Saving money on holiday transport and accommodation

Plane above skyscrapers

Working a few hours a day can earn you free board and lodging and is just one of the ways of travelling on a shoestring, made easier by the internet.

There are plenty of ways of keeping down costs if you are prepared to plan, be flexible or don't mind roughing it a little.

Transport

Flights

When it comes to flights, comparison websites are great but not all low cost airlines show up in their searches.

Travel blogger Jasper Ribbers recommends finding out exactly which European low cost airlines serve your departure and destination city (you can usually do this by checking the website for your departure airport).

After that, go to the airline's site to check if they can offer a cheaper flight. It's time consuming but worth the effort.

Share a car

Car sharing is cheaper, more fuel efficient and now thanks to the internet far more practical. It's also better organised and monitored than hitchhiking.

Sites like blablacar, liftshare or carpooling offer a portal for drivers to let passengers know about their journeys and how much they will charge for a lift.

It's definitely possible to save a lot of money this way; as an example you can travel from Benidorm to Madrid for around £22...that's £35 cheaper than the train and 4 hours faster than the bus.

Accommodation

Accommodation is going to be one of your biggest costs. Here's what you can do to make it as cheap as possible:

Volunteer

Would you work around five hours a day with a family or small business and in return they give you a place to stay as well as food to eat?

A range of different websites have sprung up around the concept of working your board and lodge. Some of the better known include helpx, wwoof and workaway.

There are opportunities to do this kind of thing in virtually any country.

It's worth looking carefully at the information posted by potential hosts. Although there are reviews, you can never really tell what you're getting until you arrive.

Sofa-surfing

If you don't feel like working for your stay you can actually find a place for free. Sites like couchsurfing put people looking for a place to stay in touch with people willing to take them in.

Hosts are usually looking to make friends, show off their city or just build up some good karma. Often they will have done something similar in the past themselves.

House sitting or pet sitting is another option which is becoming more popular. Several websites can help you like mindmyhouse or housecarers.

Hostels

Hostels offer far cheaper accommodation than hotels but come at their own price. Generally, the cheaper the room the more people you'll have to share it with.

Room mates will come and go at all times of the night and there'll usually be a snorer in the room. That said, they can be fun places to stay and offer a good way to make friends.

Get it cheaper

  • It's generally cheaper and less stressful to book ahead. If you book online you often have the option to cancel for free or at little cost if your plans change or you find somewhere cheaper.
  • Always ask for a cheaper rate. Jasper Ribbers says "In some countries, especially in South East Asia, you can negotiate pretty much everything, including hotel rates."

Food

Street food Street food can be a cheap way to sample local foods

The best way to save money on your food costs is probably to shop at a market and prepare your own meals... if you have access to a kitchen.

Often food served on the street gives you the chance to sample authentic, local foods at minimum costs.

Jasper Ribbers thinks travellers need to be cautious when eating street food "I think it's fine as long as the food is properly cooked on the spot. I would stay away from raw foods and pre-cooked food."

Another way to try the cuisine in the area you're visiting is through websites like eatwithalocal where residents invite travellers to their dining tables.

The meal is likely to be cheap and it's a good way to meet local people.

Activities

Wherever you go, there will always be things to do that cost nothing. Your best bet is to find a local who can give you some advice about the hidden, inexpensive gems in their area.

Lots of cities now have groups offering free walking tours. They're not actually free as they expect you to make a donation at the end of the tour based on how much you enjoyed it.

But...because these tours work on a pay-as-you're-pleased basis they are usually good fun, as well as interesting and informative.

Don't be too mean, travelling is a great opportunity to try new things. If you miss out on doing something fun or exciting because of cost, you might end up regretting it when you get home.

This material is for general information only and does not constitute legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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