Frugal Wanderlust: How To See The World On A Budget
With summer on its way, you only have so many weeks left to save up for your holiday in the sun. If your last check-in with your savings revealed you’re far from your goal, don’t despair. Saving up all of your extra cash until your piggy bank is bursting with Benjamins isn’t the only way you’ll see the world this summer. By using the right tools at the right time, you can keep your costs low. Keep reading and find out the best ways to save on your next trip, so your unchecked desire to travel won’t put your finances at risk.
Don’t Pay Full Price For Your Flights
You can find a return flight from LaGuardia to Miami for under $100, but flights this cheap aren’t always available once you leave the good old US of A. If you plan on taking your trip overseas, the cost of air travel will eat up most of your budget. You can make sure it only takes a modest bite out of your fun money by using the travel app Hopper.
We’ve all heard the rumor that there’s a specific time when it’s best to buy your tickets. Rather than rely on hearsay passed down from your second cousin twice removed, Hopper sends you reliable notifications when the cheapest price is available for your preferred destination. It won a Google Play Award in 2016 for its ability to shave off up to 40% off of flights, so you know it’s legitimate.
Consider Taking The Couch
Next to flights, accommodations are one of the most expensive elements of any trip. You can eliminate this cost altogether if you’re willing to be a little brave and create a profile on Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is an online travel community that lets you connect with locals who are willing to offer you their couch or spare bedroom for free! It’s also a great way to make new friends with people who can give you a local’s look at your destination.
Use An App To Find Your Accommodations
Couchsurfing isn’t for everyone. It takes an extroverted personality who’s willing to take a chance on a stranger. If you’d rather have your own place without relying on a stranger’s good will, turn to your phone again to find the best prices on hotels, bed and breakfasts, or AirBnBs.
With AirBnB on your iPhone, you can rent an apartment in downtown Barcelona or a loft overlooking the canals in Amsterdam. The cost of these private apartments is usually much lower than the average hotel, and it’s like you’re actually living like a local with all of the privacy and convenience of your own home.
Though AirBnB is a secure and reliable way of finding a place to stay, there have been mix ups in the past that left travellers stranded and hosts furious. Hotel Tonight can save you if you ever find yourself in a position where you aren’t sure where to lay your head at night. Should your flight get delayed and you miss your reservation or your hostel ends up being above a bar without any noise insulation, tap open the Hotel Tonight app and it will connect you with a clean, quiet room in under 10 seconds. You also get a deal on these accommodations, since Hotel Tonight partners with local hotels that are willing to drop their prices in order to fill their remaining empty rooms.
Consider An Installment Loan
At the risk of sounding alarmist, problems with your accommodations aren’t the only things that can go wrong while on vacation. Though it’s the last thing you want to think about, it’s a good idea to consider some contingency plans. It’s why you signed up for traveller’s insurance, and why you should consider an installment loan to cover other emergencies that you didn’t budget for.
You could get slapped with a speeding ticket during your drive along the French countryside, or you could scrape the side of your rental car as you attempt to parallel park along narrow European streets — only after you declined the accidental damage insurance. Your AirBnB can fall through and you end up spending more on accommodations than you budgeted, even with the help of Hotel Tonight. There are a lot of reasons why your trip may get expensive. A personal cash advance can help you cover these unexpected hiccoughs.
While traditional lenders will require in-person meetings and lengthy review processes before they lend you the cash you need, CABs (or Credit Access Businesses) like MoneyKey require a simple online application that involves basic contact and financial information. Should you qualify and be approved, you can receive the money you need in as little as one business day. Their online installment loans also come with extended terms that won’t interrupt your fun abroad, as you can make payments over several weeks once you return home.
Don’t Exchange Money At The Airport Or Your Hotel
The US may have a strong dollar within the international context, but that doesn’t mean you should get lazy. If you hope to rely primarily on cash while you’re abroad, don’t exchange your USD to Euros with organizations that apply the highest fees for their services. We’re talking about the airport, foreign currency websites (yes, these services deliver your cash to your door), or mall kiosks. Most banks will offer a fair exchange with minimal fees, while ATMs both at home and at your destination offer a good alternative if you can’t make it to your branch before your flight.
Eat In As Much As Possible
The best part of travelling can be sampling the local cuisines, but eating out for every meal is a fast way to burn through your budget. Don’t waste your money on an overpriced sandwich or bowl of soup at the art gallery. Limit your gastronomic globetrotting to special meals at the restaurants you really want to visit. For everything else, hit up the local grocery and pack snacks for your sightseeing tour around the city.
A vacation abroad can be expensive at any time of the year, but summer is in its own category as the travel and tourism industry kicks into its busy season. If you expect to leave on a jet plane this summer, keep your costs low by using these cost-cutting tips. Let us know of any tricks you like to use, and share your favorite way to come under budget.