How to save money during any trip – 5 top tips
Tips | 22.05.2019
Everyone says that travelling is expensive. And if someone says otherwise, we still wouldn't believe them. We've gathered for you 5 main life hacks for budget travellers. We're not able to tell you how to spend $0 on a trip, however we'll help you to save money wherever you travel.
1. Cheap accommodation
It's not actually as obvious as it sounds. It's not enough to just look for a cheap hotel – there are several other options.

Hostels. If you're someone who doesn't care how many pillows there are or what the bathroom looks like, but loves to cook and meet new people, then a hostel will make a great choice.
Prices per night vary, but a bed or room in an affordable hostel will be cheaper than a room in a hotel. If you're travelling alone, then the downsides might outweigh the upsides, as you'll be sleeping in a room with strangers.

But if you're travelling with friends, you can book a whole room, with everyone paying for their own bed. The terms of accommodation will be exactly the same as in a hotel, but at a fraction of the cost. Along with communal bedrooms, hostels frequently have shared toilets and showers. But some rooms do have their own bathroom.
Besides the prices, hostels have a major advantage: community. Thanks to the communal areas and kitchen, all the guests often gather together for dinner, sharing their food, stories and experiences with each other – sometimes even heading out together to explore new places. If you want to meet other travellers from different countries, then a hostel is the place to be.
Camping. For those who love to relax in nature, camping is not only a great way of saving money, but also brings a lot of pleasure. You can wake up to the sound of birds singing; or have a BBQ in the evening, gazing into the stars to the crackling of a campfire. In many countries – like Iceland or Norway – camping is often the only way to save on accommodation. Hotels and apartments can take up to half your budget. In countries where camping is especially popular, they have everything you need for your stay: showers; separate kitchen buildings where you can cook in any weather; toilets; car parks; and much more.
Couchsurfing. This option is for anyone who's looking for not just a cheap option while travelling, but for free accommodation. Couchsurfing is a website for travellers where willing hosts advertise to accommodate guests and travellers looking for somewhere to stay.
The downside: You'll have to trust a complete stranger. Fortunately, there are reviews and comments on the website which make deciding easier.
Quite often, hosts aren't prepared to have more than two guests at a time and only for 2-3 days max. If you want to stay completely for free, then you'll have to change hosts. However, it can happen that they will invite you to stay for the entirety of your trip.

The upside: you won't pay anything. At all. It sounds unbelievable, but it's true. Couchsurfing is used especially by solo-travellers or people who love to travel for $100.
You'll get to meet locals. Hosts will often even gladly take you on an excursion and show you their favourite places.
2. Free attractions
Absolutely every city has free attractions. It doesn't matter whether you're in New York or Istanbul, you'll be able to find somewhere to go without spending a penny. In fact we just made a list of places in London.

Many museums have free-entry days, and if you're lucky enough to travel when they're happening, then you'll save some money. In some cities, even the public spaces are attractions in themselves. Like Times Square in New York, or the Spanish Steps in Rome.
All over Europe are organisations leading free excursions. The New Europe tours website is one such example, offering options in Europe. And many cities have amazing, free viewing platforms if you want to see the city from above. These include, among others: the roof of the Arab World Institute in Paris; Central Children's World in Moscow; or Sky Garden in London.
3. MAPS.ME Travel Guides
Our catalogue of routes is a large library made up of different travel guides for all over the world. No need to look for or research information and choose places to go. We've already put everything on the map for you – by marking points and short stories about locations. And this all works without any internet connection. No need to buy a local sim card – use Wi-Fi in cafes, and explore the city with our offline routes.
Travel guides by our partners, bloggers and the MAPS.ME team can all be found in the catalogue. They can be divided into several categories – from the type of walk to the amount of points on a route. If you love saving information on your phone and not spending a lot of money on excursions, then you know what to do.
4. Flying to a city nearby
It's rare to save money on tickets. An already well-known life hack is to buy tickets on weekdays – preferably during the low season. This also works, but there are even more ingenious ways of saving money.

Due to the high flow of tourists and other travellers, flying to popular cities is expensive. However, you can often fly to a neighbouring town or city with an airport, and then get to your destination by bus or train without any fuss. This is especially true in Europe, where everywhere is nearby and transport between towns and cities works flawlessly.
For example, tickets to Rome cost upwards of $150; but you can fly to Milan for half the price, and easily get to the capital to spend your holiday there.
Keep layovers in mind. Direct tickets are more expensive – especially on long-haul flights. If saving money matters the most, you could try and bear a few transfers; during which you may even manage to go into the city and wander around. A stop-over can often take a whole day, allowing you to add a small adventure to a larger trip. Not long ago, we wrote about making such connections in Zurich and Istanbul.
There is another interesting life hack with layovers. Tickets for direct flights are often more expensive than those with a stopover in your desired destination. For example, say you're flying to Budapest. A direct flight there can be more expensive than a flight to another city that has a stop-over in Budapest. You can ask to have your luggage checked in to only the connecting city and then leave the airport. Yes, the ticket is then cancelled. But that's nothing to worry about, as you've already reached your destination.
5. Street food and small cafés
While travelling, it's often difficult to trust a different culture. Therefore,many choose to stay within their comfort zone and continue to eat the same dishes that they're used to. It's hard to make the decision to try street food, but it's definitely one worth making – it is a part of the culture of the city and country after all!

Many travellers include street food on their list of experiences. For example, excitedly trying fried grasshoppers in Mexico, or not minding to try battered scorpions in Beijing. You don't have to completely immerse yourself in the exotic though! Kebabs in Turkey are filling and inexpensive; in Croatia it's worth trying Burek, a meat pie; and quiches with fillings in France.
More often than not, local street food is so much more than just one dish. If you travel with the goal of having a good time but to save money while doing so, then we definitely recommend you bear in mind.

Street food is so tasty and authentic, that it has become an unbelievably popular and successful industry. For example, Jay Fai, a small Thai restaurant in Bangkok, was awarded a Michelin Star in 2017; and before that, several eateries in Singapore were also highly awarded.
In order to save money on any trip, it's worth remembering the following five rules:

  • Choose cheap accommodation: hostels, campsites and couchsurfing.
  • Find free attractions. There are some in every city.
  • Experiment with plane tickets. You can fly with transfers or completely end your journey during the stop-over.
  • Research places with offline travel guides. Our app has several great routes with descriptions and points marked on the map.
  • Try street food and food in local cafés. You'll find inexpensive food, plus you'll be immersed in the local cultur
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