These are websites, apps, and other media that I have found very useful for travelling on a budget
Firstly, I must say that my adventure would be absolutely impossible without both a smart phone and my laptop. My smart-phone keeps me in touch with the people at home, with the people I meet along the way, it lets me check my e-mail and social media anywhere, I can also check e-mail and use it for a GPS for both driving and walking. I use the internet to look up subway, bus, train, schedules and restaurants in my area. Its essential. My laptop lets me keep in touch, do all sort of research that save me money, finds me places to stay, places to eat, etc. They’re a must for the frugal traveler.
Saving Money Getting Around
- Public Transportation If you’re car-less or debating between bringing a car or not, public transportation is definitely cheaper than paying for your own gas and insurance, though can be less convenient, especially in America. Europe however has wonderful public transportation that is easy to use, and definitely cheaper than driving
- Fuelmyroute.com – You can put in any two locations and it will show you the various gas prices along your route. It highlights the cheapest and most expensive, so with a little planning you can always pay the least for gas. The gas prices are not always 100% accurate, but usually within a few cents per gallon.
- Gas Buddy App- This can also be used to save money on gas. Its better for finding the cheapest gas around you at the moment, so if you’re in a city and need gas you can find the cheapest, the closest, or a combination of both.
- Ride-share on craigslist.org– If you go to Craigslist, wherever you are, there is a link for ride-share under community. This is where people post looking for rides, some are from one end of a city to another, some are from one end of the country to the other, but its a great resource for finding people to help split the cost of gas.
- Hipmunk.com – Is a great website for finding cheap flights. You can put in where you are, where your going and the dates you want to travel and how flexible you are with those dates and it will find the cheapest flights, fastest flights, flights with the least layovers, etc.
Saving Money on a Place to Sleep
- Friends and Family – Almost everyone I talked to before I left and since I’ve been on the road has been really excited for me and wanted to both follow my travels (hence the blog) but also many offered places to stay along the way! Take them up on it. People like to host travelers because they have good stories and it’s always nice to meet people from other places. I’ve stayed with distant relatives, old friends, acquaintances who I wouldn’t otherwise see, former coworkers, new friends, etc. etc. If you’re a good guest, bring a bottle of wine or offer to cook a meal, and you can often find a place to sleep for a night, or longer, for the cost of a bottle of wine, or some food.
- Couchsurfing.org – A very cool, international website, that offers a somewhere to crash in someones house. You can post your travel plans on the website and often hosts will contact you from your anticipated locations and offer up a couch, you can also search hosts by location and ask if they have a couch for a night. Often you’ll get fed shown around by a local. Everyone has a profile so you can learn about a person before deciding to crash on their couch, and they can learn about you. For instance, I’m currently staying with a 26-year-old woman from South Carolina, who likes to travel and is a foodie like me. We had a great night out on the town, I also turned down an invitation from a 50-something-year old nudist, so there’s something for everyone!
- Airbnb.com– A website much like couch surfing but where people rent out rooms in their house for a small fee. It’s a little more expensive, but often you get your own room, and you can also search for amenities that you need, like wi-fi and laundry.
- Hostels- You can simply google search hostels and where you are and places will come up with places to stay for cheap ($15-$40 a night depending on what you’re looking for and where you are). Often you can find hostels that will feed you breakfast and have free wi-fi.
- House-sitting- There are many different websites where people can list ads looking for house-sitters. House sitting gigs can be for 2 days feeding a cat, or for over a year taking care of a huge house, 37 pets, and maintaining the lawn. Many of the sites you have to register (and pay) for, but it’s usually not much and you get a lot back in return. Two sites that I use are The Caretaker Gazette (caretaker.org) and House Carers (housecarers.com). I think both were less than $30 to register for. I prefer House Carers. You can put in where you’re looking to house-sit, for how long, what pets you’ll take care of and what pets you won’t (or if you don’t do pets at all) and they e-mail you postings you fit the description for daily. There are a lot in the US but also many internationally, especially in Australia.
Saving Money on Food
- Eat in whenever possible – Obviously eating in is better than eating out, even if you have to buy and cook the food yourself. If you’re staying with someone who offers a meal, take it. If you’re staying with someone who has a kitchen, utilize it. Definitely the cheapest optn.
- Happy Hours – Happy hours are the new trend all over the country. Often nice restaurants will run a happy hour in the afternoon into the evening and offer discounted food and alcohol. The easiest way to find these is to google “happy hours” and whatever city you’re in. If you’re in any type of metropolis there will be a website that lists all the places that run these. If you’re willing to eat and drink a little earlier (generally between 3-6) but hours vary, you can often eat for really cheap, and in really nice places.
- Drink water – I know it sounds obvious, but if you drink water instead of alcohol, juice, or soda you can save at least a few bucks at every meal. Figure out what you can and cannot go without. I have adopted drinking water with breakfast (forgoing orange juice) and with lunch (forgoing soda or beer). At night I will usually have a cocktail, if its happy hour or I can get it cheap, but everyone is different. The more water you drink the less you’ll spend.
- Street Food – In many major cities there is some really great, really cheap street food that will fill you up without draining your wallet. You can have a really great lunch on the go for around $5
Making Money on the Road
- Craigslist.org – I swear, this site is more wonderful than it gets credit for. Craigslist has listings for jobs, gigs, and services. The gigs are especially worth scrolling through while your on the road. Often you can find short gigs geared towards your skills or interests that pay. You can also find short-term jobs. I find it useful to type in key words and see what comes up like ‘bartender’. And also to scroll through the most recent couple days for whatever city I’m in.
CONSTANT WORK IN PROGRESS….