A Guest Post by: Archie Ward
Learning how to travel frugally takes experience, and those who practice the art seem to only get better at it as they age. The skills that it takes to sniff out travel related bargains, discounts and free stuff are usually developed in one’s twenties, cultivated in one’s forties and applied expertly in one’s senior years. Here are some frugal travel tips to help travel enthusiasts of all ages travel right even when budgets are tight.
Related: How to Survive Europe on a Budget
What Frugal Travel Looks Like in Your 20’s
Traditionally, tight budgets do not stop young frugal travelers from packing their bags and heading to appealing spots all over the world, and modern young people seem to be no different. Here are some of the tactics that they can use to develop their budget travel bargain hunting skills for things like accommodations, transportation, food and communication.
Read: Why I decided to Travel the World in my 20’s
The most obvious savings for which young travelers can take advantage during trips abroad are found through youth hostels. While some hostels will take reservations from travelers of all ages, many comfortable hostels remain true to the original mission of hostels which is to provide clean lodging to young people who are traveling solo or in groups. These rooms can cost as little as eight dollars a night when travelers decide to bunk with other young pilgrims. The accommodations usually include access to bathrooms, showers, community kitchens, laundry, and wireless internet. Another way that budget travelers can spend a night in a new city without breaking their budget is by couch surfing. By using platforms like couchsurfing.com, young people can stay for free with hospitable locals in their chosen cities and make new international friends at the same time.
Utilizing public transportation like locals is more than likely the most cost effective way for young travelers to get around new locations safely. For example, most European cities have easy to navigate, reasonably priced buses and subways. Also, travelers can pick up Eurail passes and visit up to four countries over a five day period for about $300 USD. More exotic travel in places like Kenya offer public transportation on a smaller scale in the form of minibuses called matatus.
Young people who choose to stay in hostels often benefit from social activities sponsored by their hosts, and these events usually include free food. Researching hostels that serve complimentary meals or appetizers that have gained good reviews from peers is a way that 20 something budget travelers can save some money for other trip activities.
Staying in touch with family and friends is an important part of traveling abroad as a young person, and advances in technology help to make it easier and cheaper to make international phone calls. For example, 20 somethings who opt to stay in a hotel or hostel that has wireless internet can easily make voice over internet protocol calls on their smart phones, tablets or laptop computers. Services like Skype and Talkatone allow callers to make and receive a month’s worth of international calls for about $12.
How to Vacation Like a 40 Something Frugal Traveler
While one’s tastes sometimes change throughout the years, the desire to save a buck almost never leaves the true budget traveler. Here are some strategies that they use to travel on a budget and sharpen their travel cost cutting skills while not totally sacrificing a grown up good time.
Read: 5 Things I learned from Traveling the World
Airbnb is one of the most popular alternatives to hotels in the hospitality industry, and those who use the service claim that they always save money with their Airbnb lodgings versus conventional hotels. Airbnb allows travelers to rent rooms or entire apartments in worldwide locations directly from property owners; prospective guests benefit from having the option to negotiate lower than listed prices for advertised rentals. Another lodging option for homeowners is home exchange. This alternative allows travelers to temporarily swap living spaces with other homeowners who also want to travel; the traveling homeowners are able to stay in nice homes in their chosen cities for weeks without paying anything for lodging. Membership fees to use platforms like Homeexchange.com and the Intervac International Home Exchange start at about $120 annually.
Seasoned budget travelers in their forties know a thing or two about discount airlines. They know that they can look at something like Sky Scanner to get a glimpse of the lowest cost air fares among the discount airlines. They know about the teaser rates offered by airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet. However, they are also aware of the extra fees that are charged to make up for their extremely low seat prices like those charged for excessive checked bags. That is why frugal 40 something travelers cut down on their checked baggage by wearing many of the items that they would have normally checked. There are special clothing on the market for the ultra thrifty traveler to stash their belongings on their person to help avoid high checked bag fees.
One of the best frugal travel tips for 40 somethings attempting to save money on their food budgets is to find a food market, street produce vendor or a farmer’s market for fresh, wholesome foods that will provide them with the nourishment that they need to continue their travel adventures.
Travelers who are in their forties are more likely to want to visit local cultural attractions rather than bars or dance clubs. One way that they can save money on the activities that they enjoy is to find out if and when their favorite cultural venues have free admission days. For example, entrance into many parks, gardens and museums in Spain is free on certain days of the week. Additionally, 40 somethings who want to use their vacation time to help others or the environment can do volunteer vacations; many of these adventures include free room or meals.
Never Miss a Deal Frugal Traveling Over 60
Seniors often have the most time to spend vacationing, and frugal travel enthusiasts who are over 60 have plenty of opportunities to show off their travel cost cutting prowess. Here is how many of them do it.
Starwood Hotel chains honor seniors with a 50 percent discount on lodging, and seniors who prefer staying in one of their comfortable, four star hotels take full advantage of this benefit. Seniors who are a little more adventurous may opt to join organizations like Trusted Housesitters. This platform allows people who love animals and have flexible schedules to stay in homes around the world for free as house and pet sitters. The price to use the service is less than $100 per year.
If one senior discount provides a little cost savings, one can imagine the savings that add up when seniors join forces to book group tours using their memberships in organizations like AAA or American Association of Retired Persons. These excursions that can be taken from the comfort of a coach are often the most cost effective options for seniors to see a city’s cultural attractions. Also, seniors can participate in Elder hostel programs that provide reasonable rates on educationally based tours, activities and events.
Apart from availing of hotel and tour discounts, many people over the age of 60 choose to travel in style and go on a cruise ship. Not only does it offer good value for money as normally food and accommodations are included in the price, but they can also score some great deals if they book early. Traveling by cruise ships are a great way for the 60 something travelers to still enjoy their gallivanting around the world, without the stress of having to organize everything.
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