When you travel abroad, you are exposed to scams and usually, you end up losing money – because that’s what you call it when you spend extra cash for things that would otherwise be a lot cheaper.
But today I will share with you some important tips to start saving your money during your holiday / vacation abroad.
This is especially useful to beginner travelers who didn’t get the chance to experience all this – I know I got burned so many times that I’ve now learned my lesson.
Don’t do the same mistakes and follow these tips to save money during your vacation!
1. Smart Flight Booking
Don’t rely on just one website to book your flights. Compare prices across multiple platforms and always check the airline’s official site, which often offers the best deals.
Pro tip: Booking well in advance, can save you a significant amount. Just make sure that your dates are 100% set in stone.
2. Opt for Rentals Over Hotels
If you are not going to the beach where you need a pool and hotel to relax and you plan to explore a country or city, try finding a place to rent rather than staying at a hotel.
Websites like AirBnb are well known for what they offer – but nowadays Booking also offers apartment rentals, as well as other platforms.
I know that recently, prices have increased a lot and sometimes hotels can end up cheaper that AirBnbs, especially for short term deals… but take some time to double check prices, as you might end up with some really pleasant surprises.
3. Follow the Locals
Follow the locals: they certainly know where to get the best rates. For example, in Paris cafes, you will pay more than double the price of a coffee if you decide to drink it while sitting at a table instead of drinking it standing at the bar or take it on the go!
Pay attention at what the locals do and follow their lead. You will save a lot of money this way and you will always know that you will eat/drink in popular locales with high quality and fresh content!
Basically, if a place is packed by locals – that’s where you want to be. If it’s full of tourists, stay away from it unless you really know you want to be there (and you’re ready to pay a premium for that).
4. Take Advantage of City Passes and Online Deals
Many cities offer passes with discounts on various attractions, and/or public transportation too.
If such passes aren’t available, book activities and tickets online in advance. Online bookings often come with special discounts – and don’t be afraid to get all the coupons and bonuses you can find.
5. Be Savvy with Souvenirs
Souvenirs can quickly drain your budget. Think twice before buying and shop around. In some countries, like Turkey, bargaining can lead to substantial savings.
Make sure to also read about this must-see attraction in Turkey, no matter what budget you’re traveling on.
And make sure that the things you buy are actually useful and the recipients will enjoy them. Some things seem interesting at first sight, but maybe it’s better to buy a local chocolate or something like this instead of an useless trinket.
These 5 money saving tips should help you keep some extra money in your pockets instead of putting them in the pockets of the locals who want to scam you.
6. Currency Exchange Tips
Exchanging currency is a critical part of travel, but it can be an endless pit for losing money if you’re not paying attention.
First of all, avoid airport exchanges, exchanges in hotels or train/bus stations (or any touristy area) as they often have the worst rates possible.
Instead, opt for local banks or ATMs, which generally offer more favorable rates. Be cautious with ATM fees and check your bank’s policies on international withdrawals.
Even better, have a card with modern companies like Wise, Revolut or Payoneer (among many) to ensure ideal rates when traveling. I personally use Wise and it has saved me A TON.
And if you’re wondering how to make that money in the first place, you can read my previous article sharing the best ways to make money while traveling the world.
7. Eating on a Budget: Follow the Locals!
This goes hand in hand with tip #3, but I wanted to go a bit more in depth.
Since food is a significant part of the travel experience, it usually ends up breaking the bank because we tend to go to all the restaurants recommended online.
But you should be smart and skip tourist-heavy restaurants (at least for the most part) and find where the locals eat.
These places often offer better, more authentic food at lower prices.
And if all goes wrong, street food is not only cheap but also a good option for sampling out the local cuisine.
And if your accommodation allows it, self-catering is a great option that saves you plenty of money. Eat your breakfast at home, maybe dinner or lunch too (or pack a sandwich) and only eat out once.
Purchasing from local markets and cooking a few meals can save you a considerable amount of money.
8. Free or Low-Cost Attractions: Discover More for Less
Many cities offer a wealth of free or low-cost experiences that are usually just as fun (if not more so) than those you have to pay for.
Look for free walking tours to get a local’s insight into the city (although tipping is expected). Check a website like Showaround and you’re all set!
Public museums, historical sites, and local parks or even botanical gardens often have no or minimal entry fees. Or at least there are some days of the week when you can visit for free.
City events and parties are a great way to mingle with locals – if you happen to be in a city when it takes place.
Large cities usually have one event every weekend, sometimes even during the weekdays.
During our time in large capital cities like Budapest or Prague or Vienna, we simply started walking around the streets and would randomly end up at some sort of event or festival.
9. Travel Insurance: A MUST Have
Yes, I know that this is a delicate topic and many people are wary when they see bloggers speaking about travel insurance.
But it’s a must!
While it might seem like an unnecessary expense, it can actually save you money in the long run.
You most likely will never have to use it – and hope that you don’t. But it’s enough to have one emergency and you’ll end up unloading tons of cash.
It happened to my wife when we were in Olympic Beach, Greece – but we fortunately had travel insurance when she had a medical emergency. Otherwise, we would’ve had to pay hundreds of Euros out of our own pockets for the medical bills.
Choose a policy that suits your travel needs and understand what is covered. Travel insurance usually provides a safety net against unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage.
And the cost is, in the end, pretty low compared to what you get in return should you need it.
10. Travel Smart Locally
Taking advantage of the local transportation options in the places you visit can significantly reduce travel costs.
Yes, Ubers and taxis might be cheap here and there, but they’re never going to be cheaper than the bus.
Plus, you don’t risk getting scammed by a taxi driver, which can also be counted as saved money.
For even better savings, research multi-use tickets or day passes or even multiple day passes. It might even be cheaper to get a monthly card, even if you only stay 2-3 weeks in the city. Do your research.
In bike-friendly cities, consider renting a bicycle or using a bike-share program for an inexpensive and healthy way to travel around. This is something I unfortunately can’t do as I am unable to ride a bike… but most people can.
Finally, don’t hesitate to use your feet. Many cities are walkable and you will also end up finding all sorts of attractions traveling by foot. Find a hotel in the city center, and you’re all set!
These are the 10 tips I always use to make sure that I don’t spend any unnecessary money whenever I travel.
Do you have additional tricks that you use to reduce costs when traveling? Share them with us all by commenting below.