Travel cheap like a local: all the tips and tricks you need to explore a place, save money, and deeply live the experience in touch with the culture. Get advice and plan your journey.
Travel cheap like a local is the goal of everyone. Also, who research luxury wants to save some money or better to not spend more than enough. I want to share some tips and tricks learned during my leisure journeys around the world. It is not only about to go around the world with a low budget. This is the way to get in touch with the people and discover the real life of the country. Following my steps, you will learn how to act like a local in any part of the world. I experienced it.
Today it is easy to find holiday packages for every pocket, but some agencies and tour operators ask too much. Comparing the amount of money spent by some people with the one I used for the same journey, I am shocked. I love to travel with comfort, but just applying some tricks I can save a lot of money. Travel cheap like a local is my goal. Especially if I am going just to visit a place and not to have business meetings. I suggest you use the proper tools and to plan by yourself. This is the right way to keep part of the budget in your wallet. So you won’t renounce to your holidays.
Let’s check my tips, one by one.
My first advice concerns your approach. Before to enter in all the tips and tricks you need to travel cheaply like a local, I want to recommend a method. It is extremely important to take care of each detail. Don’t let anything to the case. Plan in advance. This doesn’t mean to book everything in advance, but at least to get information. Do the research and pay attention to offers. Online and offline there are traps ready to catch your money. I am going to teach you to save money, but also to act like a local. You will live the best travel experience. I am sure of it.
A hotel is surely a good and comfortable solution. You have room, most of the time breakfast included some special features and someone who cleans your room. This is good, but what about the price? Let’s go to analyze better the situation. What will you do during your holiday? You will see the attractions, enjoy local trips, shopping, tasting food around. So, when will you be in the room? Some hours in the night to sleep. Maybe a bit of time before dinner to get ready or recover energies. Why spend a lot of money when you can travel cheaply like a local?
As you know the options are so many. Hostels, apartments, B&B are on the list. The hotel is surely the most expensive. Do you need it? Why don’t surf Airbnb or a similar platform to check out some rooms, flats or houses to rent? It is cheaper, you can choose the features, and as well it is possible to select accommodation from budget to luxury. You are in touch with a local, the host. Then you can compare offers and choose the one that suits you more. Wi-Fi connection, number of rooms and bathrooms, access to the kitchen, hairdryer and toiletries. These are the things that you can find. Check out the list for each property.
On Homestay there are the available rooms offered by locals. It’s a chance to live in a family. Imagine to visit a country with their tips and also going around with them. You will see something that tourists can’t know. Then you will socialize and your journey will be inside the culture and real life. Another way to travel cheaply like a local is to search for accommodation outside tourist areas. Around the attractions, some locals are going to rent rooms.
You easily see ads on houses and lampposts. If you prefer this option reserve at least the first night in another place. So then you will have the chance to search for the room. It can be all occupied or the proposals are not appropriate. And to check you need to be in the place. You can also ask for the tourism office, they will give you hints about that. Most depend on the destination. About this solution keep in mind that you may need time, so if you are staying for a few days it is not the best option.
If you want to travel cheaply like a local, you need flexibility is a need. First of all, this will be a way to find tickets for a very low price. If you don’t have fixed dates it will be easier to take advantage of the discounts. Usually, airlines reserve great proposals for customers. There are some conditions, mainly you have to travel on the days they want. It can be in the early morning or late evening. About the evening I suggest you calculate the convenience. Because you will arrive on time to go to sleep. So you will save with the ticket, but you will pay for the accommodation.
I mean, does it worth it? If you arrive in the morning you have all day for visits and you will use the room at the end of the day. In the other case, you will just arrive there to sleep. It’s a waste of money in my opinion. Travel cheap like a local is adapt yourself. So this is related to each stage of the trip. If you stay in a hotel, maybe it’s enough a 3-star one than a 4-star accommodation.
You save money and you can have maybe a less luxurious setting. Move using buses and not a taxi. Avoid the best restaurants. To eat good food and traditional recipes you don’t have to spend a lot of money, but only to choose the right places. That’s why the recommendations of locals are important.
Follow the local habits to travel cheaply like a local. People who live in a place know what is better and how to not spend more than enough. It is the way we use at home, but of course, there is another culture. Maybe if you go to a cheap country, according to the living cost of your country, you don’t notice problems. In case you visit an expensive country, try to spend less is something that you have to do. That’s why it is important to follow the locals’ style.
How can you do it? You don’t know the place, you have read just a little information about the culture. Then you don’t even know the habits. So it’s impossible to do as they do. There isn’t a common way in all the places because each country is different. So the best way is to get in touch with them and also observe. A local host can open the first door to the local living. Then it won’t be hard to recognize locals on the street.
If they are entering a shop and you don’t see tourists around, it means that the prices are cheaper. This can be applied to restaurants, bars, and any type of shop. Then use public transportation, rent a flat with the kitchen to cook food by yourself. You will know where to go to buy it. Search for some attractions and events discounts. It’s a good way to travel cheaply and live like a local.
There are some things that you can do before to leave. For example, is helpful to enter online in a local forum and ask what you need to know. Explain that you will be there. People will be happy to share some advice with you. Of course, it has to be something local. Try to learn some sentences in the local language, you will improve the pronunciation once you will land there.
Then put on the list of the things to do to cut your hair. Why? No, it’s not a way to seem an inhabitant. You will benefit from talking with the hairdresser. These professionals are talkative, so they give tips and tell a lot about the city.
Don’t be afraid to chat with people, because this is the best way to know what to do there. The same I can say it for the food. Drink and eat the local recipes. It’s part of the culture. You don’t have to prepare them for yourself, from time to time you can go to the restaurant. But don’t forget to travel cheaply like a local, so choose the ones preferred by locals. They cost less and the quality of the food is better. But pay attention, when you cook or eat out.
There are some healthy habits like to eat twice per day. Breakfast and dinner are the most important meals. Lunch is not necessary. You stay healthy and meanwhile you save money. Surely, when you see tourists around, stay away. The food won’t be good and the prices will be too high. When you buy, if you are not properly a good cook, you can purchase some dishes in a grocery store. There is ready-made food that is quite tasty and cheap.
Travel cheap like a local means to follow the local habits. This is very important, even more than find low-cost airlines or budget accommodation. Everything is one detail and you have to take care of it. Don’t forget it.
I love to walk around cities because it is the best way to explore them. But from time to time there are distances to overcome. Taxis are convenient in terms of comfort and speed, but they are expensive. There are some exceptions in some cities, where with a few dollars you can go around the city. But in most cases, it’s not the solution to travel cheaply like a local. Locals know how to move fast and spending a little money.
It depends on where you go, but in the big cities there are a lot of options and it’s hard to choose the best one. For example in London, at least for me as Italian, the underground is quite expensive. Buses can be good, but to understand the number to take, the direction and the hours can be difficult. In some countries, there are also shared minibus and you can find connections between different cities.
Ask a policeman, to a bus driver, to people stopped. Before to leave verify the public transportation websites. Maybe there is useful information to plan your transfers. Many companies are now offering on their sites easy to use search engines. You write the starting and the arrival points. The system, in a while, gives you the available connections with hour, price, and timing. You travel cheaply without missing anything.
Money for you are important so if you want to travel cheaply like a local don’t book any activity or excursion through a travel agent. Even if it is easy, you reserved flight and accommodation. The price is anyway high, too expensive. Mainly everything is prepared by a local agency and sold to your travel agent that increases the rate offered. Another aspect you have to consider concerns the freedom of choice. You will have the chance to select the best ones and save money.
If you stay in a hostel it is also easy to socialize and this means that you can plan your activity with someone else and share costs. It is better that do a tour alone. Renting a scooter or a car with others you will be able to reduce the expenses and easily reach the places you want to see around. Freedom, budget, and socialization are the keywords for your cheap trip.
Move by taxi is expensive, but drivers sometimes, especially those who are going to carry you at the airport or outside a resort, apply a higher rate. Especially they propose to take you to see some attractions, maybe a bit far, to make a lot of money. You don’t know the prices and you risk to spend more than enough. Also, a travel agent inside the resort erases the rates for excursions. What about the fake taxi that tries to pick up you at the airport or the train station? To travel cheaply like a local and to do a better trip in general, you need to be careful to traps.
What to do? I can give you some tips, but pay attention when you select the option. For instance, it is always better to not take the taxi outside the resort or in front of the main attractions. They charge more because they expect tourists without knowledge about rates. About the excursions try to organize it on your own. Use the travel agent only if it is necessary or very difficult to do it without help. It’s a way to cut the cost.
When you go to buy in markets I suggest you haggle. Because you will save money, but in many countries, they expect that. For example, in Turkey, if you go to the bazaar and you accept the first price, they get offended. They always erase the price and if you don’t propose a lower price, maybe they won’t sell you anything. In general, in a market, the sellers recognize easily the tourists and they charge more. That’s why it is important to haggle.
Also, when you use some local agencies can be more convenient, but they may try to make it more expensive for you. So ask to write down the price and the service given to you. You need a precise plan. Because they can ask for money and promise you something that you will never receive. Ask always the receipt. Check on the internet te reviews about the agency. They might help you. Verify if a taxi and travel agency has a regular license.
Every time we travel we spend some more money that wat is necessary. Maybe because of curiosity, of too many souvenirs, and so on. If you want to travel cheaply like a local, it is necessary to cut some of the expenses. As I wrote, not taxi or luxury restaurants and hotels. Then reduce also the costs to buy cigarettes, soft drinks, alcohol. It is not necessary to buy them and you can keep the money in your wallet. It’s up to you because if you don’t smoke or don’t drink alcohol you even don’t consider the tip.
That is an example of how you can waste money during a trip. If you are a shopping addicted try to stop yourself. Especially if you go to a country where according to your budget the prices are low. Yes, I know how it works. You spend one or two dollars for a souvenir, then you find a lot of them for that price. In the end, you will have a huge amount of items and hundreds of dollars less in the wallet. Is this what you want?
Don’t let the impulse to overcame you and try to moderate your spending acts. This is the tip to travel cheaply like a local. It’s important to be prepared for excursions, so focus on the equipment you need. That is a necessary cost. Of course, search for good quality products, but don’t buy at the airport or in a resort shop. Because there the prices are higher. Follow the locals and ask them.
If you are going to a country with a different currency, pay attention to the exchange fees. In some places, they apply more than others. They erase the fees for tourists. So prefer a bank and avoid the exchange offices around the main attractions. There is more expensive. Also because if you exchange a certain amount of money, you will notice the difference and you will have less in your pocket.
You use surely a credit card and this is good to pay in shops, but not everywhere they accept it. So you will need to withdraw money to ATM. There is no problem, but be careful. Your bank can charge you a commission that can be even quite high. That’s why you have to check it in advance.
I suggest you subscribe to a travel credit card. Some products are designed for travelers and they have very low fees or even nothing. You can withdraw for free at least in many countries if not all of them. You avoid extra costs to travel cheap like a local.
Anyway, check the conditions before to leave and be prepared. Verify on the internet the exchange rates also. Because they can be different day by day and in each place, but at least they have to be not too far from the amount decided by the authorities. With these small tips, you will save money.
You have a credit card, is the right one? As I mentioned you should choose a travel credit. Not only for the withdrawal fee but also for the free air miles. When you subscribe you get a bonus, respecting certain conditions. This means that you will have enough points to buy a ticket. Only with the bonus. Then each time you use it you get points to redeem to book flights and hotels. If it is not for free, depends on the points amount, you will have huge discounts. This helps you to travel cheap like a local.
I wrote a guide to help you to choose the best travel credit card. I suggest you also check out this method, because an expert coming from the travel industry, prepared a course to take all benefits. With his tips and tricks, you can easily find expensive tickets for a very low rate. Plus you will learn how to get more bonuses from credit card usage. There won’t be extra costs, just your normal daily expenses.
What to do?
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