So you want to travel like a rockstar around the world but you’ve got the budget of a pauper. Easy! I can tell you exactly how you can do it – successfully ! But, brace yourself… I’m gonna say it, right now, you might not like my advice. So, if you value your creature comforts, reading past tip #1 is definitely not for you.
Travel Hack #1: The Credit Card
Now, I’m not saying go and get any random credit card and have a binge travel blowout Vegas style. That’s totally irresponsible and not what I’m about. First up, you need to practice safe spending – from the first time to every time. What I mean by that is… do your research.
Here in Australia, QANTAS has a mega deal with most credit card companies where you can get anywhere from 40,000-100,000 frequent flyer miles! Let me put this in perspective – a flight from Sydney to London is usually around 60,000 points and if you add in the tax, my flight to the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD costs me roughly $300 AUD. Oh, and I also get Business lounge passes to sweeten the deal.
You don’t need to do a whole heck of a lot to get this. Usually, you just need to sign up and make the minimum spend and vola! You’re on your way to hoarding points for your next excursion!
Travel Hack #2: Couches
If you’re lucky enough to have friends planted all over the world, you can save a great deal by getting cosy with their couch. If you don’t have mate’s in great places, don’t worry – ask around. Surely, you’ve got a friend who met that one guy at a bar in Spain who’s got a sister in that little town with the best baguette and cheese you once saw on Instagram. Also, check out the online group chats and travel forums. There’s actually a bunch of unique groups listed on Facebook. And, if you can’t be asked to do that sort of research, there’s other webpages like Couchsurfing or if you’re a cyclist, Warmshowers. But, to be honest, you kinda do want to do your research and do a massive vet check on the people you’re staying with… because getting yourself into a jam somewhere on the opposite side of the planet can become expensive or worse: DANGEROUS.
Travel Hack #3: Hostels
Hostels of today are NOTHING like the stories your weird uncle would share at Christmas dinner. Let me preface this by saying, YES – I’ve stayed in my fair share of really shitty hostels and YES!… I’ve also stayed in the super unique fabulously chic! Hostel choice can be a hit or a miss but the benefits faaaar outweigh the negatives.
First up – they’re cheap as chips. There’s anywhere between 4 and 16 of you in a room (and don’t cringe – I’ve stayed in a 16 room dorm and LOVED it because it was spacious, quiet and everyone in my room was pretty awesome). I’ve also stayed in a 6 bedroom hostel that reminded me of private train carriages where you climb into the wall. It was incredibly private, comfortable and quiet. I’ve also stayed in places that resemble a castle and one place had a view of the Eiffel tower from the toilet seat.
Hostel prices can range but they’re usually pretty inexpensive. Also, a lot of them come with a free breakfast, transport, theme nights – you name it. Hostels are becoming more mainstream because the internet has changed the hostel game. There’s now online reviews from past travellers that you can read. From that, you can make a pretty educated decision whether or not this place will suit you.
Travel Hack #4: Air BnB
Air BnB is a bit more exxy than living the #HosteLYFE but will give you some cheaper alternatives to overly inflated hotel prices. I’ve personally been on both ends of the Air BnB spectrum by hosting and also being a tenant! When I was a host, I found it great fun! I invited my guest to some cool stuff like… TrainWrecked – a train pub crawl that myself and about 10 of my closest mates put together – true story. I also took another guest of mine for a tour of Sydney on the back of my motorbike. And, to be fair, I had some tenants that I never ever saw.
When I stayed as a tenant in France, I felt like I was living the French life. The room was spacious and chic and I was in walking distance to everything including baguettes! Oh, and yes, I was saving bucket loads in accommodation.
Travel Hack #5: Cheap Flights
Yes, Cheap flights DO exist. Yes, there are the EasyJet’s and the RyanAir’s – but be sure to play by THEIR games because they’re in charge… meaning, if you’re not from Europe, RyanAir makes you print out your boarding pass which I find an absolute joke because we’re living in the digital age… if you dont print it, it costs about €30… major eye roll… oh, and let me not forget that one time they kinda flew me to the wrong Frankfurt airport… but if you’re looking for a cheap flight and can’t use points, it’s a good option. Just read ALL the fine print.
You also have other options like Skyscanner, Kayak, I Know the Pilot, ect – I actually had a friend of mine fly from Cologne, Germany to Adelaide, Australia for €400 – no joke. Now, it took her about 60 hours to get to Australia, but I guess my point is, it’s totally doable, you just might not be comfortable. If you’re booking last minute and using one of these cheap webpages, be weary. I was once scammed by a nasty travel company. I also once found a company in Australia called Scoot and they fly from Sydney to Berlin and Athens for no joke $300 bucks. The catch? You can only bring your hand luggage.
Travel Hack #6: The Bus
If you want to get around Europe on the cheap you’ve got a pretty fabulous option with Flix and Oui Bus. They pretty much go everywhere and for peanuts. I once booked a one way from the Netherlands to Paris and it cost me €9. No joke. It also took me seven hours to get there, but I was taking a much needed snooze. Oh, and did I mention that they also have wifi?
Travel Hack #7: The Van
When I travelled across the USA in a van for 44 days, I paid $20USD a day plus petrol. It was a frickin bargain. However… I didn’t rent a camper like a Jucy or Wicked this time – I actually rented a normal van from Hertz, went to the hardware shop and BUILT a platform in the van so my inflatable $20 bed would fit. I also made $10 curtains with some $10 plastic plumbing pipes and some zip ties.
For showers, I stopped at both the National and State Parks for a shower. Some campsites are paid and some are free. There’s loads of info online about this stuff. I also cooked along the way which kept costs down.
Got any cheap travel hacks that give you more bang for your travel buck? Please share in the comments!
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!