Space and finances are a commodity while traveling. Travel smart with some of our travel hacks proven to make your trip better!
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Enjoy my personal, crazy long list of travel hacks to save you money while traveling the world in 2017!
When we travel, we travel one carry-on bag per person.
The exception may be with the addition of a small purse that doubles for an “everyday” bag. Our last trip consisted of 10 days across Europe, each with one backpack.
It is possible. Trust me!
Save space and limit your luggage with packing cubes.
These little nifty inventions compartmentalize your clothing so that you can maximize space. The added bonus? Now your clothes can be organized by day, city, or whatever your heart desires.
To prevent wrinkles and cram as many outfits as possible into each cube, this is very important for a traveling lady or stylish lad, roll your clothes into little burritos. Say what? Roll my friends. No wrinkles + more space = happy traveler.
Don’t buy the travel size toiletries
It is pretty standard that hotels provide most of all toiletries now. In fact, we have a secret stash of hotel toiletries that we bring back from our trips….
Okay, maybe it isn’t so secret.
But those little devils at the grocery store advertising for “travel size” will add up, especially if you like to travel often.
Skip them and skip worrying about liquids when going through airport security!
Now I know some of you can’t part with your luxuries or have to bring things like contact solution so the key is…buy little reusable plastic bottles and continue refilling them for your trips.
You can get creative, friends. My mother even refills a tiny eye dropper bottle of her liquid foundation so she doesn’t have to carry the large jar around.
I’ve seen everything from contact lens carriers holding chapstick and lotions to eye droppers with toothpaste. If it doesn’t leak, it works.
Use ATM’s for currency
…Do not use currency exchange in airports. ATM’s in the country of destination will set you back a small fee while airport currency exchange will take a chunk.
Heck, when traveling through Europe we even found ATM’s that didn’t charge us a fee due to what bank we were using. Most banks charge around a 1% fee but a few will reimburse you now while traveling. Do your research and save some cash!
Find food deals, use Yelp, avoid tourist traps, and when in doubt shop at local markets
While traveling, our largest out of pocket expense is food. Here is a little something about me…I LOVE food. I want to try EVERYTHING. When we travel, my heart flutters for every meal.
Yeah, yeah…what a weirdo. I don’t care. I am a foodie.
So, I do my best avoiding tourist traps. I’ve made mistakes and fallen for the traps before and let me tell you…you pay the price in your wallet and your gut. Things aren’t typically clean and food is prepared in a rush while they try and usher you out the door.
Nothing is worse than being abroad and staying in your hotel room because you are sick to your stomach…Learn from my mistakes.
My favorite GREAT meals came from asking the check-in desk their favorite local hang out spot in Barcelona (tapas galore…my heart and stomach was happy) or checking out the local street markets in Paris and Barcelona.
The food is fresh and the price is just right. If you see a lot of locals, you know you are in the right place.
Yelp reviews helped a lot while traveling and the general rule of thumb, go off the beaten path. If that isn’t possible then try to avoid places that advertise “English Menus”. Generally speaking from our experience, English Menus means tourists flock there…you get standardized dishes and not traditional food, and the prices are astronomical.
So brush up on your foreign languages and get eating!
Credit card companies are your friends
We’ve gone into detail of the Chase Trinity; A Traveler’s Best Friend on how to use their cards to your advantage and even told you how we traveled Norway at a low cost to us.
I won’t go into detail here, nothing like someone pounding information into your brain, but many credit card companies offer reward points usable for travel. That’s how we have traveled to Europe twice and soon we will be heading off to Montreal and Hawaii without spending a dime on airfare or hotels.
Use the cards to your travel advantage and build your credit score. Simple!
Use Uber and public transportation
Often times Uber is cheaper than a taxi or driver service. Plus, the ease and convenience of Uber is astounding.
When Uber isn’t an option, use the public buses or metro stations. While traveling in London and Paris we used the local metro stations and got around pretty well.
Cheap travel between countries means taking trains. They are efficient and relaxing. What better way to see the countryside than the lulling rock of a train. Better yet, buy your tickets in advance and save more money. Trains. are. awesome.
Travel off season
Every travel location has a slow season. Typically this is in the cooler months when kids are in school. Sometimes its near major holidays. Plus, the crowds are much smaller.
We like to travel in the early spring for most of our destinations. It’s before school lets out and helps us deal with the ever-growing winter blues.
Do your research and find the off season of your destination and you will most likely save money. More deals are available for hotels and flights tend to be cheaper.
To me that is a win, win.
Bring an empty reusable water bottle
Water isn’t cheap, especially in airports. Do yourself a favor and pack a reusable water bottle and fill it at one of the many water bottle stations now located all over airports.
Just make sure it is empty before venturing through security!
The travel scarf
Have you guys seen this before? If not, it is AMAZING. It is a regular infinity scarf…or is it? Inside one of the seams is a zipper pouch large enough to carry your passport, a phone, and some money.
NO MORE TERRIBLE PASSPORT STRAPS!
Now you can remain fashionable…warm…and safe carrying your essentials while traveling abroad.
I got mine for something like $12 on amazon.com. Crazy right? I mean it is a cute scarf on its own so for that kind of money it is worth it….but man oh man the added bonus of the secret pocket makes this a steal. Check it out!
This is a great investment and will save you the hassle of pick pockets. When I travel, I rarely even carry a purse anymore. Just throw some essentials in the scarf, tuck it in your coat, and go.
For the fellas, if you aren’t into the scarf, my husband still goes for the leg strap. He carries a few back up credit cards, a small amount of cash, and his passport strapped to his leg just in case his wallet gets lifted. Better safe than sorry.
Pocket/sink laundry detergent
When traveling light, and saving money on luggage fees, I make it a priority to carry at least one packet of sink laundry detergent.
All hotels have a sink…so, why not?
Space is a commodity when traveling and I usually only bring two pairs of pants. Well…Life happens as they say, and when it rains you get mud.
I don’t know about you but traveling 10 days through Europe with mud on my pants was not an option. That is where the sink laundry detergent comes in. Grab whatever is dirty, or lets be honest…what smells, and throw it in the sink with a packet. Wash them, rinse, and use the extra hangers in the closet to hang dry your clothes in the bathroom while you explore the city for the day.
I’ve even gone as far as blow drying my clothes with the curtseys blow dryer in the hotel room.
Download maps on your mobile device
This is a MUST.
Find a map of your destination and download it to you mobile devise. Don’t purchase the paper maps…that’s just crazy. I mean…who does that anymore?
Anyway, while traveling in Norway my husband and I went off the beaten path and got totally lost trying to find a mall or something.
Stopping and asking for directions was out of the question. Most people couldn’t understand us anyway.
And to add to the drama…our cell service stopped working. AHHH!
Lesson learned. Since then, every time we travel we download maps to our phones of every city and even maps of the public transportation. Everything is there and easy to access. Then, if your cell service gives out on you, the map should already be there. Simple and life saving!
Pack healthy snacks
I can’t stress the importance of eating well enough. When traveling, our bodies are put through a lot of stress.
Walking a lot, lack of sleep, jet lag, even just the excitement and stress of navigating a new country. This is all overwhelming.
Nourish your body with water and healthy snacks.
Typically, I carry a few protein bars on me. Under stressful situations my blood sugar goes crazy leading to light-headedness and an overall crabby attitude.
Solution? Eat a Snickers bar…JK, JK, JK. I couldn’t help myself. It was set up so perfectly. But in all seriousness, eat protein or meal bar.
Avoid sugary, over processed food. (Sorry Snickers, maybe later). Try mixed nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, etc.
Buy alcoholic beverages from the store, not the bar
Obviously, this doesn’t mean every time. While in London, we sold our first home and had to celebrate at a local pub. A celebration to remember forever…We typically buy a few drinks from a restaurant when traveling but during this last trip, we traveled with another couple and saved some cash drinking in our room. (Shout out to the Fox’s, we love you!)
I can recall on one particular occasion we walked to a market in Paris, bought a fresh baguette, some meats and cheeses, and a few other tasty morsels, and several REALLY cheap bottles of wine.
No, these weren’t bottom shelf bottles. They were your average mid-shelf wines but it blew us away at how cheap it was to purchase wine at the store.
We had an amazing early dinner back at the hotel room relaxing and conversing with our friends and saved some serious cash, allowing us to go out later that night for some more adventures.
If you aren’t stuck on a destination, use skyscanner to find cheap flights everywhere in the world
For the adventurous at heart, this is a pretty cool website. Skyscanner allows you to put in dates, the departure airport, and then select “Everywhere” as your destination.
Skyscanner then brings up the cheapest flights anywhere in the world that depart on your selected dates.
This is a great way to travel the world, one country at a time, while saving as much cash as possible.
There are plenty of free things to do in cities or check for discounted vouchers
Travel expenses add up quickly. Save your cash for what really matters. Many cities have free museums or offer discount vouchers if you plan on museum hopping.
While traveling in Norway, if we brought our receipt of one museum proving purchase of tickets we could go to other museums for free or at a discounted price.
Many places like arboretums and museums offer “free days” or discounts to students and military. Check their websites for details.
If museums aren’t your thing, then search for local hotspots and attractions. Do your research before hand.
Traveling to London soon? Check out a previous post on our top 10 FREE things to do in London.
These shirts were a recent discovery on my part. While shopping at Costco I came across these shirts. They are made of recycled water bottles (cool I know), moisture wicking, odor resistant, and are hella comfortable.
Best part? They were 2 for $10. Awesome.
Typically these shirts are used for workouts but they would be amazing for travel. Our upcoming trip is to Hawaii and these are definitely making it in the suitcase. Moisture wicking, cooling shirt while hiking volcanoes? SIGN ME UP!
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions feel free to add them in the comment box below! If you are interested in staying up to date with our posts, subscribe with your email on the right hand side. Until next time friends!