Travel cheap & travel more!

Gepubliceerd op 28 januari 2023 om 16:15

Road tripping has to be my favorite kind of traveling. The freedom you experience while cruising a country from top to bottom, being able to go everywhere you want to go without being dependent on public transport (though that has its charm as well), is simply fantastic. It gives me such a thrill to be in a different place every night, to pack up again every morning and get going to new places. I'm restless and I love it!

After having made two extensive trips throughout the U.S. in thirteen months, many people have asked me how we do it. It must be quite expensive, right? Flying intercontinental, renting a car for 2,5 weeks, buying food and going out for dinner every day, entry fees for national parks, et cetera. Well, that last one was just luck: we bought an $80 year pass last year on our first trip, and were able to use it again this year during its last month of validity. But as far as the rest concerns, in many ways, you are the boss of your own wallet when it comes to traveling. To a certain extent, it is only as expensive as you want it to be. And the best part about traveling cheap, in my opinion, is that you get to do it more often!


So: how to keep your (roadtrip) travels cheap? A couple of tips from someone who has learned (sometimes, the hard way) how to save money on several parts of a trip:

• Try to go off-season, for example in January or March. If you can’t, check on websites like Skyscanner on which dates it is cheapest to fly to your destination. A paid option for checking cheap flights is the Jack's Flight Club-app. It sends you notifications whenever a good deal comes up. That's how we were able to fly Seattle-return for just €385!

• Book your accommodations on time and make sure they have free cancellation! When your trip comes closer, check the accommodations once again to see if prices have dropped (often, they have). Also, you can cancel your refundable accommodations a few days prior to your arrival and then book them again as non-refundable (this is often cheaper). Of course, check first whether the accommodation still has a suitable room for your group. 

• During your first days abroad, go to a local supermarket and get some bread, cheese, snacks, yoghurt, water, disposable cutlery etc. This way, you can make your breakfast and lunch very cheap. Example: we bought groceries for $40 three days ago, which means that we (3 people) have been having breakfast AND lunch for about $4 per day per person. 

• Before getting gas, be sure to compare all local gas station to see which one is cheapest. In the long run, you will definitely save money with this. You can check prices easily via Google.

• For your dinner, see if you can buy coupons or get deals at local restaurant chains. Example: we bought $50 worth of Subway gift cards which came with one free sandwich, and so we (2 people) enjoyed Subway lunches four days in a row for only $50, which is $6,25 per lunch per person (and I’m telling you, one Subway sandwich and you’re set for the rest of the day). Another example: when eating at IHOP, you collect 1 PanCoin per spent $5. After eating there for $15 (3 coins) and getting a free IHOP membership (collecting 5 coins), we used our 8 coins for 8 free pancakes, thus lunching for free. Conclusion: wherever you eat, check out any available deals and use them to your advantage. 

• Be flexible. You may have to slightly change your itinerary sometimes for the sake of saving a good deal of money. This is not a bad thing: the money you save can be used for unexpected fun things along the way. 

• You don’t need luxurious hotels or all-inclusive resorts. Of course, there has to be some level of comfort, but I’ve experienced a lot of perfectly warm, cozy and comfortable motels, low-budget hotels and cabins, for as low as $27 and no higher than $75 (in our case, divided by three makes $9 to $25 per night per person). 

• If you travel to the United States: use the Upside discount app! With the help of this app, we collected $20 worth of Walmart shopping credit by getting gas at a certain gas stop chain five times in a row. 


I wrote down this list while in the backseat of the rental car, on our way to Salt Lake City, in about ten minutes. There are way and way more tips and tricks, and as I continue my travels, I'm sure I will come up with a lot more! It's all about research, planning, experiencing, and just trying and see where it takes you.

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