Top Money Saving Tips for Budget Travelers

1. Take Advantage of Currency Exchange Rates

If your earnings are in Dollars or Euro, there are many countries where your money will go much farther than at home. For example, the following meal in Ukraine cost me the equivalent of only $2.

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A local beer at a bar in Ukraine costs me anywhere between 50 cents and $1. An imported beer costs $2. I can eat two meals in a restaurant a day for a combined total of approximately $10.

You can live in many countries for an entire month on the same amount of money that you would spend on a hotel room for a single weekend in a city like New York or London. While a $500/month rent would not even get you a cardboard box in San Francisco, it would provide for a nice central apartment in Kiev.

Currency exchange rates can be found here:

www.xe.com

Cost of living index comparisons between any two cities in the world can be found here:

www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

2. Negotiate Long Term Room Rental Rates

If you are staying in a place for a week or more, always try to negotiate for a discount. This can often be a win-win situation for both you and the landlord. You will get a lower nightly rate, while the landlord in return is guaranteed a tenet. Even most hostels will likely give you a deal if you are staying with them for more than a week.

Many people don’t realize that on websites like Airbnb, the host has the ability to send you any custom rate that they desire. Simply first message the host before booking the room, and tell them that you are interested in staying long-term at their place if they could provide you with a discount. They can then reply with a custom proposal.

3. Utilize Budget Transportation

I have taken flights in Europe where the transportation cost to get to and from the airport was more than the actual airline ticket. Flights for as little as $10 are available if booked early enough and not during peak season. In addition, being flexible on the day of the week you are willing to fly on can make a big difference in your ticket’s price.

Budget Airlines in Europe:

www.wizzair.com

www.ryanair.com

www.easyjet.com

Websites which simultaneously search for flights on multiple airlines:

www.google.com/flights

www.skyscanner.com

www.kayak.com

Budget Bus Companies in the USA and Europe:

www.megabus.com

www.polskibus.com

www.ecolines.net

Website which searches simultaneously most of the budget travel options in Europe:

www.goeuro.com

4. Negotiate Taxi Rates Prior to Getting in the Car

When taking a taxi, agree on a price prior to getting in the car. Ask a local what a certain trip should approximately cost. I usually offer a driver an amount which already includes a significant tip. The driver knowing that he will be making a 25% tip on a trip from the start will lower the chances of him trying to cheat me later on. I have met people who paid $30 for what should have been a $3 cab ride from an airport.

Note: This tip is for countries which do not have well regulated registered taxis with fixed rates.

5. Bring a Water Bottle

While at first this tip may sound a bit silly and insignificant, let me do a bit of math for you. A drink while eating out can often be the equivalent of a third of the cost of your meal. Thus if you eating out in a city twice a day for an average of $9 a meal, then you will save $6 a day if you had brought your own drink. In one month, this would amount to $180 in savings. While I would not drink from a water bottle while seated in a nice restaurant on a date, you would be surprised how many times you spend money on drinks while simply walking around a new city. Plus drinking water is healthier for you!

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