Cheap travelling, the one thing majority wants to crack the code for. If you’re one of those people who spend their time scrolling through Instagram drooling over gorgeous travel shots from all around the world and wondering how the hell others afford to go on all these splendid trips, this post is for you.
I did my fair share of travelling these past few years and even though the number of my trips isn’t as huge as others, I’m proud of how cheap I managed to get those trips for. So if you want to learn how to travel cheap and even travel when you’re broke AF, this guide is all you need.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commision for the booking/purchase made through the link at no extra cost to you. All the recommendations are tried and tested by yours truly and highly recommended.
Choosing the destination
Travelling isn’t only about visiting world-known cities such as Paris, NYC or London. You can have an adventure anywhere in the world and travel to the neighbouring country is a trip as well. There are beautiful budget-friendly destinations on every continent and you can find lots of informative lists with a little search on Google or Pinterest.
I often chose the destination based on the cheapest deals I can find. For this, I use various websites:
This is one of the best websites I have come across. TravelFree shares travel deals daily from cheap flights, bus, train tickets, also any discounts or sales that are going on at the moment. You can even find hotel/hostels deals there. I recommend checking this website frequently if you want to get a good deal and sign up for their newsletter which sends you latest travel deals to your inbox.
If you’re looking for flights, you need to check out Skyscanner. I love Skyscanner the most out of all flights providers because of the great tools that make the whole searching process so much easier. This website has ‘cheapest month‘ option when choosing the dates for your travel that lets you see when the flights to a certain destination are the cheapest. Also, instead of choosing the exact dates of your travel, you can choose only the month. Skyscanner will show you the prices for the whole month and that’s a wonderful way to save if you aren’t restricted to the dates.
Another thing I adore about this website is that it has ‘Everywhere‘ as a travel destination option. This a good tool to use when you simply want to travel anywhere and would like to see what options are the cheapest for the period you wish to travel during.
For travelling around Europe, you have to check out FlixBus. It’s the largest bus network in Europe and the cheapest one as well. You just can’t go wrong with it if you plan to have a little EuroTrip. Some destinations are as cheap as 5 euro (Budapest – Vienna). Also, I like that their website has a route map tool which displays all the destinations of FlixBus and lets you see the lowest prices from one destination to another.
GoEuro has been one of my favourites for a long time. You can see the cheapest transportation from point A to point B as it shows you a bus, flight and train. However, you can only see offers for the specific dates and destinations, so I usually use this website when I have the main base of my trip planned or when I have the exact date I’ll be travelling on.
The main tips when looking for cheap flights/bus tickets:
Go off the beaten road. Like I mentioned before, travelling isn’t only about world-known destinations which can be a bit too pricey, let’s be honest. Try less known cities or countries that also have a lot to offer. Take me for example, I have never imagined that I’ll be travelling to Bulgaria or Slovakia.
Be open for all options. Sometimes direct flights/bus rides can be a bit expensive. Look for alternatives, maybe layover option is cheaper and even gives you an opportunity to check out another destination between your flight. Also, I find flying from bigger airports a bit cheaper, so instead of flying from your home country, maybe there are amazing deals flying from neighbouring countries or the countries which you can reach by a cheap bus ride. Always analyse all your options if you want to travel cheaper.
Go off-season. If you want to visit popular destinations or warmer weather countries, avoid trips during their season. The prices will be much higher and there will be too many people to your liking, trust me on that. Leave these destinations for the beginning of spring or autumn and spend your summer exploring countries that are less popular during this season.
Sign up for various companies’ newsletters. Eurolines, Ecolines, Luxexpress, Flixbus, Ryanair and all those travel companies usually notify about their latest discounts or sales by their newsletters. This is how I got myself a trip to Berlin for only 6 EUROS! Of course, you have to react fast with these deals because they usually are limited in quantity.
Accommodation and other travel expenses
Now, you got lucky and scored a super cheap travelling deal to and from that destination. But money spending doesn’t stop there, you have accommodation, food, transfers and other expenses to cover. This part usually costs more than the travelling part itself. So I have a few go-to websites for snagging a better accommodation deal:
Who doesn’t know a good old Booking? It’s my first go-to option when searching for the place to stay. I like all the features Booking offers and discount offers for the most loyal users. You can apply any filter that you like and see the deals from the cheapest ones to the most expensive choices.
Also, I like checking Booking.com for reviews of the place as people there enjoy writing lengthy and very honest reviews which are a big help when choosing. Most importantly, you can book a hostel/hotel/apartment with a free-cancellation option which I love. This way I can book one place that I like and if I find a better deal, I can cancel the reservation without losing a single cent. Sign up using this link and you’ll get $15 off from your first booking!
This is becoming a more popular choice among travellers every single day. Airbnb is a good option if you’re looking for a longer stay or prefer to have your own space. I usually look for places that offer ‘entire apartment‘ but if you don’t mind staying with another person, you can find a lot of room offers.
By the way, Airbnb offers 30 euro travel credits which you can use for your first booking when you sign up through this link. So if you don’t have an account, sign up now and use the credits whenever you like. There are a lot of pretty cool options there and I’m thinking of making a post interesting Airbnb finds all around the world. Would it be something you’re interested in?
The main tips for spending less on the trip:
Choose hostels over hotels. Hostels are a way cheaper option and the experience you’ll get by staying at a hostel is unforgettable. You’ll meet many people from all around the world and you’ll save money at the same time. I call it a win-win situation.
Go Couchsurfing. This an alternative to hostel/hotel option. Sleep at a local’s house, learn more about the culture, traditions, must visit places from them. Great way to save some money and have a great time with locals. However, choose your host carefully and listen to your instinct, you can never be too safe.
Sleep in the airport. Now, this isn’t the best idea but hey, sometimes there is no other option. If you have a night layover, spending a lot of money on a hotel just to spend the night might not be something you’re up to. Especially, if you aren’t flying alone. Some of the airport zones, especially in bigger airports, are very comfortable and secure. I spent the night with two of my friends in Copenhagen’s airport and it wasn’t very pleasant due to uncomfortable seats but it helped us to save a lot of money as we were only spending 24 hours in the city. There is a website Sleeping In Airports which is like an ultimate guide to sleeping in airports. All airports are reviewed and all the tips about sleeping in specific airports are covered. So if you ever end up sleeping in one, take a look at that site.
Use BlaBlaCar for transfers. This is a carpooling app that saved my life when I was in Poland. Long story short, I overslept my flight and there were no remotely cheap options (less than 300 euros) of getting back home before New Year’s Eve. Did I mention that I had to get back home for my exam? Yeah, so BlaBlaCar saved me. Polish girl drove me from Warsaw to Suwalki that day and from there I managed my way back to Kaunas. Cheap, fast way of travelling. Plus, you can chat with the person driving you.
Try hitchhiking. I have never ever tried hitchhiking, so I wouldn’t know much about it but from the experiences of my friends, it’s a great way of travelling. If it’s something you’re up for, then hitchhiking is a great way to save some money.
Eating in instead of restaurants. Making your own meals is so much cheaper than going to restaurants or cafes, especially if it’s a more expensive city. This is why I like hostels more, they give you access to the kitchen and all the utensils you need to cook lunch or dinner. A quick trip to a supermarket and you are good to go. Of course, one or two eating out times won’t hurt to try traditional or local dishes.
Free walking tours. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of tours in general but if you’d like to get more insight about the place, its history, fun facts and so on, free walking tours are the best option. Every city has these and they are a great way to spend a few hours of your day, especially if you’re travelling solo. Plus, they will walk you around the all the main attractions of the city, so you’ll know your way better.
Invest in transport cards. I cannot stress this enough, people. If you’re travelling to the city which is on a bigger scale, do get yourself transport card or that tourism card if it has one. They will save you lots of money. You not only save on transport but you also will get some great discounts for the main attractions, restaurants. For example, with a transport card in Copenhagen, you can also take a boat bus! How amazing is that!
What are your tips for travelling cheaper?
Any cool websites/apps that I should check out?