When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to do is stress out about spending money or overspend on a million different things! Here’s my tips from our practice in traveling cheap!
Go to a location where the dollar is strong! (Fiji, Costa Rica, South America, Thailand) These are far away, but the plane tickets bought at the right time don’t have to be budget-blowing and once you get there, live it up for cheap! We rented a 2 bedroom house in Fiji for 3 days for around $80 Fiji dollars.
Take the Local Bus or Public Train
Chicago, Miami and most major airports have a bus that goes to and from the airport. For Chicago it’s the KISS & FLY Pace Bus for O’Hare (or just take the EL, but the KISS & FLY Bus 250, goes directly from Evanston, westward to O’Hare and takes 40 minutes rather than 60+ minutes on the Purple-Red-Blue Lines on the EL and only costs around $2, rather than $40 Taxi Bill.
Go halfsies….while you are traveling, you’re not taking leftovers with you! Share meals with your family or order an appetizer as your main meal. When traveling and being smart about our food budget, we share meals by ordering a main dish and sometimes an appetizer/salad.
Grocery Stores have food too!
Grocery Stores are a lifesaver for expensive places like big cities or Europe. Buy food at the grocery store – sandwiches, deli meat, bread, fresh fruit, yogurt, veggies. You can buy ‘convenience’ items at the grocery store (like pre-cut, pre-washed packaged veggies) and they will STILL be cheaper than eating out – and probably more healthy! I love seeing what grocery stores carry in different places and countries!
Don’t buy Alcohol out at restaurants
Again, get acquainted with your grocery store near your hostel/hotel. Buy beer/wine and bring bottle opener/screw driver with you (Duty Free is recommended especially when traveling to Europe + Islands)
Load up on local snacks at the grocery store. In Italy we bought bananas everywhere we went and a bag of mini-pears from a little grocery store for .50 Euro and ate them with Hostel-breakfasts/lunch (deli sandwiches) and got StroopWafels in Amsterdam and ate them as dessert all along our trip! They were a tasty treat and a package of 12 StroopWafels was only .90 Euro-cents. In the states we like bringing our homemade Beef Jerky, granola bars or spiced nuts with us to munch on. I’ll post the recipe later for the Jerky. “Bathroom Tickets” in Germany are equal to 1 Euro! Cash them in, don’t throw them away, to get some treats to take with you – or collect them for a bigger purchase later on.
Print out Maps ahead of time.
(Or have an smart-phone load up on useful aps) If you have AAA Membership, you can get free maps of almost any location on earth! Head into your local AAA office and request the maps you need. Don’t forget essentials like printing out train schedules and bus schedules.
Always bring your Student IDs with you to show the proof. Make sure to ask if museums and restaurants have student discounts or special student prices.
Always read the fine print
Example, The Roma Pass in Rome is a great deal that includes public transit and entry to museums and galleries,….as long as your not there just on Monday, because all the museums are closed on Monday – FAIL.
Bring Water Bottles – and refill them all day. Rome & Venice have free Alpine Spring water fountains everywhere – it is delicious and cold… better yet….FREE!!!
Get an up-to-date Guide Book. It will save you time and money, and while you’re on vacation, let’s face it….time IS money spent. Rick Steves is the expert for Europe, Lonely Planet Books have treated us well with other non-Euro locations.
Ask your concierge for coupons or deals – they have connections! Also, they live in the area so they are going to know a lot about the location and what’s going on.
I'm Stephanie, your local north-sider Chicagoan with advice on everything frugal! I enjoy living joyfully without excessive spending and sharing my 'saving money' advice and practices with others. I am a Christian and love music-making, cooking, traveling the world and of course, blogging! "LIKE" me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Frugirlsteph