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A list of ways to save money when traveling, including how to save money on travel accommodation, how to spend less on food and drinks while traveling, and other ways to spend less while you're traveling. Includes a free PDF of 5 great tools that will help you save money and track your spending while traveling.

34 Ways to Save Money While Traveling (That You Haven’t Thought Of)

Save on food and drinks while traveling

Host a “dinner party” at your hostel

Gather up a group of people at your hostel and have everyone get something from the grocery store for a “dinner party”. If everyone contributes, you’ll have lots of yummy food for a fraction of the cost of making yourself dinner or going out.

Stop at the grocery store when you arrive

It’s your best friend when it comes to saving money on food while traveling. Buy yourself snacks, alcohol, saran wrap to wrap up your food from the hostel breakfast buffet, and grab some toiletries if you need them too.

Bring your student ID with you wherever you go

Even if you’re not quite a student anymore, tons of attractions, tours, hostels, etc. offer student discounts if you have your student card on you. Always ask!

Meet locals at happy hour

Keep an eye out for signs outside of bars advertising drink specials around happy hour time, because you might be more inclined to meet some locals who have just finished work, while also getting a deal on drinks.

Carry a collapsible water bottle

Water can be really expensive to buy when you’re walking around a city, but you need it! Take a collapsible water bottle with you so you can stash it in your bag until you get to a water fountain to fill it up for free.

Drink like locals in Spain and Italy with free food

The Spanish have tapas bars, where you can go and drink, and your drinks come with little plates of food, usually for free. In Italy, many bars have aperitivos, where you can get a couple of drinks and then help yourself to a buffet of finger food.

Check the price of beer before you book

Looking to party? Check this beer price index before you go to see which cities have the cheapest beer— then plan to go there!

Travel away from the attractions for better food

You almost always will pay more for food when you’re close to a tourist attraction or busy area, and it probably won’t be that good anyways. Venture about 3-4 blocks away from those areas for better and cheaper meals.

Buy bottles at the club

Hear me out on this— I worked at a club in Italy so I know how this works. If you have a group of you, say 10, and you each have to pay €15 euros to get into a club, ask a promoter how much their cheapest bottle is. Considering that you’ll probably pay at least €10 a drink once you’re in, you’re much better off splitting the cost of a €200 bottle, and you’ll get more to drink, plus an area to sit and hang. If you’re a group of girls dressed to the 9’s, BARGAIN on that bottle price— it’ll quickly go down!

Skip drinks when eating out

Your bill will quickly add up if you start to order drinks when you’re eating out. Skip the drinks for a couple of hours and you’ll save tons.

Save on everything else 

Share costs for toiletries with hostel friends

Instead of buying expensive travel-sized liquids, wait until you get to a destination and get normal sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair spray from the supermarket, and split the cost between your hostel pals.

Go for a bike tour instead of paying entrance fees

Unless you’re really desperate to go inside places like the Louvre, why don’t you go on a bike tour and see the exteriors of a city’s biggest attractions instead? You’ll save on entrance fees and get some exercise too.

Get a no-fee debit or credit card

Some banks slam you with international fees and extra ATM fees when you’re abroad, which really add up. Opt for a credit card like Capital One has, which has no international transaction fees, or a debit card from Charles Schwab which reimburses you for your ATM fees.

Ask hostel reception for free things to do

You’re definitely not the first person to ask, so they’ll know plenty of free things to do around your hostel, including any one-off events that you may not have known about otherwise.

Travel in a group, and save

If you can manage to round up a large group of people, say, from your study abroad program or in your hostel, you may be able to get yourself a free spot on an activity or a discount for all of you. Do some haggling if you can, most tour operators and businesses won’t want to miss out on a big group for the sake of a few euros/dollars/pounds…

Plan around free museum days

Lots of cities around the world have designated days when museums and attractions are free to enter, so find out when those are for the place you want to go, and plan to go then so you can save that money for something else.

Sign up for email lists for tour operators

That’s the first place that you’ll find out if they’re having a sale. For example, if you want to go on a Contiki trip, be on their email list so you can find out when sales happen. Or if you’re traveling in Europe, it would be useful to sign up with companies like Viator so you can book things like day trips at a discount when the sales roll around.

Don’t exchange, withdraw

Your bank will give you the best exchange rates, so don’t bother exchanging money, just use your debit card to withdraw cash and you’ll save money on exchange rates.

Rent an apartment with a washing machine

If you’ve been traveling for a while and need to do laundry, instead of paying for laundry services at a hostel, rent a room in a homestay or an entire apartment that has a washing machine. It’ll be much cheaper to get your clothes clean.

Find a free walking tour

If walking tours with lots of history are your thing, you’ll find plenty around the world. Sandeman’s is famous for them, and Undiscovered London has a great one in, well, London. You’ll need to tip at the end but how much is up to you.

Save even MORE while traveling with the 5 Best Tools for Saving Money and Tracking Spending While Traveling. Click the button below to get your free PDF!

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Jess is the Editor-in-Chief of The Abroad Guide. After studying abroad in Belgium during her junior year of college, she caught the travel bug. Her experiences include volunteering in Nicaragua, backpacking through Europe, and a year-long adventure in Italy, and she's now settled in London.


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