What do travelers spend most of their money? For many the obvious answer is transportation. Fuel is expensive, and so are trains, buses, planes. Luckily, there are ways to make it more affordable. Here’s a list of 8 backpacking tips; using them will save you lots of money.
Don’t ever book a ticket without checking if there are cheaper options. Take a look at what competition offers. It might turn out another bus company has prices half lower than the one you first saw. Use search engines; there are many of them available online. Skyscanner, for example, is great for comparing flight prices. Kayak and Momondo are helpful as well.
It’s a bit more complicated with trains and buses, but you can look for some search engines focusing on particular countries or areas. This one, for instance, shows a variety of train and bus connections in Poland: https://en.e-podroznik.pl/. This one will come in handy if you’re planning a trip to Germany and want to move around by train: https://www.bahn.de/p_en/view/. There are equivalents of these websites for other countries, all you need to do is find them and compare. Searching takes time, but it’s usually worth the effort.
Be flexible about dates
Prices can vary not only depending on the company but also date and time. Flights, for example, tend to cost least on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sometimes a flight with the same airline, for the same route, can be twice more expensive on Friday than Wednesday and the time of the year matters too. High season is, of course, more expensive, especially when it’s about flights – that’s a rule with few exceptions. Talk about months, but even hours can influence prices. Some bus companies offer a specified number of tickets at lowest prices. The least convenient and accessible timings will sell out slower. Being flexible about dates can save you tons of money – it’s one of the best backpacking tips you will ever hear.
Look for sales and bargains
Who knows, you might find something amazing. There are some websites regularly posting real bargains, such as Fly4Free. You can find them by yourself, too. Airlines inform about sales on their websites. Let’s take the low-cost airline Wizzair. Once in a while, you can book any ticket from their website with a discount, be it 20% or more. Some bus and train companies, as mentioned above, offer some tickets at insanely low prices. Others offer various codes and coupons lowering the costs. Just look around, follow travel-related websites and always pay attention to what companies offer at a given moment.
Consider various ways of transportation
Do you want to travel by train around Europe? Well, it sounds romantic and all, but what if buses are way cheaper? If keeping a small budget is your priority, you should be open to different ways of transportation. And don’t assume anything – it happens something you imagine to be expensive, is more affordable than other options. Flying, for instance, tends to be a more economical way of moving around Europe than traveling by land.
Do you want to get from one Greek island to another? Or from an Indonesian city to a small village? Don’t just count on the Internet, ask locals. They might be aware of some alternatives tourists have no idea. If you’re staying in a hostel, talk with the staff – they’re usually well-informed and will be glad to help you. Maybe you’ll end up not only paying less but also traveling in a more adventurous way, surrounded by locals, not vacationers.
Travel at night
As for this one, tickets for overnight rides aren’t always cheaper. The thing is rather than going at night makes you spend less on accommodation. If you have a long way to go, in most cases you’ll be better off traveling at night. We say most cases because it, of course, doesn’t apply to some situations. Let’s say you’re in a place you don’t feel safe – traveling during the day will be better then. If you’re one of those people who simply can’t sleep on trains, planes, and buses, and you’re also totally exhausted, and then it won’t be the best solution. After all, it’s better to pay for a night in a hostel than to waste lots of time being tired and not enjoying anything. Nevertheless, traveling at night is often a good idea. In addition to saving money, it also saves you daytime.
It’s free and adventurous. Hitch-hiking gives you an opportunity to save lots of money, but also to meet locals, get to know the culture and make lots of wonderful, crazy memories. In many countries around the world, hitch-hiking is very popular. Not in all, though. Keep in mind there are places where hitch-hiking is tough. You can get a lot of information from HitchWiki (http://hitchwiki.org/). Besides, as amazing as it is, hitch-hiking is not for everyone. If you’ve never traveled by thumb, go for a small trip first and check if it’s something you like.
Walk or ride a bike
Many people don’t even consider traveling by feet or bike. There are so many vehicles to choose from these days; such simple, old-style methods are being forgotten. Nonetheless, there are also a lot of people who still want such ways. They don’t only walk and cycle short distances, but travel hundreds, thousands of kilometers. Just like hitch-hiking, it’s not for everyone. You need to like it and be fit enough to manage (although, as for the second, don’t get discouraged just because you’re not very sporty – practice and you’ll quickly become fitter; just be realistic about your abilities and start slowly, with short distances).
You’re sure walking or cycling long ways isn’t for you? You can still do it occasionally. If you’re in a city, let’s say, walk instead of taking a tram. In the long run, you can save a lot of money this way. Besides, you’ll get to know the city much better and possibly explore some hidden gems.
Other Backpacking Tips
Do you know any other backpacking tips for saving money on transportation? Let us know. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends!