No need to sell your Kidney, I’ve got you covered

Traveling in your 20’s can seem financially out of reach for most. Lets be honest, that 40k a year is barely making sure there is still toilet paper on the roll let alone funding the jetseter lifestyle everyone and their mom seems to have on social media. The fact of the matter is though that the way people are traveling now is so much more accessible to every pay grade. I get comments all the time like “wow, how do you afford to travel so much” and “It seems like you’re always going somewhere”. I’m in college so obviously I don’t have an excess of money to spend but it really is all about being savvy with the way you spend your money. You might have sacrifice some “glam” but there are a lot of easy ways to get more bang for your buck.

  1. Put down the shoes: First and foremost, the most important tip I have on saving money on vacation is to actually save money for vacation. Before you go on a trip you should really consider cutting back on your expenses for at least a month. I know its hard, but that means resisting those shoes that just went on sale at DSW and controlling your FOMO while your friends are out at the bars without you. Making more meals at home is also another great way to cut back on how much you are spending.
  2. Try to travel in the off Season: This may require you to do a little bit of research but it is totally worth it. Flights and hotels can be hundreds of dollars cheaper if you choose to travel when the destination is not at it’s peak tourism time of year. This will also save you from a lot of other tourists, which I have found can taint your experience.
  3. STAY IN AN AIRBNB OR HOSTEL: This will save you so so so much money. I really can not express this enough. Not only are these options way cheaper they also provide a richer experience. Hotels and restorts are not indicative of the host culture and are often super Americanized. Step out of your comfort zone and rent an AirBnB or stay in a hostel, you won’t regret it. Your AirBnB host will likely be a local and they are always super happy to share their knowledge of the area and culture with you. Hostels get a bad reputation but there are a lot of nice ones now and they are always full of awesome young people out exposing just like you.
  4. Don’t fly name brand: At the end of the day a plane is a plane. As long as it gets you to one place or the other that is sufficient. You can find crazy cheap flights from companies like Spirit Airlines that don’t have all the bells and whistles, and require some “fit everything in one bag” packing techniques, but get you from A to B in one piece.
  5. Exchange your money at your bank: Doing this in the states will ensure you get the right exchange rate and save you time at the often sketchy exchange places located in airports. The last time I exchanged 200 american Dollars in a Mexican airport, I only spent 30 of that 200, I only got 80 dollars back when returned to the states. Also be sure to check Foreign Transaction fees on your credit cards and be sure to let your bank know where you will be traveling.
  6. Check different travel routes: It is often way cheaper to fly into a less popular city and either take another flight, super easy and cheap in Europe, or take alternative transportation (bus, train, subway…ect) to your final destination.
  7. Don’t be afraid to leave the tourist bubble: Prices for food and activities are always going to be higher in places where people know the tourists are going to be. Talk to the locals, aka your AirBnb host, about local spots a bit off the grid. The food will be more reasonably priced and from my experience so much tastier.
  8. Pack snacks: I always try to bring instant oatmeal packets and a few granola bars in my bag whenever I travel. This saves me money on food at the airport and a couple dollars on breakfast every morning. A lot of AirBnB host’s will actually offer you breakfast as well if you take the private room option instead of having the entire place to yourself (I recommend the private room option).
  9. Stay away from the tourist traps: You do not need to get on a tacky double decker bus to properly see a city. Renting a bike is a much cheaper option and allows you to explore freely. Also a lot of tour packages cost you way more than what it would for you to go online and purchase the activity yourself (for example museum tickets). There is no need to pay someone to do something you are capable of doing yourself.
  10. Use public transport: Buses, subways and bikes are a much cheaper way to get around than cabbing it. You also feel so much more integrated with the place you are visiting when you get around the way the locals do.
  11. Look at discount travel websites: You can definitely find some gems when you look on sights like LivingSocial or TravelZoo, which often have all-inclusive vacations with flights at a discounted price. Google flights is also a really good way to compare flight prices.
  12. Make connections: Integrating yourself with locals or people you meet on your travels is a great way to possibly find a free crash pad. People always surprise me with how open and generous they are. You would be surprised how many people will open their homes to you.
  13. Back away from the souvenirs: It can be tempting to splurge on trinkets that you want to take home from your travels for yourself and loved one’s. Don’t. I promise your mom does not want the fridge magnet that says “Barcelona” on it. Just take lots of pictures and remember that a memory is far more valuable than anything material.
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