Cutting Down The Biggest Travel Expenses

Check out this guide for tips on how to cut down on major expenses while traveling.

Whenever you travel, it seems that the most expensive parts of the trip are the transportation and the accommodation. Aside from those two costs, most other parts of a visit to a foreign country or a different city are relatively cheap. If you can find ways to cut down on the biggest expenses while traveling, you will find that your trips cost significantly less on the whole, and that you will have more money available for other things, such as souvenirs and leisure activities.

For exotic locations, European travel, or even basic airfare and train costs, travel expenses are often the largest part of a trip. Cutting down on travel expenses can mean a huge savings, and it is worth putting in the time and effort to find travel deals.

The importance of planning ahead cannot be overstated. Often, travel deals and cheap tickets will vanish in the weeks before a travel date. During busy months or important holidays, this can happen even months ahead of time. So to explore the best options, try and make travel plans at least a few months, or even a half a year, before your trip.

If you do wind up making last minute plans, there are a number of sites and companies that specialize in undersold or short-term tickets. Try and see what options are available on a number of airlines and companies, and compare the results. A little extra research and effort may end up saving you hundreds of dollars on your ticket.

Accommodation is often a similar story, making reservations ahead of time ensures the availability and the price will not change. If you don't mind the lodgings, youth hostels or cheap travel hotels may be a cheap alternative to a more elegant hotel. Some countries and cities also have a variety of informal lodgings, where people who live in the city or region offer rooms in their houses at a cheap price. Sometimes you find that the people have very nice houses that have been converted into small and little-known inns or hostels. These can be cheaper than hotels or normal youth hostels and will have a unique and homey feeling as well.

One way to kill two birds with one stone is to take overnight transportation. This way, instead of paying a ticket on a bus, train, or plane as well as a night in a hotel or hostel, you combine expenses and pay only one. Do this several times on a multiple leg journey and you'll find your expenses have decreased significantly. The most appealing way to spend a night traveling is via train, on a sleeper car. For a small extra fee you can get your own bed in a small shared compartment. The sleeper car has a bathroom and sink to wash up in, but no shower. Sleeping on a plane or bus is also an option, though is less comfortable than a train. With no showers, however, you may find that a night or two on the road will leave you desperate for a clean bed and a chance to wash off.

Next, food and drink while traveling can be done in a variety of ways to cut down on costs. Instead of eating out all the time, many budget travelers choose to visit local supermarkets and stock up on cheap and easy to prepare foods. Sandwiches, reheatable meals, or even easy pasta dishes if you have access to a kitchen are all great ways to get the most food for your money. If you do decide to go out for a meal in a restaurant, try and find something outside of the main tourist locations, on a quiet side street or residential neighborhood, as they may have cheaper prices than the tourist traps.

Nightlife is another area where costs can be high if you don't take the proper precautions. If you decide to go out and enjoy the night, you may consider going to a local supermarket and buying drinks at a much cheaper price than you would get in a club or dance hall. Be sure you know the local laws about drinking in public, or go back to your hostel or hotel to enjoy a few drinks before going out. When do you go dancing or partying, try and find clubs that have free entrance and that cater to a younger crowd.

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