Whether you’re an occasional traveler or constantly on the road, there’s one thing that’s certain: traveling can be expensive. After transportation, accommodations, meals, and incidental expenses away from home, the cash you set aside for your trip can disappear overnight.
It doesn’t have to be like this, though. There are plenty of ways to manage our expenditures in novel ways during a trip. If you’re going abroad or just visiting the next town over, here are ways to reduce costs while traveling.
Cut out Cash Exchange Fees
If you spend a lot of time visiting foreign countries, you’ve needed to exchange your money for a currency that you can actually use. The Euro has certainly made travel to Europe easier. But outside this specific currency zone, you’re going to need to exchange your money every time you cross a border.
Running to a currency exchange isn’t just tedious – it’s expensive. These exchanges charge a fee for their services, and the more you travel overseas the more you’ll pay. Making currency exchanges at your bank is a better option, as you can find less expensive fees there.
There are mobile currency apps that, by using new currency exchange systems, can actually offer the best solution to this problem. These apps are unique because they don’t just offer the lowest exchange rates, but also enable cardless transactions at designated ATMs. You can even use them to send money to friends and family members traveling overseas. Recipients need to go to a designated ATM to collect the funds but they seem to be well distributed.
Leverage the Sharing Economy for Accommodations
Traveling far from home means having to find a place to lay your head at night. Unless you’re going cross-country in your own RV, that means some sort of hotel. Even the most budget-friendly motor lodge can still cost a pretty penny for an overnight stay, especially if you’re spending several nights far from home. These costs add up quicker than you think.
There are, of course, alternatives to staying in a traditional hotel room. Short of roughing it – an effective but not exactly comfortable option – your best bet is to leverage the so-called “sharing economy.” These websites provide opportunities to rent rooms or entire homes from private owners, offering a bevy of unique opportunities at much more affordable prices than you would find at a hotel.
Booking a stay in this method not only saves you money, it can provide you unique opportunities. For starters, you can live like a local anywhere in the world, with access to experiences you might miss staying in a hotel in a tourist neighborhood. While renting directly from a homeowner does have its risks, so be sure to read reviews from other guests carefully before booking a stay.
Fly Smarter, Fly Cheaper, Fly in Comfort
Unless you’re traveling First Class, going anywhere by plane can be a miserable experience. There’s no way to avoid long lines at security check-in, fighting crowds to get to your gate, and then struggling with your checked bags and carry-ons. So it’s important to minimize the amount of time you spend in airports and planes – and to maximize your comfort while you’re there.
One of the best ways to save some money on traveling by plane is to not fly directly to your destination. In many cases, it’s less expensive to fly to the next closest airport and then take a bus, a train, or even rent a car to get to where you need to go. An added bonus is spending less time packed into an airliner like a sardine in a can.
Speaking of cramped flights, you can make use of the internet to at least ensure you’re going to be in the least uncomfortable spot in the plane. Look up your flight number and get a graphical breakdown of the seats on your plane, which are the most comfortable, and which are the best to be avoided.
While there are many other tactics you can use to keep your expenditures down, these are just a few of the best methods to save money and control your costs while traveling abroad. Keep these in mind – and any other strategies you may have – to get the most bang for your buck the next time you set out into the unknown.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.