Travel is a great way to expand your cultural horizons, meet new friends and reconnect with old ones, but it can get expensive. How do our bloggers do it without breaking the bank?
For those of you who are traveling overseas with a group of friends, I would suggest renting apartments instead of hotel rooms. I travel with 3 other friends and we have found the apartments to have more space, free Wi-Fi and cheaper than getting 2 hotel rooms. Although this seems to be changing in some places, the apartments usually don’t include the high tax rate that hotels carry.
The locations are right in the heart of where you want to be, and you can save money by cooking your own meals and doing laundry (if washer and dryer are included). Most places include free Wi-Fi, or at the very least a computer available to use which is a huge plus--and savings, too. Also, you get great local information from the owners.
We have used most of the popular sites like www.homeaway.com; www.airbnb.com and www.vrbo.com with good success when looking for place for 4 or more nights. For less than 4 nights, www.craigslist.com has been a great resource using search for vacation rentals by owner. Many of these will have a broker, but we have found them helpfully for finding and negotiating apartments for less than 3 nights. The rules we follow are: do not pay for the entire stay upfront; an acceptable deposit rate of no more than 1 night (unless through one of the sites); and there must be recent pictures of every room.
If you are planning on hopping around a lot, this may not be a great choice. However, if you are staying in one city for a week, I highly suggest considering the option.
Look at condo options at your vacation destination as opposed to a traditional hotel room. Condos come with fully-equipped kitchens, which means you can cook and don’t have to dine out every meal. A two-bedroom or three-bedroom condo split amongst a group of friends often ends up being much less expensive than everyone getting their own hotel room, and also provides a place to hang out after a night out!
Check out Couchsurfing and ASW. These are great resources to meet locals where you'll be traveling! Don't over plan your trip. If your itinerary reads more like a meeting agenda, you'll miss the out on great spontaneous opportunities that may present themselves. I traveled through Thailand and was able to get my scuba diving certification and attend the Half Moon Festival, all because I didn't schedule myself to the minute. Increase your potential for adventure!
While some of you out there may not appreciate this tip, bunking with family is always a great way to save while traveling. I’m lucky to have family that is spread out on several continents, including both coasts (West and East), Europe and SE Asia. If I’m looking to save a few $$$ on lodging, I could simply choose one of those destinations to travel to and I have. So go out there and look up your long lost 3rd cousin and save some dollars while traveling!
How do you save money while traveling?