10 Tips to Cut Your Travel Costs

If you love to travel like I do, here are some tips to stretch your travel dollar…

1.  Lodging

Lodging is by far the largest expense when traveling. Couchsurfing is a terrific alternative to the standard hotel room if you’re a bit adventurous. After making an online profile through Couchsurfing.org, you can search their database based on location and other filters, such as age and male/female, for a place to crash for a few nights. It’s totally free and the friendships you make could become lifelong! You may also host people at your place, if you have a couch, an extra bed, or even an air mattress on the floor. In the past two years, I’ve Couchsurfed in Cape Town, South Africa, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Patio of Cape Town, S. Africa Couchsurfing home


2.  Solo Travel

 If you’re traveling solo through a travel company, choose a company that doesn’t charge a single supplement fee, such as G Adventures. They’ll pair you up with a roommate and who knows, you may even become Facebook friends with them!

One of my roommates in Thailand through G Adventures


3.  Food

Make lunch your main meal out. It’s typically less expensive than the dinner menu and as an added bonus…you may even lose a few pounds having a lighter evening meal.


4.  Trains

Book European trains online through that Country’s train website. An outstanding website for train travel around the world is www.seat61.com. It’s simple to use and not only supplies the website to utilize for booking train transport from one stop to another, but also gives visuals of the train interior and what features it has. The other exceptional website is Germany’s train website www.bahn.de, which provides timetables.


5.  Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees

Sign up for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Capital One, Discover and Schwab are a few of them. Also, withdraw cash from an ATM when arriving to an international destination, rather than withdrawing money from your bank at home, for a better exchange rate.


6.   Travel Partner

Jump in the car or on the plane with someone other than your spouse. Aside from the fact that absence does make the heart grow fonder, you’ll save a chunk of change by splitting the cost of the lodging, car rental, etc. with a friend!

My friend and I in Colorado


7.  Free Activities

Instead of shelling out your hard-earned money on expensive tours and museums, choose one of the multitudes of activities that are free when traveling. Such as festivals, having a picnic dinner in the park while people watching, hiking in the woods, outdoor concerts, strolling through historic cemeteries, breathe in the aromas at food markets, touring spectacular Cathedrals. Well, you get the picture…


8.  Think twice before you buy that Souvenir

Who needs that touristy souvenir from Amsterdam? The photographs you take are a great memory and don’t collect dust!


9Location of Lodging

When you plan a trip, choose lodging within walking distance to the subway or bus, to avoid car rental fees. The top rated transit friendly Cities in the United States are New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia! If you’re in Europe, most everywhere has excellent transit options. Also, walking has the added benefit of exercise!

 Copenhagen, Denmark


10.  Flights

Sign up to receive e-mails from airlines announcing specials. You could snag a $30 round trip flight like I did to Washington D.C. in September from CVG!


We all have limited time, money and energy…so travel smart!

32 thoughts on “10 Tips to Cut Your Travel Costs

  1. Really great tips! I am a 50-ish japanese male living in Japan with very low travel budget and some of your tips is applicable to my domestic travels. Thank you for sharing.
    I always enjoy your blog entries with a log of nice travel pictures. I wish I had some money to travel like you someday.


  2. All excellent tips. If I could add one more, I’d recommend buying food from supermarkets and seeking hotel rooms with a fridge and microwave. You can save a small fortune by eating a few meals and snacks this way.


  3. Sherry, you continue to amaze and impress me. I have found that one tiny object from each trip costs next to nothing, takes almost no space, and can trigger fond memories repeatedly. I haven’t tried couch surfing, yet, as I need some privacy to keep up my daily painting and my blog. Love trains, love walking, travel partners are great, but it looks like you get all the cute ones ;-). I would add only this: Travel Light! Loading and unloading and dragging tons of stuff around is not fun.


  4. Sherry, very nicely done. I’ve bookmarked G Travels and will check them out when planning another adventure trip. Solo travel can add costs and its great that they make accommodations for people who travel to locations where friends and family don’t necessarily have the same interest


  5. Very well written article Sherry…..you should submit it to Budget Travel magazine or other travel companies…excellent points! As for tip #8….. Buying a memory from my trip is very important for me. I have a lot of beautiful & functional things I have bought through all my travels which I never ever regretted buying…..a clock from Italy, plates from Spain, a gorgeous utensil holder from France, jewelry from San Miquel de Allende, gorgeous wine glasses hand blown in Murano…..so all of my “souvenirs” have a function & I use them often. But then again….it’s a personal preference…..so I respect your decision not to purchase items. Again….such a well written article on traveling on a budget. Thank-you!


    • Thanks Sherry! Your travel purchases sound wonderful and I would cherish them also. I like the functionality of them also! I have bought things through my travels also…but as some of them are broken, or chewed by the dog, I realize the impermanence of things, hence they’ve become less important to me. The added bonus is I have more money left for travel. But, as you say, it’s everyone’s personal preference. I’ll usually purchase something for Randy and Justin though, and sometimes for friends and other family members.


      • Good thing Bella doesn’t chew or break any of my souvenirs! She is going on 18 years old….can you believe it! Good point about having the ‘extra” money to travel! Are you going to submit your article to a travel magazine? You really should! Have a Wonderful Wednesday!


  6. Good advice. Not being an international traveler these ideas Are helpful. I think I’m headed to Norway next summer. Ha det bra!


  7. Great tips! I’m not sure I’m adventurous enough to try couchsurfing, but I’ve had great look booking hotels and cars through Priceline.On our last trip we got a rental car on the West coast for $9/day!


    • Wow…that’s a great price! As far as couchsurfing, if you stick with either women or couples, you’ll be fine. Most likely even with guys…but it’s better to play it safe. Some hosts accept more than one couchsurfer at a time, so you and your partner could go together.


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