Cheapest Ways to Travel, Part Two: The Destination

Cheapest Ways to Travel

Here’s how to save precious moola on local transportation, lodging, and food.

When planning a vacation, the first thing you should do is make a plan to pay for it. And that doesn’t mean just putting the entire trip on your credit cards and worrying about it later! Doing so will put you in some pretty exclusive company; according to a study from LearnVest, 74 percent of Americans borrow money to pay for their travel.

(And if you absolutely must borrow money to travel, be certain to avoid dangerous bad credit loans and no credit check loans.)

But traveling affordably doesn’t just mean saving up to pay for it, it also means spending less on the stuff you do pay for. Our last Cheapest Ways to Travel blog post told you about the most affordable ways to get to a vacation (or business) location. Today we’re going to cover how you can keep saving money once you arrive.

The experts are back, and they’re (still) here to save you money!

Going public… again!

In our previous post, we talked about how you might want to consider public transportation to get where you’re going. But once you get there, you’ll have even more public transportation options!

Jessica Bisesto, senior editor for Travel Pirates (@TravelPiratesUS), weighed in on taking the public route: “Although taking a cab or Uber to and from the airport is convenient, it can also be costly. I recommend looking into the public transportation options available as they’re a great way to save money and see more of your destination city. Buses, trains, and ferries are fantastic means of transportation that will allow you to save big bucks on your next vacation.”

Award-winning author Shel Horowitz (@shelhorowitz) offered his own similar suggestion: “Instead of taxis, investigate walking, public transit and municipal bike rental services ahead of time.”

Even if you’re not big on public transportation, you can still keep your costs down, as Alex Reynolds of the Lost With Purpose (@lostwpurpose) travel blog advised us: “Of course, not everyone wants to deal with the hassle of finding a bus station or deciphering train schedules. That’s okay! If public transport isn’t your thing, carpooling is the next best option. Whether you’re sharing rides with friends, or finding rideshares through sites like Craigslist, carpooling isn’t just a cheap way to travel—sharing rides is more environmentally sustainable, too.”

Where to crash.

Unless it’s a camping trip, you’ll also need a place to stay. You don’t need a mansion (though you wouldn’t turn one down) but even reasonable lodging can get very expensive. You might be better off avoiding hotels entirely if you can manage it.

“Consider staying in someone’s house,” advised Horowitz, “through a homestay network like Servas or Couchsurfing, rather than in a hotel (great way to meet people, too).”

Roni Faida, of RoniTheTravelGuru (@RoniTravelGuru), also suggested skipping the hotel: “Stay in an apartment rental as opposed to a hotel. Most of the time the amount of space you get in an apartment rental is much bigger than a hotel room. Staying in an apartment also allows you to be able to cook some of your own meals which also helps with the travel budget.”

Bisesto is also on the alternative lodging train: “While luxury hotels can be desirable, they can also be expensive. For travelers looking to save money, explore different types of accommodations such as AirbnbVRBO, and HomeAway. What better way to dive into your next destination than by living like a local?”

If you do decide to go with a hotel, you should look carefully at the location. “Stay just outside of big cities,” Isar Meitis, president of Last Minute Travel (@LMTTweets), told us. “You’ll find more upscale hotels for around half the price and parking will be much more reasonably priced.”

However, if you want to go with the “renting a house idea,” Meitis supports that too: “If traveling with a small or large group, look into renting a vacation home. Splitting the cost of a three or four-bedroom home where you aren’t forced to eat in a restaurant for three meals a day can make a huge difference to your budget. In many cases, you can book a shared transfer or private transfer at a lower amount than taking a taxi. Instead of waiting in line, paying a high rate, and driving in a crummy car, you can have a designated driver waiting with your name, saving you a lot of time and often money.”

Watch what you eat.

One of the best parts of traveling is getting to try all of the local delicacies. But you need to make sure you have enough money to eat when you get back to your regular life!

As mentioned above, if you’re staying in a house or apartment with access to a kitchen, you can just cook for yourself as you would at home. “Bring your favorite oatmeal packs,” Faida suggested. “This will help you save money on breakfast while also giving you a hearty meal to start off the day.”

But even if you don’t have access to a kitchen, there are ways to save money on food. “A hotel offering a free breakfast saves you the price of a morning meal, and it makes you less likely to splurge on lunch,” Sean Potter, the writer behind My Money Wizard (@moneywizardblog), offered up as advice for hotel-goers. And that wasn’t all! “Don’t forget about Groupon deals when looking for places to eat, and a lot of destinations offer dining coupon books that can pay off quickly.”

Horowitz offered his own methods for saving on food and drink costs: “If the water is safe to drink, drink tap water. Optionally, buy—and bring—a reusable travel cup with a built-in filter. Bottled water is hugely unsound both economically and environmentally. Did you know that 3x as much water is wasted as gets in the bottle? Then there’s the petroleum impact, etc.”

And food? “Eat in restaurants only once a day. Buy picnic food from local farmers markets and grocery stores, or specialty shops (fruit, cheese, bread, etc.)”

Take the advice in this post and the previous one, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a traveling money saving master!

Do you have any great tips for traveling on the cheap? We want to hear about them! You can email us by clicking here or you can find us on Twitter at @OppLoans.

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J_BisestoJessica Bisesto is a senior editor at the travel deals and inspiration hub (@TravelPiratesUS), where she hunts for the best travel deals available online and educates readers about how to see the world on a budget. She’s an avid traveler herself, and has recently backpacked through Southeast Asia, Central America, Iceland and Australia.
R_FaidaRoni Faida (@RoniTravelGuru): Some people travel. Roni  IS travel.  For over 25 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique travel lifestyle and insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, . Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you see how to turn your vacations into a lifestyle.
S_HorowitzAvid traveler Shel Horowitz (@shelhorowitz) works with business to create and market profitable products that turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. His award-winning 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, is available at his website,
I_MeitisIsar Meitis is the President of Last Minute Travel (@LMTTweets) and oversees the e-commerce branch of the B2C sites of Travel Holdings. He graduated with an MBA in International Marketing from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and has 15 years of international experience in travel, business development, and marketing.
Money_WizardSean Potter is the 20-something writer behind (@moneywizardblog), a website where he shares his plans for reaching complete financial independence by his late 30s. His approach to saving over half of his income has been featured in several publications, including Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. When he’s not writing, Sean can be found cycling, skiing or traveling the country.
A_ReynoldsAlex Reynolds (@lostwpurpose) is an American travel writer, photographer, and full-time backpacker whose work has been featured on the likes of the BBC and Lonely Planet. She’s scrambled up dusty fortresses in Afghanistan, watched gods dance in South India, followed spirit dogs through the Caucasus mountains, and called fairies with a shaman in Pakistan. Her travel blog, Lost With Purpose, helps others do the same.

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