1. AirTickets- How would you find these sweet deals?
From […your location…] to [..destination..] on […choose WHOLE desired month…]
It will open the calendar and will suggest "green" days with the lowest price- the trick to buy. To buy earlier is cheaper in 95% cases, in 5% the price drops a week before the flight and keeps dropping up until one day before the flight. Usually, the most expensive ticket is on the day of the flight.
Example: Toronto to Malaysia on June 5th is 400$ CAD VS 800$ in April. Or Toronto to Osaka (Japan) direct flight is 800$ VS 500$ with 3 stops in China.
If you concern about the price, choose the ticket with many connections. If you fly to Asia, a connection through China will give you the cheapest options.
Also, if you are flexible with time- choose longer stopovers, so you will have a chance to explore a new city and relax before boarding the next one. (see my guide for 6 hour stopover in Venice)
Join the Airline rewards program to fly fo free. Join an alliance (like Star Alliance) -> to collect points in one place and use it for any member airline.
What kind of traveller are you?
If you are communicative, adventure seeker -> Hostels - sometimes the quality/ amenities of the rooms are better than in hotels. You will be usually sharing the room with like-minded interesting, thrill seekers. Always put in a requirement of 8.5 star rate, trust me - anything lower than this was proven to be the headache in the middle of the night and is not worth the price difference of 1-2 dollars. Base your decision on the star rate and location (you can open the map which will show you the location of each apartment). The photos and pictures could be false-looking.
-> Couch surfing- free “couch“ with like-minded travellers. You might give up the comfort of sleeping in a good bed, but you will gain a valuable friend and will save money. Plan in advance, as not many people are prepared to host.
-> Mind My House- Do you love taking care of pets? For 20$ a year, you can score a stay as a sitter of someone’s animal. Just make sure to feed and cozy them for a free night!
If you are health conscious like me-> Apartment - for the utility of having kitchen for yummy local breakfasts. (Homeawayfromhome and booking.com and airbnb)
If you are relaxed and comfortable-> hotels.com will give you suggestions for various deals for some of 4-5 star hotels for half a price. You should be flexible with a choice as the exact option might not be available. In case with hostels, sometimes it could be a better quality than a hotel (and you can also book a separate single room with ensuite bathroom on hostels.com).
Travelsmarter.com -> has 20-70% hotels in major cities, always compare with hotels.com; as there is no middleman, the website provides the best prices
Almost always, it is more interesting to take a local transport. Firstly, you communicate with locals who tell you the secrets of their culture, language and how to save up money ;) Secondly, it is much cheaper and will familiarize you with the area. Check out my guide on How to cross Jawa Island by land (local buses and trains).
Hitchhiking! - yes, you would be surprised how many people are willing to give a lift from the parking lot, or on the road when they see a solo traveller!
Schedule around “free days“; it works for different archeological and cultural sites (f.e. last Thursday of the month is free museum’s entrance)
in Europe, some attractions offer free admission for Students. Keep you Student ID with you all the time.
In Europe, the city tour card like Barcelona Card might save you the hassle of buying individual tickets and staying in line. (check if all the attractions interest you)
You know that feeling of “Try it All Foodie Vacation“? All of us been there, but Don’t be fooled by the “unique cuisine experiences“ which include 3-4 courses and cost more than you will pay in your home country. Would you think that locals of Nepal would cook All inclusive rare dinners every night? Probably not. They would eat Momos (dumplings) or Dal What (rice with appetizers: veggies, cream and legumes) and usually it is found in the street stalls and local family restaurants.
To find cheap and authentic local food->explore around; good signs are: not in the touristic area, not many tourists and small menu. Sometimes the best experience is not on Google maps, simple because the local family can’t afford to use a technology and already well-known in their neighbourhood.
In more expensive countries, buy ready to eat groceries: fruits, veggies, nuts, tofu or bread. You can easily craft a salad or a sandwich. The hotels/ hostels will be happy to provide you with a knife, fork and a cup - everything you need for a healthy-crafted meal.
Some grocerry stores and markets has a pre-packed salads or sandwiches which are full of local ingredients (f.e. Greek cheese in Athens farm market)- great alternative to expensive restaurant meal and a chance to hear local gossips from a butcher:)
Pret A Manger has vegan/vegetarian/healthy salad/sandwiches/porridge/yogurt ready options and located in convenient areas such as airports and railways in France, USA, Dubai, the UK, China, Denmark, Germany…etc. (the price of my salad in France was 6 euros VS 18 euros in the cafe)