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Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Each year during vacation time, most of us either drive or fly to a familiar tourist destination, stay in a tourist hotel, eat tourist food, do tourist activities, and return home feeling like a tourist in one or two weeks.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  Millions do it every year.

But why not get off the beaten path of the madding crowd and experience something untraditional?  There are countless lands to explore and numerous ways if we have the wandering spirit to search and learn.  And most of these excursions are less expensive than the accustomed trip.

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Untraditional Accommodation Options

Regarding slashing the largest chunk of your travel budget, accommodation is where the bulk of savings can be made. It’s no secret that alternatives to hotel stays can be much kinder to your wallet.

From the cozy homes of friendly strangers on platforms like Couchsurfing to the camaraderie of communal hostels and the eco-friendly ambiance of treehouses and farm stays, a world of affordable and distinctive stays is waiting to be discovered.

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

House Sitting: The Ultimate Home Away from Home

Imagine living in pristine homes, with loving pets as your only companions – without spending a dime on accommodation. House sitting offers just that.

By taking care of someone’s home while they’re away, you enjoy the comforts of home and help reduce some expenses for budget-conscious homeowners. Websites like TrustedHousesitters and MindMyHouse connect travelers with such opportunities, creating a win-win scenario for all.

Swap your home with another family in another area

This is particularly feasible if you live in a tourist destination.  Search online and on websites that do the home swapping for you, like Home Exchange.  Details are easily worked out via email or phone; often, no money changes hands. 

If a trade can’t be worked out, offer to rent the property.  Shop carefully and request pictures.

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Bed and Breakfast

Bed & Breakfasts are delightful places to stay, especially in Europe, for a reasonable price, plus enjoy a home-cooked breakfast to start each day. 

Prices will vary, you may have to share a bath and a deposit will probably be required.  Many say this is the only way to travel and savor the culture.

Elderhostels are the choice of many over the age of 55

 There are more than 8,000 elderhostels in all 50 states and more than 90 countries.  People from all walks of life gather together to experience educational tours, learn, exchange ideas, and explore the world at a reasonable cost. 

Of course, a website is dedicated to only this type of travel.

The cost will vary depending on where you travel.  These are not-for-profit tours with teachers and guides who know the countryside and culture.

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Volunteer and vacation

If you like going somewhere and helping others make a better way of life, this may be the case for you.  Most of the time, you travel in groups, which makes discounts easier to obtain.  

At home and abroad, you volunteer on various projects, such as rebuilding homes in New Orleans or planting trees in the Amazon jungle. 

But there’s always time for fun along the way.  Get more information from the United Way or the Red Cross.

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Trade your hotel keys for RV keys

 With the price of gas, this is not as doable as it once was, but more young people are buying RVs it once was reserved for the 60-plus crowd.  

The larger the family and the longer the trip, the more you can save by foregoing hotels and preparing your own meals in the RV or at the campsite. 

The work you do can offset the gas cost.  If you’re unsure you want to take the plunge and buy an RV many are available to rent. 

Untraditional Ways to Save on Travel Costs

Monasteries/ Spiritual Retreats

If you want to reflect on your inner self, rooms at monasteries and spiritual retreats may be rented nationwide.  Most are inexpensive; some only require a donation. 

You may also be asked to participate in some of their activities and help with chores, but sharing their beliefs is unnecessary. 

The list of untraditional ways to save on travel costs goes on and on, so if you’re feeling a bit daring and adventurous- why not mix it up with something a little out of the ordinary?

You might never become an expert at extreme budgeting, but with some out-of-the-box thinking and long-term planning, you can discover plenty of ways to get the most out of any vacation. Why not start traveling today by grabbing your backpack or RV keys, finding someone to swap houses with, and taking off?

Who knows, you may find yourself in a more rewarding experience than ever imagined!

Experience the quiet amid beautiful settings. Break the hotel habit and seek the road less traveled. Untraditional vacations may be just what you’ve been longing for. 

Food and Dining Strategies

Exploring new cuisines is an integral part of any adventure, and it need not be a luxury reserved for the well-heeled traveler. You can savor delicious meals at a fraction of restaurant prices by veering away from tourist traps and getting involved in the local food scene.

Local Markets and Communal Cooking: The Thrifty Gourmet Way

Visiting local markets grants insight into a culture’s culinary traditions and yields fresh and inexpensive produce. Pair this with communal cooking facilities offered by hostels or accommodations, and you’ve got the perfect blend of community engagement and budget dining.

Street Food: Tales of the Palate at Curbside Prices

Street food is the most accessible and authentic way to indulge your taste buds without emptying your pockets. Be cautious of sanitation and opt for hot foods to avoid travel tummy while enjoying local flavors at street stalls and casual eateries.

Off-Season and Last-Minute Travel

Being flexible with your travel dates and plans can lead to significant savings. Traveling when others are not and staying open to last-minute opportunities can unlock the door to savings in all areas of your trip.

Traveling Off-Peak: Surplus of Savings in Quiet Seasons

The off-season doesn’t just mean fewer crowds; it often translates to lower prices. Attractions, accommodations, and even local transportation can be vastly reduced, offering double the reasons to pack your bags when others aren’t.

Last-Minute Deals: Serendipity’s Role in Saving

Technology has made finding and snap up last-minute travel deals easier than ever. Whether through dedicated websites or the flexibility to hop on a plane when an unexpected sale pops up, being open to spontaneous travel can yield huge savings.

untraditional ways to save traveling

Saving on Activities and Entertainment

Hiking and Nature Exploration: The Best Things in Life are Free

From national parks to coastal walks, hiking trails offer some of the most breathtaking sights at no cost. The simple act of meandering through nature allows for reflection, photo opportunities, and the pure joy of discovery.

Local Festivals and Community Events: Feasts for the Soul and Eyes

Participating in local festivals and events not only offers a glimpse into a culture’s traditions but also provides entertainment that is often free or low-cost. Whether it’s a street parade, a religious celebration, or a community gathering, the energy and excitement are bound to be memorable.

By venturing into untraditional methods of saving, you will not only find your budget stretching further but also enrich your travels with new connections, unique experiences, and a greater sense of accomplishment.

The next time your wanderlust tugs at your sleeve, remember that with the right approaches, the world is not just your oyster—it’s your bargain bin, too.

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