Are you traveling on a budget? Trying to see as much as you can for as little money as possible?
After traveling around the world for the past 8 years, there are some travel hacks I want to share with you, that will make your life on the go a lot easier and you will learn how to travel the world on a budget with the following travel hacks! HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS?
This is an essential one! Do not go to a travel agency, you can do this on your own with just a little bit of planning in advance. It always helps if you do have some time to play around with and are not limited to two weeks only. But still, it is possible to find some cheap flights if you follow these steps:
There is a page called Skyscanner, where you can find the cheapest flights possible and this is how you do it:
- Select your airports and click on “one way flight“
- Select “whole month” instead of a fixed date and see on the bar chart where your flight will be the cheapest (it’s indicated in green)
- Click on two or three random flights and note down the short code (Frankfurt for example is FRA, London Heathrow LRH, etc.) of the STOPOVER not your end destination. (At one point you know these short codes by heart and can save some time whilst typing)
- Choose the stopover you can imagine spending a day at and play around with your one way flights.
- Take out a piece of paper and note down your options.
- Sum up the prices and compare them after.
- optional Set an alarm to get notified when the prices change. This is possible via email on the bell symbol somewhere on the page. You will get updated as soon as the price goes down or up.
Flights are cheapest at around 8 weeks before the flight. Sometimes they drop a lot, when the plane is not full, but normally the price goes up once the date gets closer.
Do NOT book with kiwi.com! They might be the cheapest, but they are also the worst. You always have to check your luggage out and in again and the time span to catch your connection flight is often not enough to actually catch it. Also they tend to re-book your fights several times, which can lead to massive delays! They also do book you into oversea flights (> 11hours) where you have to pay extra for a glass of water or food.
Another useful advice is to study your credit card number and passport number by heart. Keep them both in mind, so you don’t have to fumble around your pocket or wallet to find it. It also makes it faster and easier to book on the go.
HOW TO GET FREE ACCOMMODATION?
Sign up at Couchsurfing, create an account and start hosting people on your couch in your home. This will provide you with some (hopefully good) references, you can later travel with. At the same time you will meet a lot of laid back, nice people. One time I have been traveling around the world for eight months and stayed with Couchsurfers almost all of the time. This not only saved me heaps of money, but I also got to know the places better, had some entertaining locals as tour guides and got to experience the country out of the local perspective. Plus I made tons of friends!
And if you make them banana pancakes for breakfast, you can most likely stay a day or two longer.
Check out this article for the best tricks to do couchsurfing!
Another way to get free accommodation is to work a bit whilst you travel. I actually LOVE doing that, because it always makes me feel a bit home in the country I am visiting.
Ever wanted to do more arts? To gain more experience in videography? Visit Worldpackers.com and sign up for free. There are so many jobs to choose from and you will meet so many new people and will gain experiences that will last a lifetime!
You see I am still excited when I am writing about it! Trust me – even if it is only for a week – try it out! This is so much fun! And normally you do not have to work more than four hours per day anyways.
Click this link if you want to find out how to sneak into awesome hotels.
The third and last way to get free accommodation is to do House Sitting. Check out the website of Trusted Housesitters.com and get inspired by beautiful places all around the world. All you have to do is take care of some plants or some dogs and you’re set. It’s actually a great way to get around, stay at a nice place and relax, take some time off and get some free accommodation in return.
HOW TO GET FREE FOOD?
This hack is my favourite one, but it only works on Sundays! All you have to do is google “Hare Krishna, your location” and note down the address. Yeah you’ve heard right! Many people are scared of them, but they are actually really nice! I’ve stayed with them a bit on Hawaii.
And no, I do not believe in the little blue Krishna, that is feeding little baby deers and no they will not lock you in and brainwash you to pay them money, but what they will do is…
… wait for it …
… offer free food for everybody on Sundays all over the world!!
And OH MY FREAKING GOD! This food is gooood! It’s mostly vegan and delicious. Just imagine a lemon pie tart with coconut crumbles on top. Yes! Those are the things you can eat there. Take a friend, visit them, have some chats (they are actually really friendly in a not pushing way!) and stuff your belly, then leave and head to the beach, or so.
Up to you, but I can guarantee you, you will be stuffed with good food!
HOW TO CHECK-IN FAST?
I am going to list the two options for you to check in: with luggage and without luggage. Let’s start with the faster one:
Check in hand luggage only! You do NOT need to pack for more than 4 days! You can wash anything you need, and let’s be honest: Aren’t we always wearing our favourite things when traveling? Apart from that: no-one cares what you are wearing! Just leave most of it at home and travel hand luggage only! It is also way cheaper!
Make sure to check in online (the QR code can be read by those machines from your mobile phone, so you do not even have to print out stuff in advance) .. plus: no-one will check the weight of your hand luggage. As long as it doesn’t look like a house – you’re set!
If you check in with luggage and do not want to wait in line for a long time: just go to the counter for bulky items. (In German: “Sperrgepäck”). Ask around where it is or follow people with snowboards. You can check in anything there and do not have to wait. if they ask you to check in at the regular counter, just smile, look them in the eyes and ask them politely to check your luggage in. If you aren’t stressing them out thy will most likely not care at all. Saves you heaps of time! Just do not tell this piece of advice a lot of people. The less people to know, the better it will work. 😉
Whilst packing you can also save a lot of space if you roll your clothes instead of folding them.
HOW TO MAKE TRAVEL FRIENDS FAST?
If you travel on your own it might be a struggle to find people to travel with?
Nope. It is actually not! Just don’t force it. Make sure you are happy on your own, the rest will flow naturally! But there are some ways to get to know some travel mates quickly.
- Be genuinely interested in people. Let them talk and listen. You can learn something from every singe person you meet.
- Check into hostels and sleep in a dorm. I always choose the biggest mixed dorms as they are a) cheap and b) provide you with lots of people you can get to know.
- Step out of your comfort zone! Don’t travel to be a lazy fuck at the beach! Meet people, talk to them – even if you are tired! This is especially hard for me, as I am the biggest asshole you can image, once I wake up and haven’t had my coffee yet. People just don’t work for me in the morning. Can I stick to that attitude whilst traveling? – Not really! If I want to meet people when I am traveling on my own, I have to step out of that comfort zone and talk to people in the morning. And you can do it as well!
- Think positive! Expect them to like you! Re-read that.Of course they will like you – why wouldn’t they? Stick to that thought and your face will shine with happiness. (Re-read that one three times if you need to apply it in the morning)
- Make their lives a bit easier. Don’t be the clingy mess who runs after people, but maybe make some breakfast in a hostel and prepare more than you need. Ask people if they want some and start talking to them.
But as I said before: the less you force it, the more you’ll attract it. Go with the flow, do what makes you happy and people will follow.
HOW TO FIND THE AWESOME PLACES?
No-one likes those touristy spots, where you feel like a farm salmon, but where can you find the desolate places? Well, here are various options to do so:
- Google “name of place, travel blog”. You will most likely find something off the beaten track. Or google “off the beaten track”… be creative! There are guys like us, who love to write about stuff like this. Just don’t go to Tripadvisor. Aaaaargh! The design of that page always makes me cringe!
- Talk to locals or the hostel staff. Hostels meet traveler all day long and the staff is always pretty well-informed. Ask them where to go and you won’t be disappointed.
- Take some time and satellite fly over Google Maps! I found a rainbow river in Colombia dong so! Just check what looks interesting and go there! If you own a drone you can also fly above places and find hidden waterfalls you can hike to!
- Go out and explore! Take a scooter or a bike and just cruise around! The best spots are most likely off the beaten track!
HOW TO GET AROUND?
You can find so many easy ways to get around. I will list some of the most useful apps I have downloaded on my mobile phone and can’t imagine traveling without:
- Download MAPS.ME. The best way to get around for me is to use this app. I simply love it. It’s free, you can download a map once on wifi and set pins on locations you want to head to or locations you want to keep in mind. I always do this when I write a blog about something. It gives you the GPS data and lets you take notes about the places as well.
- Use UBER. You can easily download it and find cheap rides all around the world (well not all around the world, as it is forbidden in most parts in Europe, but it works pretty well in most of the world though). And this is how it works: You order a car to you current location and pay with your credit card. Afterwards you can rate the driver up to 5 stars. It works pretty well for me and I use it every day to get to work and home. In Brazil I pay around 9€ for a 40 minutes ride, for example.
- Use BUSBUD to find cheap busses. Also works worldwide and can be paid via credit card.
- Download HOSTELWORLD to find cheap hostels and translate sentences on the go. This app offers a free built in translator you can use to talk to people. It actually translates the sentences upside down, so everyone can see the sentence in their language at the same time. Pretty awesome, huh?
Alright, I guess I’ve listed the most important travel hacks I know of. Feel free to comment If you can think of other useful tips while traveling.