Traveling doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. With the invention of the internet, people are directly organizing accommodation and transportation in other countries for next to nothing. If traveling the world for cheap sounds up your alley, read on for a few of my favorite tips.
1. Fly With a Budget Airline
Traveling on a budget? No problem. There are several budget airlines you can travel with to save money–you’ve probably heard of them already, airlines like Southwest, JetBlue, Ryanair, Transavia, and easyJet. Flying on budget airlines may compromise the luxury of in-flight customer service, free snacks, and a pre-chosen seat, but these airlines oftentimes fly directly to your destination without the hassle of having to transfer terminals at a large airport. Budget airlines usually work by flying in and out of smaller airlines outside of large cities, so you may have to commute a little further than normal to reach your plane.
2. Carpool Across Continents
Are bus, train, and airplane tickets still too painful for your budget to bear? If you need to get to another country on an extreme budget, search for ride sharing programs on the internet. A reliable service for Europe is BlaBlaCar, which allows travelers driving solo to a destination to open their car to other backpackers. You simply have to share the cost of the gas. Enter your departing and final destination and road trips from Paris to Amsterdam, for example, will be available for your choosing.
As far as safety goes? Make sure to check out the reviews from previous road trips that other travelers have written about the driver. It’s also important to check the type car they are driving, whether they have verified their phone number and email address, and whether the BlaBlaCar account is linked to the driver’s Facebook profile.
Here’s an insider’s tip: make sure to check out BlaBlaCar in the language of the country you are departing from, as this will oftentimes yield more results than the English version of the site.
3. Find Lodging for Next to Nothing
So your friends are all living in home stays or you binge spent while online shopping the week before. Before you freak out and consider sleeping in the train station as a last resort, know that there are many options for the frugal traveler.
A popular method of traveling for young people is to rent accommodation in a youth hostel. Youth hostels are like hotels, but communal. If you’re a solo traveler, staying in a hostel can be essential to making friends because of the oftentimes organized pub crawls and common areas within the hostel. If you’re worried about sleeping in communal rooms, most hostels either have the option of private rooms for a slightly higher price or will provide you with a locker and a padlock for your belongings. Amenities vary from hostel to hostel: for example, some offer free breakfast, book sharing, bike rentals, tours, and have English-speaking employees. Others will be shabbier. Hostelworld is a great website to check out reviews and book your bed. A typical hostel will cost around €20 or $25 a night.
If you’re traveling with a group of friends, another low-cost idea that gives you more privacy is to rent someone else’s furnished (and typically empty) apartment through Airbnb. If you’re splitting the cost between several people, this can sometimes be even less expensive than youth hostels.
Want accommodation absolutely for free, no strings attached? Check out Couchsurfing. People from the smallest cities all over the world are opening their pull-out beds just for you, and this is all free of charge. It’s a great way for solo travelers to make a close connection with someone abroad, and who knows, you might even get a free tour around the area you’re visiting.
With these money saving tips, travel is more accessible now than ever before. Always be sure to verify anyone that you’re sharing a car or home with; although the majority of these people are really looking to make friends with people from different cultures, it’s important to be aware, especially when making reservations through the internet. Pull out those crush-stalking methods and never say yes to anything that doesn’t feel right.
Can’t wait to see the amazing #wanderlust Instagram pics.
This article was originally published on the Lala.