Jane Jurgens suggests some cash-saving hacks for saving money when you travel, especially when you’re on the road by yourself.
Use a Rideshare app
Forget expensive taxis, there are plenty of other ways to get from A to B — you just have to be savvy about it. There are a zillion apps out there, the best-known of which is Uber, and in bigger cities it can work out more economically to share your ride with someone going in roughly the same direction. Plus, if more people are sharing a car ride it’s better for the environment. Tesloop is a sustainably minded Tesla car service that operates in certain areas of California such as Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Diego. The best things about Tesloop are the complimentary amenities including Wi-Fi, device chargers, healthy snacks and drinks, travel pillows and headphones supplied by the driver. Plus, there’s is an option to do some sightseeing en route. Sign us up!
Check out the local hostel options
I’m not sure when exactly it happened and it’s still definitely hit and miss, but a few years ago hostels got cool. They are no longer the sole domain of the penny-pinching backpacker eating beans out of a tin and wearing the same pair of undies for a week. In the best of them you can even have your own room, making it a cost-effective way to travel by yourself. Some of the best hostels I’ve stayed in include Kuala Lumpur’s Reggae Mansion, a renovated three-storey colonial building in Chinatown. It sounds like — and believe me it is — a party hostel, if that’s what you’re into, thanks to a cool rooftop bar that looks out at the Petronas Towers. But it’s also impeccably clean, air-conditioned and has private, soundproof rooms with cable TV. It also has a 40-seat movie room with cinema seating, and if you can’t spring for your own room, the dorms have pod-style beds with curtains, personal lights and power outlets. Linen, towels and toiletries are free, and electronics such as hair straighteners, adapters and irons are available to borrow for a deposit. Also fantastic are the Plus Hostels in Rome, Prague, Florence, Berlin and Venice — the one in Florence has a rooftop pool.
Keep an eye on discount sites and track your desired flights on Google Flights
If you have a trip planned well in advance it can be worth your while to regularly visit discount sites such as Groupon or GrabOne to snap up tickets or passes to tourist activities or eateries at great prices. Scenic flights, whale cruises, random tours — you name it, you can buy it. It might just push you out of your comfort zone, at a price you can stomach. And if you are flexible with your travel dates, set up a tracking notification to your dream destinations on Google Flights. You could nab a bargain if there’s an unexpected sale or dip in price.
Pack light to avoid baggage fees
You know what kills your travel budget? Having to shell out an extra NZ$50 for baggage fees plus the cost of another suitcase because you bought 12 pairs of shoes at the outlet mall. This would be fine if you hadn’t already brought along a dozen pairs for a four-day trip. Pack smart, people! Save your precious space and money for the new shoes.
Use book swaps at hotels
When I travel for any long period of time now, I take a maximum of three throwaway books which I happily exchange in designated areas of many hotels or resorts around the world. This can backfire if you’re in a place that is frequented by Germans (I’m looking at you Ko Tao, Thailand) but it definitely saves money on buying second-hand or new books, not to mention giving you more space in your bag and less weight to lug around. Of course, you could use an e-reader, but, like me, you might prefer the real deal.
Shop at markets, fruit stores and supermarkets
This is a no-brainer but sometimes takes a little planning and is, of course, easier if you have a car and are staying at accommodation where you can prepare food. The main challenge is having the right utensils (obviously it’s great buying a tin of beans, not so great if you forget the tin opener or a container to store the leftovers) and somewhere suitable to store perishables. Still, if you can make it work it will save you on tipping in restaurants, especially in the US, and can eliminate the need to eat out three times a day.
We take screwtop wine bottles for granted here in New Zealand but they are not so common overseas. If you fancy keeping a bottle of wine for a day or two, you’ll need to put it into a different vessel or find some fancy contraption that can seal your wine bottle. Plus, pack a bottle opener for emergency beersies!