs end up most of the time taking the biggest part of the budget. Tricks like booking flights during the week, using Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights and routes or signing up for price alerts can save you loads on flying. Master the techniques of finding the cheapest flights and use them to your advantage.
Be flexible about your route and avoid cities when possible
One of the golden rules to a cheap traveling is flexibility. Be adventurous and go to places your guide book don’t mention. You won’t only skip tourist traps but also discover a lot of underrated beauties all over the world and get a closer look at the different cultures. Villages are very cheap compared to cities. If you still want to visit some bigger places, avoid cities like Paris or Zurich for example whenever possible.
Couchsurfing and hostels
Couchsurfing is a great way to save loads on accommodation expenses when you’re traveling. Meeting and staying with locals from all around the world doesn’t seem like a bad idea, right? You also get to explore the residential areas and see the unusual and non-touristic sides of daily life there. Choose your hosts very carefully and look for people you can relate to and don’t spam everyone.
Still, Couchsurfing is not always the safest option for most. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of sleeping at a stranger’s place, the best alternatives are hostels. Hostels are very cheap and also a great way to meet more like-minded people. Try to find a hostel with a kitchen and make your own food. Buy stuff from local supermarkets and try to save as much money as you can on restaurants.
Volunteering is not only a good opportunity to share your skills and knowledge with others but also to develop new skills and meet the locals. Many time you get offered free accommodation or lunch. A win-win situation.
Night traveling is often far cheaper than day traveling and the best part is, you also get to save money on accommodation for a night.
Use public transport or get a bicycle
Most cities that I’ve been to have transportation passes for an entire day or more. Take advantage of that. Taxis are a big no! if you’re staying in one city for more than few weeks, a great alternative to public transport is to get a bicycle. They’re usually very cheap if you buy a used one or rent depending on where you are. You can sell it again before you live.
Avoid ATM fees
ATM fees are a total rip off. Airport rates are usually no better. Go to local banks and check their exchange rates. This can literally save you hundreds on transactions per year.
City Pass and discounts
Many cities offer a city pass which makes entry to all the tourist attractions free and also public transportation are also included. Always purchase that it will save you a lot.