Last Updated on Apr 2, 2020 by Aradhana Gotur

From shortlisting the travel destination to booking tickets and sorting your stay, travelling takes extensive planning. Moreover, depending on your preferences when exploring places, your travelling expenses can often go overboard. But with some will, research, and money-saving hacks, you can definitely make serious savings. Let’s explore some money-saving travel hacks to help you save.

Use VPN to compare and book flight tickets

Airlines use ‘dynamic pricing’ strategy to set their ticket fares. This means they charge each customer based on the location of booking their ticket. Therefore, keeping your location private and comparing flight tickets will help you bag the best deals. You can do this by browsing travel tickets on a VPN. Check for ticket prices at several countries and book the one available at the lowest price.

Another noteworthy fact is that airplanes track your search behaviour through cookies. When you revisit a site to book the cheapest ticket, airplanes inflate the ticket price slightly, which adds to your travelling cost. To curb such an expense, clear your cache before revisiting a site or browse through a private network so that cookies don’t recognise you.

Ditch hotels and go for alternative stay options

There are many ways that can dramatically bring down your staying costs when travelling. For solo travellers, the best option is a hostel, which is similar to dormitory-style accommodation that offers a bed instead of an entire room. The beauty of such accommodation is that you save on costs and also meet like-minded people.

Alternatively, if you are travelling with your family, you can book an Airbnb at a competitive price. Here, depending on your needs, you can choose from various stay options such as a private room, a shared room or even an entire property. For convenience, look for an Airbnb that offers free meals and shared spaces like a kitchen, living room and lounges.

Carry a reusable water bottle

While staying hydrated when travelling is vital, it is all the more important to carry your own water bottle if you wish to save money (and do your bit to protect the environment). Regular travellers will know how they end up spending a lot on buying bottled water. To avoid this, carry a reusable water bottle that you can fill up on the go at hotels and stores (when you shop for something else) for free or at a nominal price. If you don’t trust the tap water to be clean, invest in a bottle that has an inbuilt filter. Not only will this keep you hydrated at a minimal cost, but also help you dodge water-borne diseases.

Cook your meals and eat like a local

Eating outside when travelling can also add a fair bit to your travelling costs. To keep food expenses in control, book a hostel or an Airbnb with communal areas like a kitchen. Doing this will allow you to shop in local markets and cook your own meals at a low cost. Packing essentials such as oil and spices will also make cooking easy. Though you will have to spare some time here, you can save significantly. When you need some time off from cooking, try the local street food or takeaway dinner from a local restaurant.

Scout for free walking tours and attractions around the city

Among other travel hacks, choosing an affordable way of exploring your destination is also effective. Hiring a tour guide or bus to explore the city is the thing of the past. Firstly, this can be expensive. Secondly, you may have to hurry through their itinerary, which will not allow you to explore the city at your own pace. The best alternative is to google free walking tours happening in the city. This has two benefits: you get a local guide who only expects a tip in return and you get to look at the city from a local’s perspective.

Plan your local conveyance strategically

Hiring a taxi to explore the city is extremely convenient but comes with high costs. A budget alternative would be to compare public transport options and choose cost-effective ones. Check if your destination has well-connected metro, buses, and local trains. If yes, do some homework about the routes and fares, and come up with a conveyance plan to move from one place of interest to another.

If the city doesn’t have well-connected public transport, you can look for self-drive car services and bike rentals, which are anytime better than hiring a taxi. Finally, you can also explore the new option called a relocation car rental. Here, you can drive back a car belonging to a rental company from your starting point to one of their branches in your destination, at an affordable fare.

Look for flight packages with long layovers and affordable stopover

Booking affordable flight tickets is also one of the best money-saving travel hacks you can come across. Non-stop and direct planes can cost you more than connecting flights and those having layovers. Of course, you’d go for the former as changing multiple flights and passing time at the airport waiting for the next flight can be annoying. But you can’t save bucks for nothing. And connecting flights and long layovers help you explore the place if it interests you.

Think about it in this way, you don’t have to plan an entirely new trip and bear the costs to explore the place. Even if the place doesn’t interest you, an additional name will be added to the list of all the places you visit. Sometimes, flights with layovers also offer stay and tour package for free or at a lower cost. So, why not make the best use of this?

Make the most of your credit card

It doesn’t make sense to avail a new credit card solely for travel purposes, at least not if you don’t travel regularly. But if you already possess one, you can save a lot on using it. From exciting discounts and offers on booking travel tickets to hotels, and rewards and cashback on transactions, a travel credit card is a frequent traveller’s best friend. Besides, such a credit card also offers complimentary and subsidised airport lounge services, which can save you some money.

Pack wisely and weigh your bags before locking them

This is among one of the many fool-proof travel hacks (no kidding). Each airplane has weight restrictions on luggage, including the handbag, that you carry. If your luggage surpasses their maximum weight allowance, you will be charged a hefty fee. Save on such a fee by weighing your luggage and modifying its content before finally zipping up your bags.

There you go! Make the most of these money-saving travel hacks and maybe, use the savings to fund your next travel.

Aradhana Gotur