As most of you know, I just returned from my first overseas trip after being away for two weeks - which means I had to budget for TWO WEEKS of travel. WOW. How was I going to make sure I didn't run out of money on my trip but also have enough money when I returned to pay my rent? I knew I still wanted to do things, but I also wanted to make sure I saved money in the process. 

Here are a few ways I saved money: 

 * Look for FREE guided tours

This was the coolest thing I experienced in London. I Googled free tours of London and found an amazing company that had you "pay what you want" for the tour. At the end of the tour, you could tip your guide whatever you thought was fair. This was an excellent way to explore some of the city I would've never been able to see otherwise. (I learned about the tale of the Headless Horseman, Florence Nightingale and more!) And without the 30 or 40 euro price tag than most other tours I'd researched, had. 

* Grocery shop & have a picnic 

When I was in France, my sister and I avoided the tourist trap restaurants (which end up being extremely expensive anyway) and opted to grab a few items from the local store. We grabbed a blanket, some wine and had a picnic right under the Eiffel Tower. Talk about lunch with a view! And at much less of a cost then any of those fancy restaurants would've been. 

* Opt for public transportation 

Luckily in Greece, we'd already paid for all transportation ahead of time (through Go Ahead Tours), but we wanted to be smart about how to travel in London and Paris. A few days pass was roughly 30 euros in Paris vs spending upwards of $15-20 each Uber ride. And it was pretty cool to get to use the train system, which was pretty nice. And barely took more time than an Uber. 

* Carry snacks and water while traveling 

Before heading out for the day, we'd pack a small book bag with waters and any snacks we'd gotten from the store. This kept us full throughout the day without the temptation to stop at a restaurant for every meal. 

* Carry a certain amount of money each day with you and leave the rest in your hotel 

This helped me tremendously! Based on what we were doing for the day, I'd calculate how much I'd bring with me so I wouldn't be tempted to spend more than my budget. I avoided using cards at all too because we all know how much easier it is to forget how much we spend! The money I left behind, I simply locked in the hotel safe with my passport until I got back that night. 

* City passes are your best friend 

I knew that I wanted to be able to visit a few different landmarks in London in a short period of time, so purchasing a day city pass saved so much time and money. For 30 euros, I was able to hop on and off a bus all day and go to any of the landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and more! 

I hope some of these tips were helpful - and I'd love to hear about some of the ways you save money when you travel! Let me know in the comments =) 

I enjoy reading up on building communities, LOTR marathons, ocean conservation efforts (such as volunteering), and playing with my puppy Thor. 

Original Post

Great travel tips for sure. And they apply to almost anywhere you go.

I have been to some countries where Uber was safer than public transportation, but for the most part, taking public transport can save you a lot of money.

Thanks for sharing. I have a co-worker who went to Greece last year, it seems to be a pretty nice place to visit.

I definitely think I will add it to my travel bucket-list!

That's exciting @Briana. Thank you for the helpful tips! I hope to travel overseas someday...once the kids are grown and gone. Your ideas are certainly applicable for local travel as well. 

Honestly, I don't travel far anymore- I used to cross the country on a whim when I was younger and unencumbered. But the traveling that I do, planning is my money saver. Plan snacks, travel times, and stick to a budget. I travel with cash. When it runs out, then the fun has to be no-cost, and there are plenty of no cost sights and activities.  

Those are great tips @Briana! I take snacks with me too whether travelling close to home or abroad.  I will splurge on local food items that interest me that I can't get at home.  

I have taken bus tours in Europe a couple of times because when I priced out train passes & hostels, it was more expensive than the bus tours that include hotels, some meals & some entrances to attractions.  With the bus tours too, I could add on optional excursions that got me fast-tracked into museums & attractions rather than standing in the regular 4-6hr line ups.

If you hotel, has fruit at the front desk, help yourself as you leave for the day.  The last hotel I stayed at in Zurich had different fruit infused waters everyday that they encouraged guests to take with them on daytrips (In your own water bottle & they sold bottles if you didn't have one).

I also love asking locals to share their favourite restaurants, parks, spots.  

When the kids were younger and still at home, we had opportunity to visit Italy as a family. Someone suggested looking up Rick Steves and his online materials. (Europe Through the Back Door). The ideas were real money savers. Picnicking, less expensive alternative accommodations, (we stayed at a Catholic charismatic guest house in Rome), doing free and cheap stuff, using public transport, sink washable and quick dry clothes. Another moneysaver was snagging a cheap flight and leaving from an alternative airport. We ended up using a consolidator to travel from Newark NJ (instead of Philly, JFK or BWI), to London, then used a "local" GB travel agent to get a short flight to Rome. Traveling shoulder season also saved a bunch. Several pieces of useful advice: comfortable leather shoes, sanitizing liquid, packet of tissues in case there's no TP,  letting your credit card company know of your travel plans, memorizing basic phrases in the language, undergarment money pouch to thwart pickpockets, some cash in the local currency, and a really good map.

That's so cool @Nicole! It was fun to ask locals about places to go - they know how to avoid the tourist traps too. These are great tips @Olivia! I used a money belt the entire time and we actually booked flights pretty far in advance to avoid higher prices. 

All in all, I learned that it's completely possible to have a fun, affordable overseas trip! 

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