Read the Blog for More Travel Savings: https://woltersworld.com/travel-savings-tips-how-to-save-real-money-while-traveling/
Traveling can be expensive, but there are ways to save money while you travel so you can afford to travel longer. Whether you are traveling the world on a budget or just want to see if you can save a few dollars or euros on your family vacation, these are 14 different ways to help you save money while you travel. And it can help you find a way to travel on a budget.
Filmed in London, England
Copyright Mark Wolters 2018
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While it is scary carrying a bunch of cash around - I’ve found it’s easier to order foreign currency via my bank at home. It takes a couple of days, so plan accordingly, but I get a great exchange rate, no additional fees, and peace of mind. I’m always scared that an ATM is going to eat my debit card abroad.
Hey there! If you're in Britain, use the post office for currency exchange. Its not always the ABSOLUTE cheapest, but its one of the cheapest and every major city will have a post office you can go to. Apart from Britain, its mostly the Euro, so its all cool in Europe for currency.
I find London very hard to save. I always end up staying in hotels with rooms the size of Harry Potters cupboard under the stairs, while I paid less per night for a 4 star Hilton room in other UK cities like Birmingham and Liverpool. The capital is always pricy to stay, but London is great for all the free attractions available compared to other European cities
Here is a LONDON tip for travellers , the county of HERTFORDSHIRE ( pronounced Heart-ford-shah ) just borders London and the rail fares are cheap and often and normally run past midnight from Kings Cross Station ( Yes Harry Potter Kings Cross , on timetables shows as Kings X ) . Hertfordshire has many market towns with nice hotels and bed and breakfast guest houses or AIR B&B properties . There are also good links to the North and Scotland railways . In Hertfordshire there are many historical sites , Roman sites that have been uncovered in St .Albans , also the historical homes where Henry VIII sent his wives before executions , Tudor houses , buildings etc .
Staying in a nearby town to save money on lodging also cost your time traveling too and from to place you want to see. Yes, staying in Vicenza will save money over staying in Venice, but you also become a "day traveler" in that instance and lose to spontaneous opportunities afforded by staying RIGHT THERE.
When I travel to Italy, I always expect to pay the most for lodging in Venice. I bite the bullet and pay, usually staying at a mom & pop inn. This way I can stay out until midnight or later walking through the quite city. Or get to St Mark's Square early in the morning when there are ten other people, not ten thousand.
You just have to decide what your purpose is. I travel on a tight budget but have decided I want to stay close and I pay accordingly. the cost is not always that outrageous. Of course, I'm not looking for or expecting luxury accommodations.
Look around before you buy. you might be surprised what you can find at a better than reasonable price (50 meters from Duomo in Florence, two double beds, GREAT air con and last year, just 65 euro per night in the height of summer)
One other way we have found to save money In Europe is by having the kids bring their student IDs. A huge amount of places give a significant discount to students with a student ID. Lots of places are even completely free for students. But they do typically require the school ID, even if they are obviously school age.
London's V&A Museum is free, and you can easily spend a few days there. And a way to save money on cell phones is to get a data-only plan and use WhatsApp. I was paying 30€ in France for 8GB of data, and using WhatsApp for phone calls when I was out, and the data when I was in an area with WiFi, and that lasted close to 3 weeks, and ended up actually costing less per month in the end than I pay in the US!
The railway pass is good advice. I was going to use a railway pass but it would have ended up costing almost three times as much as buying the tickets individually. Don't automatically assume a pass is going to save money.
Not gonna lie, I am actually one of those people who enjoys cooking while I'm on vacation. Its interesting to see what ingredients you can get when you travel different places, try to imitate local dishes, and it gives you more of a feel of what its like to live there, because in a lot of countries, eating out is a big deal and is relatively infrequent (although this is starting change due to globalization). My family went to Italy a few years ago and we did this. As an American, I found it interesting how most of the grocery stores in Italy are really small compared to the ones in the US. We ate out quite a bit on our trip, but a good portion of our meals were homemade. We saved around a few hundred euros by doing this.
Mark, love your videos. You are truly doing a service for all current and aspiring travelers.
Just wanted to comment, my wife and I had an awesome experience with public transportation in Rome. We stayed a little outside the city center, however our place was right next to a tram station that connected to Termini. It was a breeze to use (once I understood how). A one way trip (includes tram, metro, bus transfers) is only 1.50 euro! Can't beat that!
Mini rant - It feels like I am being ripped off here in the states, I live in the Washington D.C. area. For example, a one way trip from the suburbs to the Smithsonian costs $6.00 one way during peak hours. Not to mention it takes forever (fewer trains and 10+ stops). At the time of this writing it would take 44 minutes to go 18 miles on Metrorail according to their official trip planner tool (Shady Grove to Smithsonian).
Mass transit tip for Rome: Most tram stations/buses do not have ticket machines. However, tickets are readily available for purchase at any tobacco shop (about just as common as Starbucks in the us) without markup. You MUST buy this in advance before getting on the tram! What I did, after getting into the groove of things, was purchase an extra set of BIT passes while on the return trip at Termini for the next day. The clock does not start until they are validated for the first time (100 minutes from validation).
Search for Airbnb. Since you are asking, I assume you don't have a profile there. It takes some time to make one, but as soon as you have done it, you have access to apartments all over the world. Good luck!
Great tips, especially about the food! I bought some cheese, a baguette and some chicken from a market and had a picnic on the river Seine. It was great eating great food while seeing Notre Dame. Your videos are excellent!
I rarely eat out at restaurants because of expense -- I just go to grocery stores. Also when I was in nice, I took a city bus to Monaco which was only two euros. Lastly, in Rome for example, we would got a room that had a good breakfast, and you can take some of that food with you for throughout the day ( bread, cheese, fruit Etc ).
Hey Mark, my son and I are planning a trip to England then Scotland to trace or ancestry during the summer after he graduates high school. I happened upon one of your videos. Your content was informative, enlightening and engaging. So much so that I ended up watching 5 more of your videos packed with great travel tips. Here's the thing, were not even going on this trip till summer, 2019. It's months till we have to prepaid. You're good, you.
Thanks so much for all the great info. This is our first trip abroad so what you are doing is invaluable and so appreciated.
Keep up the great work and God bless.
Thank you so much. I'm glad I can help out. Sounds like you will have a good time. My mom and I have gone searching for ancestry in Scotland and met some amazing people along the way. You will have a great time.
Big fan of your contents
Could you give us some advice where to go for day-trip from Paris? we are going on November and will stay in Paris for a week.
we are already thinking about Versailles and might need 1 more place to go.
One neat tip for London tourists. Get an Oyster card! It's a card that allows you to use public transportation. Card is free and the maximum daily charge allowance is 6.70£ instead of 12.50£ for a daily travel card. Toilets aren't free so when needed get to the first coffee shop and get a coffee so you do pay to pee but at least you get also a coffee 😉
Sometimes the savings are negligible but booking flights/hotels using an incognito/in private browser can save some cash. Booked a flight recently using a private browser and it was £8 cheaper than using a public browser. Internet companies track your cookies and can bump up the price of searches you have looked at multiple times. These small savings add up and will pay for a beer or two in a destination :D.
Also, use the Skyscanner "everywhere" and "cheapest month" options when searching for flights. I have booked return flights from Edinburgh to Germany (£18), France (£20), Norway (£26) and Denmark (£30) using this technique. It can take you to destinations away from the tourist traps and for HUGE savings.
In my experience museums in Europe usually aren't all that expensive. Some are free for everybody (e.g. British Museum, National Gallery, Tate and many others in London), others have discounts for students, families, young people (often free for children or EU citizens under 26) and/or senior citizens. In some cities/countries museums are free on a specific day of the month so check ahead and plan your trip accordingly. Students should also check if they need a specific international student ID (like ISIC) to get discounts or if their regular student ID will do and also note that sometimes admission is free for students with specific majors like art, history or archaeology (and your student ID usually won't state your major so it's possible to fib ;-))
But generally I agree that you should pick museums/attractions that genuinely interest you. If you don't care about art at all it's probably not worth it to go to the Louvre just to take selfies with the Mona Lisa ;-)
For people visiting multiple cities/countries in one trip a good way to save money and still have a good time is to always try to alternate cheap and expensive places (e.g. capitals vs smaller towns) and adjust day schedules and spending habits accordingly. For the expensive cities plan out your days ahead of time so you can fit a lot of sights and activities into fewer days. Eat street food or supermarket food to save money and time. Then when you get to the cheaper place you can spoil yourself a little to recharge your batteries. Get the hotel room with the view (that's still cheaper than the basic one in the expensive city...) and have a nice meal at a restaurant. Have a lazy day where you sleep in, spent a few hours at a park enjoying the sun, walk around with no plan and see where it takes you . You're not spending a fortune each day just to be there so it's fine to relax... This way you'll be ready for a packed schedule when you get to to your next more expensive destinations.
With this method you can see a lot on a budget without burning yourself out :)
Good video! Right here at Y&S FOOD! we really like to notice this amazing content. We produce Travel & Food videos too, across the globe, and so we are always aiming for inspirations and techniques. Thank You.
Some additional tips (and these are all very solid, especially the buying from grocery stores bit - I've just been back in Estonia for a few weeks celebrating my other country's 100th independence day, and I can tell you I would have spent hundreds more if I'd gone to 3 restaurants a day for my meals vs buying some rosolje, bread, 1,80 euro cheese, a few snacks and fish and such for less than 20 euros which fed me for several days):
1. Walk more. No, seriously. I know this is a difficult concept for Americans but...in Europe, people tend to walk a lot more, and i a lot of the old town areas of European cities, you can save a lot on taxis and actually see a lot of things you'd have missed if you had been just taking a bus, train, or taxi across town directly to tourist location B...and if you're staying somewhere for weeks or longer, just relax and take walks. Most of the best things in any city are NOT actually found around the tourist destinations.
2. Travel in WINTER. I know, it might seem too cold for you, but man or woman up, bring sweaters and long pants to go under your clothes, a good winter coat, and you can save a LOT on your plane tickets vs going in summer - and BONUS...you avoid the annoying gaggles of tourists that come with summer. I got married in 2016, December, on Santorini, Greece and went all around Italy, Denmark, Amsterdam, and Estonia and it cost a fraction of what it would have in the summer, and we had a whole Greek island more or less to ourselves with some locals and the odd more adventurous tourist couple who was willing to go. And, in the aegean, December really isn't that cold at all. We had sunshine and blue skies on our wedding day and it was gorgeous, even without a coat. In December. Likewise, to give an idea of how much it can save you...when I go to China with my wife to see my in-laws, we often go in winter. Well, in winter, if you order in advance, you can find a ticket to China from the U.S., depending on where you live, for between $1100 n the center of the continent to about $700 on the west coast. If you went in the SUMMER...you could easily expect to pay $1500 to $2000 or more depending on where you leave from and how far in advance you book. I've seen tickets to china go over $3,000.
3. Travel the road lesser known. Often, less visited countries will be a lot more affordable to stay in. Do you know what a hotel in the old town of Tallinn, Estonia cost me in December? At three Crowns residents, I stayed for about 32 euros a night. On this most recent trip, I used airbnb for about a week also and spent 12 euros a NIGHT and didn't even have to share a room with 12 other people as you often will with a hostel. Hostels CAN save you a lot of money but....if you are a private person like me, it just doesn't work well. ALSO another GREAT reason to avoid hostels: bed bugs and germs. Seriously. You don't know where these other travelers have been or what they brought with them, and you don't want to be stuffed in a room full of bunkbeds with 12 to 20 other people from all over the world who are all sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and so on. TRUST me when I say yo dont want to get sick on your travels - it ruins the whole trip - and it is very very easy to GET SICK because when you fly, your immune system is compromised from the stress and change in environment. I remember once I got sick in China and for about a week I was MISERABLE and could barely speak and my nose was running constantly after I kissed an elephant on the cheek on Yunnan province. I don't know if i got the illness from the elephant, but it wasn't a good time.
I know Americans LOVE to visit western Europe....but there ARE other places on the planet that are just as if not MORE beautiful and interesting and steeped in history. I've done the whole Rome and Venice and Florence thing, and they're nice, but eastern Europe has a LOT of beauty and history and buildings that most Americans will never, ever see in their lives because the only thing they can think of when it comes to travel is the cliched tourist destinations like Paris and London and Rome. How many Americans, after all, have been to Tallinn, or Riga, or Vilnius, or gone on a tour of Chernobyl (yeah you can do that)? How many Americans have even HEARD of these places?
And the fact that most Americans will never in their lives set foot in many of these parts of eastern Europe, or in more remote, less touristy parts of Asia, makes your trip all the more unique and special. Do you know how many facebook feeds are loaded with the SAME PHOTOS of the SAME LANDMARKS that every American tourist goes to in Paris, London, Barcelona, Mexico, the Caribbean, etc? How many photos are there out there of some doofus pretending to hold up the leaning tower, or to hold the Eiffel tower in their hand, or of their goofy looking tourist head under a xiong mao hat on a very crowded great wall? And they think they're worldly and traveled - but really, they've just done what everyone else did. Now, how many photos from friends and family have you seen somewhere like Tartu, Estonia - a city with a thousand years of history of its own, or Valka, Latvia, or anywhere in Belarus, Ukraine, Croatia, etc?
My point is...if you travel to less common locations and keep it simple and walk a lot, you will likely come away from there with a very different experience than most people will have and you will have to deal with fewer tourist crowds in your way, and have better price points as well.
FINAL tip is....on sites like priceline...take advantage of their "blind tickets" - wherein you look for the lowest prices and you don't necessarily have, aside from the date range, have any control over when the flight leaves, when it gets there, where it stops and for how long, but you CAN save a lot of money. My recent trip which took me to Frankfurt, Germany (twice), and then to Estonia cost me just $715 - whereas if I'd taken the more "controlled" route, where I could CHOOSE more, I'd have paid about $300 to $400 more - and I didn't even buy that far in advance - I could have saved more if I'd bought earlier. The DOWNside (or upside depending on how you look at it) is you may find yourself with half a day or a day to kill in some city in Germany, which I did, and you know what? I'm glad for it. I got to get out, find a lebkuchen schmidt's shop, have a nice walk around Frankfurt, go to the zoo, shop for some books and snacks, go to some restaurants and street stands, and still had plenty of time to get back for my flight. And on the way back, I got to stop in Frankfurt again and could spend more time there. Wasn't originally part of the plan, but hey, I'm glad it happened.
Great stuff as always. Some of the things that I have learned along the way...
Find public markets where the locals shop for your meals. An excellent experience, cheap, well prepared food and a great way to learn about the local culture for nothing.
Buy high quality, incredibly comfortable walking shoes.
Pre-order vegetarian meals if you're being served on a flight. Especially on the Chinese airlines. They're usually a lot better than the regular meals and you always get your food first.
I have also an explicit tip for you: Look for free walking tours.
They are mostly held by locals and they are for free (most of them ask for a tip at the end) and they are really good.
Like I was in Cologne, Germany last weekend and did such a tour, and i got to know some insider tips and got to see some attractions, I would probably not have noticed.
Hi Mark, I don't think you mention discount cards like Roma Pass or Paris Pass, what do you think about them, also an observation about taking an unlocked phone and buying a sim card, you have to make sure that your phone has the correct frequency.
Have been watching your videos for a few years and love your tips for our own travels. But why don’t you visit Africa? Here in South Africa you can have an amazing holiday for very little money. Best budget tip in my opinion is go to countries that are great value for money.
9:25 If you do travel, check to see if your travels take you NEAR a international border, but you have no plans to enter that country. I worked a site near the Canadian border and we had people getting notifications that they had entered Canada despite them being 5 miles from the line.
Never book any package holidays. Use skyscanner to get the cheapest flights then compare hotels and apartments on airbnb, booking.com and trivago. I always book apartments now on all my trips, they are generally cheaper and you get things like a kitchen and living room. If hiring a car, don't buy the full insurance it's a RIP off. Unless you are a terrible driver.
My hotel in the UK wanted to charge me 70 pounds for a transfer from Heathrow. The price of the "Tube" train to near the hotel cost less than 5 pounds (Can't remember how much exactly). 65 pounds better spent on sight seeing. On the topic of sight seeing I found the London Eye was overrated. I found out about a place called SkyGarden which is free. Haven't been there myself but might be a better option than 20 or so pounds for the Eye.
Question for Jocelyn...I've seen your suggestions for packing just for us ladies...do you budget-shop for your clothes (in Europe) at say, a consignment shop? I want pack light too so that my flight from U.S. on WOW Airlines can stay budget-friendly.
Re Gatwick Express: don't buy a ticket if you have a contactless bank card. It will be significantly cheaper to tap in and out at the stations, perhaps even half the price depending on where you go and at what time you go.
The advice that you gave was really helpful. I remember I travelled to the UK and I used my debit card to pay for a lot of things. But later when I checked my bank account and I noticed that they charged me for more than just the price adjusted by the exchange rate. Since I study aboard in Europe and I often travel alone, the videos really help me better plan my trips and save me money :D
youth hostel association in UK are excellent. Some great places to stay - a plus is - you don't have to be a youth! Families etc are all welcome - some family rooms - single rooms etc...basic - some offer meals - others have kitchen facilities you can make yourself - Google i think its YHA..org. National express coaches are great pick up points in London to take you to stansted or Luton etc..great informative, useful video as usual 😆
Manchester is perfect for budget travellers! Pretty much ALL their museums are FREE of charge, no queues, just pop in whenever you like, certainly the case with the Manchester Museum which is on Oxford Road, part of the largest university in the UK and the busiest bus corridor in Europe! Also, there's Cloud 23 in Deansgate (basically Manchester's 'Downtown' area if you like) which is the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower (Hilton Hotel) - tallest skyscraper in the city, at least until new skyscrapers nearby finish construction - you can go up the elevator for FREE (although you may have to buy something from the bar if it's busy, I recommend visiting at 11am when it opens) and get a view of the WHOLE city!
No problem ;) and one of the things that'll shock you about Manchester (or any city in North England for that matter) is that there's a Gregg's (bakery chain - they do good pasties, but PoundBakery is better value) in literally every corner (like, 10 on the same street) another thing that'll shock you about Manchester is that some of the local trains are literally old buses bolted onto freight wagons (but those will be retired in 2019)
Everything you say is spot on. We were in Europe for 4 months this last fall. First Ireland, then London then Spain for 3 months. We used Airbnb for all of them since there are 4 of us and like you said in many hotels you can only have 2 people per room so it was less expensive for us and we had a kitchen so we could eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and snacks at home. We at out on occasion but often in Spain for example we could bring home empanadas, chorrizos, cheese, baguettes, lunch meat and more for dirt cheap compared to eating out. When we did eat out like you said as well...we would eat early, which we prefer anyway and have the special of they day which was often a great deal. The last time I was in Spain was 19 years before this and what I love that has changed is I can bring my leftovers home without getting strange looks. Before it was not customary to take leftovers home. Now, they ask if I would like to take him home. I hate to have food go to waste and our kids are always willing to eat leftovers lol :) Excellent video as always :)
One tip I have for Italy, France, Portugal, etc. is to buy supplies (i.e. bottled water, cheese, ham, etc.) from the *chain* grocery stores. Your Carrefour Express or LIDL or Monop' will almost always be cheaper than an independent grocery store or corner shop (i.e. €0.30 for 1.5L bottle of water in France from the chain grocery store on the corner versus €2 from the independent shop).
Yep... rent an apartment... there's nothing quite like buying groceries in a foreign country to immerse you in the local culture... and yes... pick up a cheap "pay as you go" phone, particularly if you're in Europe.
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