It’s great to get out and see the world while you’re young. Unfortunately, you will also never be so poor. Problem solved. Here are five frugal travel secrets to save you some yen, dinar, Euros—or whatever it is you’ll be spending.
Look past the net. Travel Web sites promising a great deal abound, but an old-fashioned travel agent may save you more, especially if you’re going to an out-of-the-way location. I recently scored U.S.-Croatia airfare from a travel agent for about $350 than the best Internet fare. Check package deals in Sunday papers, too. Find a travel agent through the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Pack a meal a day. The cost of eating out adds up fast! Pinch some pennies by packing at least one of your daily meals, maybe two. Check out these easy picnic recipes for some inspiration.
Skip the hotel. Hotels are way overpriced, don’t you think? If you don’t mind some creative sleeping arrangements, (remember Gonzo hanging upside down in a closet in A Muppet Christmas Carol?) consider camping, hostels, or couch surfing. Sure, you could stay with friends, but you could also hook up with strangers willing to share a sofa at CouchSurfing.com.
Say “no thanks” to car rental insurance. Anytime you rent wheels, somebody will try to sell you insurance packages that can double your tab. Truth is— you may not need any of it. Most U.S. credit cards provide car rental damage insurance when you reserve the car with your card. Personal auto insurance usually provides damage and liability coverage for a rental, too. The one exception is if you don’t have your own auto insurance policy, you may want to take them up on liability insurance (but not damage, if reserving with a credit card). Find more ways to save on car rentals.
Go where your dollar goes furthest. These days, that’s not most of Europe. Heck, it’s not even Canada! This L.A. Times article offers some suggestions for countries where your dollar will go the distance, including Morocco, Cambodia, and Nicaragua. Need somewhere closer to home? Try Mexico, but avoid the most-visited areas like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
How do you save money when you travel?