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Save Big with 10 Travel Hacking Secrets Only Globetrotters Know

Save Big with 10 Travel Hacking Secrets Only Globetrotters Know

You might think that traveling is a financially out of reach goal only rich people can afford. But, I’m here to burst your bubble. Those travel influencers aren’t rich. All those gorgeous people enjoying sandy beaches on social media are using travel hacks to make vacations low cost or even free.

I feel bad contributing to the problem. See, I teach moms to become full-time slow travelers. Every time I post about the newest destination my kids have been, people assume I paid to get them there. The truth is, most of the time I didn’t. I travel hack virtually every trip.

Travel hacking used to be this elusive thing that other people did but seemed like a foreign language to me. But, seven years ago I travel hacked my family of four to three countries and got hooked. When flights are hotels are free using points and miles all of a sudden travel isn’t very expensive at all.

Jump To:

1. Mastering the Art of Discount Airfare

Planning your next getaway doesn’t have to break the bank. With a few smart travel hacks, you can snag discount airfare that lets you explore without the financial strain. It’s all about timing, flexibility, and knowing where to look.

Budget Travel and Affordable Destinations

Start by targeting budget airlines and affordable destinations. Budget carriers offer lower prices by cutting out extra luxuries. To maximize savings, pair your budget airline flights with destinations known for their affordability.

Check Different Airports

Fares vary dramatically depending on which airport you fly out of and in to. Check prices at a variety of airports near your home location and several options near your ideal destination. You may find that taking a very inexpensive one way flight or train ride to that alternative airport can save you hundreds of dollars.

Embrace Off-Peak and Shoulder Season Travel

Flying during off-peak periods can lead to significant savings. Off-peak travel often means fewer crowds and lower costs. The shoulder season—the time between peak and off-peak—also offers great deals with a good balance of weather and affordability.

  • Flight Deals and Booking Strategies
    • Early Booking Discounts: Booking your flights well in advance can lock in lower prices.
    • Last-Minute Deals: Conversely, airlines sometimes offer last-minute deals to fill seats.
    • Travel Planning Resources: Utilize search engines and fare alert services for notifications on price drops.

Utilize Travel Planning Resources

Employ travel planning resources to compare flight deals across carriers. Websites and apps are designed to highlight the best offers, including exclusive early booking discounts or enticing last-minute deals to various destinations.

Use Cash and Miles

One common frustration of hopeful travel hackers is the length of time it takes to save enough miles for a full vacation. Search for one way fares to and from your vacation destination. Pick the more expensive direction and try to use miles to pay for that portion of the trip. For the cheaper leg of the flight pay cash.

Travel hacks are all about saving you money so paying for more than half your airfare is a win.

Remember, flexibility in your dates and destinations is key to harnessing discounted airfare. By keeping an open mind and applying these tips, your next adventure awaits at a fraction of the price.

Ready for takeoff? Your passport to savings is just a few smart clicks away.

What are the travel hacks that lets you maximize your credit card points?

2. Unlocking Cheap Accommodations with Accommodation Hacks

Finding affordable places to stay is a key part of travel. Your travel budget can stretch much further by using accommodation hacks. Here are effective strategies to secure cheap accommodations and make your travel experiences richer.

Choose Hostels Over Hotels

  • Budget-friendly: Hostels often offer the best rates, especially if you’re open to shared rooms.
  • Social Experience: It’s a great way to meet other travelers and exchange tips.

Timing is Everything

  • Seasonal Travel: Prices can plummet during the off-peak seasons.
  • Book Smart: Look for accommodations that offer free cancellations, and keep an eye out for last-minute deals.

Use Technology

  • Comparison Websites: Use them to find the best deals across various accommodations.
  • Free Wi-Fi Spots: Save on data plans by staying at places with free internet access.

Embrace Sustainable Tourism

  • Green Choices: Opt for eco-friendly lodgings, which can also be gentle on your wallet.
  • Local Impact: Cheaper, locally-run accommodations often ensure more of your money benefits the community directly.

Become a House Sitter

  • Free Lodging: It might seem too good to be true, but fancy people who go on vacation need house sitters to water their plants and feed their animals.
  • Cook at Home: Save money on your food expenses by shopping for groceries and cooking at home.

Use Points or Certificates

  • Spend Your Points: Accumulating hotel points can have a lot of value if you find good redemption deals. Look for hotels that offer free breakfasts or are centrally located to reduce transportation costs.
  • Free Night Certificates: There are opportunities for free nights from travel credit cards and earning loyalty status with a particular brand.

Incorporating these travel hacks into your trip planning can lead to surprising savings. Remember, cheap accommodations don’t have to compromise comfort or convenience. With a little savvy, you can enjoy your journey without breaking the bank.

3. Stretching Your Budget with Public Transportation and Walking Tours

When planning your travels, using public transportation is a smart way to save money. Cities frequently offer passes which give you unlimited access for a set number of days. Not only do these passes help you avoid the cost of taxis, but they also make budgeting for transit more predictable.

  • Tip: Look for multi-day public transportation passes for savings.
  • Benefit: Reduces travel expenses significantly.
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Walking tours are another excellent way to explore while staying within your budget. Often led by knowledgeable locals, these tours give you an insider’s view of the city. Many walking tours are free or pay-what-you-wish, providing a budget-friendly alternative to expensive guided tours.

  • Tip: Search for free walking tours in your destination city.
  • Benefit: Educational and cost-effective exploration.

Keep track of where your money goes by using expense tracking tools. Record the costs of public transport and walking tours to manage your travel budget effectively. By being mindful of these expenses, you ensure that your money is spent wisely, allowing for a more extended and fulfilling travel experience.

  • Tip: Maintain a daily log of transportation expenses.
  • Benefit: Keeps you informed and in control of your budget.

Utilize city passes which often include free entry to attractions, in addition to public transportation. These can dramatically cut down on your costs and are one of the most valuable travel hacks you can use. Remember, saving on transportation means you can allocate more funds to experiencing new cultures and cuisines.

  • Tip: Invest in a city pass for combined savings on attractions and transport.
  • Benefit: Maximizes value and enhances your travel experience.

4. Maximizing Travel Rewards, Airline Miles and Credit Card Points

Earning and redeeming travel rewards efficiently can turn into significant savings on your adventures. Understanding travel hacks related to airline miles and credit card points is key. Below are targeted strategies to help you navigate the world of credit card travel rewards.

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses 

Credit cards often offer large bonuses for new account holders. Make sure to:

  • Choose a card that aligns with your travel goals.
  • Meet the minimum spend requirement responsibly to unlock bonuses.

Strategic Spending for Points 

Maximize every dollar spent by using cards that offer:

  • Multiple points per dollar in categories like gas, streaming, and dining.
  • Stay up to date on pop up promotions with points multipliers in specific categories.

Frequent Flyer Tips 

Join airline loyalty programs and:

  • Stay informed about promotions through travel community forums.
  • Book trips when airlines offer extra miles for certain routes.

Smart Use of Points 

Redeeming points can be as important as earning them.

  • Transfer credit card points to airline miles if it offers better value.
  • Watch for redemption offers that could extend the value of your miles.
Can you score cheap accommodations with the right travel hacks?

Refer a Friend

Earn additional points by referring a friend to that credit card:

  • Log into your online portal and look for referral links with special offers.
  • You can even refer your spouse to the card for a referral bonus on your account and sign-up bonus on their account.

Travel Insurance Savings 

Holding certain credit cards may entitle you to:

  • Complimentary travel insurance benefits.
  • Save on rental car insurance by using your credit card policy instead.

By integrating these tactics, you can enhance your travel experiences while maintaining your budget. Remember, the most successful travel rewards strategy is one that fits seamlessly with your lifestyle and travel aspirations.

5. Eating Like a Local: Saving on Meals Without Sacrificing Experience

When you’re exploring new countries, tasting local cuisine is essential. Street food is often a wallet-friendly option that serves up authentic flavors. Look for food stalls with long lines of locals, as these typically indicate delicious and affordable eats.

Cultural Etiquette is key to enjoying a meal like a local. Be respectful of local customs and always ask if you’re unsure how to proceed. This approach not only enriches your travel experience but can also lead to insider tips on the best spots for traditional fare.

Venturing into Local Markets is one of the most effective travel hacks for finding fresh, inexpensive food. You can pick up ingredients for a picnic or even ready-made dishes. Markets also provide a glimpse into the daily life and culture of the place you’re visiting.

Here are some quick food and beverage tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay Hydrated: Bring your own hydroflask or Yeti to refill and avoid purchasing overpriced drinks.
  • Portion Control: Opt for smaller, more frequent meals to save money and sample a wider variety of dishes.
  • Align with Local Mealtimes: Eating during non-peak hours can sometimes lead to discounts.

Seeking out Unique Experiences such as a local cooking class not only gives you a chance to learn about regional flavors but also to connect with local chefs and fellow food enthusiasts. Such activities offer memorable insights into the food culture at a fraction of the cost of dining in high-end restaurants.

6. Packing Smart

Traveling light doesn’t just ease your mobility, it also brings peace of mind. By choosing lightweight luggage, you allow yourself to focus more on the trip and less on the weight you carry. Select pieces that are durable yet offer the lightness you need.

Packing cubes have become a favorite among savvy travelers. These nifty containers keep your clothes compressed and organized. They come in various sizes to compartmentalize your luggage, making packing and unpacking a breeze.

Your journey often involves multiple electronic devices, which means keeping travel adapters handy is a must. Pick universal adapters that cover a range of countries. Staying connected is a small, yet potent travel hack. For a minimalist approach, opt for adapters with USB ports to charge multiple gadgets with one device.

Organizational accessories greatly improve packing efficiency. Utilize items such as:

  • Compression bags: Space-saving and perfect for bulky items.
  • Luggage organizers: Keep your essentials easily accessible.
  • Packing envelopes: Ideal for wrinkle-free clothing storage.

Embracing minimalist travel isn’t just about packing less—it’s about packing smart. Think critically about what you’ll actually use and stick to the essentials. Remember, every item you pack should earn its place in your suitcase.

7. Insider Tips for Tech-Savvy Travel

Navigating new places becomes smoother with offline navigation apps. Download maps ahead of time in case you don’t have Wi-Fi. It’s one of the easiest travel hacks ensuring you never get lost.

Language translation apps are your best friend abroad. They help you communicate and understand local signs. Make sure to have them downloaded for real-time assistance.

Stay secure online using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It protects your data, especially on public Wi-Fi. A VPN also grants you access to region-restricted content, which can be handy.

Avoid hefty roaming charges with international SIM cards. They provide local rates for calls and data. This small change can save you a significant amount of money.

To avoid running out of battery, invest in portable chargers. They keep your devices powered up on-the-go. Also, utilize battery life tips like dimming your screen and closing unused apps.

Capture memories without fear using photography tips. Always clean your lens for clear photos, and use cloud services for backup. Keep extra memory storage or cards handy to never miss a shot.

Handle documents safety efficiently. Keep digital copies of your important documents in secure cloud storage. This move is vital if you ever lose the physical copies while traveling.

Is eating out a good way of saving money while traveling?

8. Navigating International Travel: Visas, Currency, and More

When you’re setting off on an international adventure, being prepared is key. Your journey starts long before you board the plane, with Visa requirements often being the first checkpoint. Make sure you understand the specific entry regulations for your destination country. Some locations require visas to be obtained in advance, while others offer visas on arrival or no visa for short stays.

Consulate Information and Emergency Contacts are your lifelines abroad. Always carry the details of your home country’s embassy or consulate. Should you face legal troubles, lose your passport, or encounter serious problems, these contacts are invaluable. Additionally, keep a list of local emergency numbers, as these vary from country to country.

Staying on top of Currency Exchange Rates ensures you don’t overspend. Look up rates before you leave and consider using apps that track real-time changes. Going to destinations where your currency is strong is an often overlooked travel hack to enjoy luxury for less money.

A travel hack to remember is carrying a globally accepted credit card for cashless payments to avoid carrying large amounts of cash and exchange fees. Always opt to pay in the local currency as your credit card will give you a better exchange rate than the terminal processing your transaction.

For a seamless border crossing, keep your travel documents organized and easily accessible. Less queuing means more time enjoying your trip. Embracing local payment methods is also advisable, so familiarize yourself with apps or services widely used in your destination.

By using these travel hacks, you’re setting the stage for a trip that’s not only memorable but also stress free.

9. Embracing Sustainable and Conscious Travel

Traveling responsibly is about enjoying your journey while respecting the environment and local cultures. Your choices can support sustainable tourism and contribute to the conservation of natural resources. Here are travel hacks to help you embrace eco-friendly travel:

Eco-Friendly Travel Essentials

  • Pack Reusable Items: Bring a water bottle, utensils, and a shopping bag to minimize plastic waste.
  • Green Accommodation: Stay in hotels certified for sustainability or consider eco-friendly platforms like EcoBnb.

Sustainable Tourism Practices

  • Public Transit: Opt to use local buses and trains to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Voluntourism: Engage in volunteer opportunities that aid conservation and community projects.

Cultural Sensitivity and Festivals

  • Cultural Festivals: Experience authentic customs by participating in local festivals, ensuring that you respect traditions and support the local economy.
  • Mindful Photography: Take photos responsibly, seeking consent when photographing people or sacred sites.
An image of a digital nomad working within their booked hotel.

Health and Wellness Retreats

  • Wellness Retreats: Choose retreats that practice sustainability and contribute positively to the surrounding community.
  • Local Produce: Enjoy meals created with locally sourced ingredients, supporting farmers and reducing transportation emissions.

By incorporating these simple travel hacks into your trips, you nurture sustainable tourism and create a positive impact. Remember, every small action contributes to a larger purpose—preserving our planet for future explorers.

10. Tailoring Travel for Different Needs and Experiences

When planning your trips, consider everyone’s needs to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. Here are some targeted travel hacks to cater to diverse travel styles and requirements.

An image of a traveler holding her credit card and her tablet.

Family Travel Hacks

  • Pack a separate small bag with snacks and entertainment for quick access.
  • Choose accommodations with kitchenettes to save on meals.

Traveling with Kids

  • Schedule regular breaks during your journey to keep them fresh.
  • Engage them with a travel journal or a digital camera.

Couple Getaways

  • Opt for experiences that offer privacy and romance, like a private dinner setup.
  • Research couple’s discounts and packages for extra savings.

Solo Travel Safety

  • Share your itinerary with someone you trust.
  • Stay in reputable hostels or hotels with positive ratings for safety.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations

  • Look for cities known for their inclusiveness and vibrant LGBTQ+ communities.
  • Research local customs and legal considerations in advance.

Accessibility Tips

  • If mobility is a concern, check for hotels with accessible rooms and amenities.
  • Inquire about accessible transportation options at your destination.

Senior Travel Advice

  • Invest in travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.
  • Select destinations with a less hectic pace and comfortable climate.

Pet Travel

  • Bring familiar items like their bed or toy to make them feel more at home.
  • Keep a kit with their food, water, bowl, and waste bags handy.

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FAQ: Travel Hacks for Nomads


  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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