The last thing most people want is to spend months of saving money and counting pennies only to take a trip, and return home in the red! If we told you that "budget travel" isn't an oxymoron, would you believe us? You can travel cheap, and travel well. If you're interested in saving money on vacation, keep reading, as we've compiled a few tips from expert travelers and personal experience alike.
Are you ready to plan your perfect vacation and save money?
There's only one answer: HECK YES!
(Who doesn't like saving money?)
Choose a Destination You Can Afford
Don't go to Monaco on a Guatemala budget, folks. The first step to saving money on vacation is choosing the proper destination because the cost of living varies depending on region, time of year, and city. Even in Spain, Almería is much cheaper than say San Sebastián. Before booking your flight, do some research. What's the national currency? What about the exchange rate? Is it in your favor? Are you willing to travel in off season? These are all relevant questions to ask yourself before you set out.
In short, come prepared and you'll be thankful you did.
Then come back, 'cause we'll miss you!
Take a Bike
Cabs? Bish, where? Most people forget to budget for transportation when planning their trips. That's a big mistake because, well, do you plan on sitting still for 5 days? *head scratch* Duh.
But seriously, bike rental is easier than ever and we're here for it. Why? Locals bike. Biking in Europe is so popular because Europeans care about health and the environment.... I mean, because, they're less lazy than most Americans...oops, because bikes are cool. That's it.
Whew, who slipped me the truth serum this morning?
Back to bikes.
Bike rental in Madrid, for example, is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to see the city. Not only that, but you'll also burn off the calories from the kilos of jamón serrano and red wine you've probably been indulging in. Madrid is becoming more bike friendly each year which is why now's the time to jump on the b̶a̶n̶d̶w̶a̶g̶o̶n̶ bike. If you're worried about spending 15 minutes trying to translate rules, regulations and prices in the middle of the street at a public bike station, we've got a solution: Donkey Republic. This revolutionary way of renting bikes virtually removes the hassle and potential misunderstandings because it all runs from your phone via their easy-to-use app!
Be a responsible tourist. Won't you feel better knowing that you barely left a carbon footprint while on vacation? Not only is bike rental cheaper than say Uber, or taking a taxi, it's better for you, your glutes, and the environment. If you're crunched for time, bikes make the most sense as you can see more in less time.
That's a win-win-win-win
Ask a Local
This could be difficult if you don't speak the language, but it's not impossible, and it's surely worth the trouble. Tourists come to splash... and businesses know this. They see a US passport (or German or English or Chinese) and think, Yup! Gullible, rich and ready to splurge. There is however, a new generation of travelers who can fake splash, you know, go to Switzerland and not spend more than 200 euros? How do they do it? They read LMDES, of course! But seriously, ask locals. They know which places to avoid, and can advise you on scams to avoid. Don't simply stop at the first place you see when landing at the airport. Be discerning. Look online, invest in alternative guidebooks like these for Murcia, Madrid and Barcelona and even check out useful apps like Spotted by Locals.
Tip: if the menu is translated into English, German, Yiddish, Italian, Swahili and French, well, keep walking. You can find a more authentic spot.
Thank us later.
Don't drink alcohol (boo! bummer!)
Try going vegetarian for the week (steak is more expensive than broccoli #factsoflife)
Rent an Airbnb, and cook. Or if you're really strapped for money, rent a room instead of the whole flat and (possibly) get a guide / roommate! (two-for-one)
Couchsurfing (but be safe. Here are some tips for female solo travelers)
Travel for free with Grabr (our friend Glo can tell you all about it here)
There you have it! Some tips and tricks to save money on vacation! Follow these suggestions, and you may even have enough money left over for not one, but two scoops of gelato!
We know, we know: we spoil you!
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.