Yes, you should always take the scenic route while traveling. But a few strategic travel tricks and some smart technology can help you stay within your budget, preventing unnecessary stress en route—as well as regrets at the end of your trip. Here are six ways to save dough on your next getaway.
1. Solutions + Savings
Hipmunk is a fantastic app and website that helps you bundle your reservations to save on flights, car rentals, and hotels. Hipmunk’s “Deals” and “Packages” tabs score you savings so that you have more cash left for souvenirs. Hipmunk is the travel agent of your dreams, keeping all of your reservations organized in one simple app. If any questions arise while planning your getaway, Hipmunk has answers via Facebook Messenger and Slack.
2. Appsolutely Indispensable
Curve lets you upload all of your credit and debit cards to one card and app while traveling. The app helps you save conserve two of your most precious of resources—money and time—while keeping your sensitive information and funds secure. If you make a purchase in your home currency, which is sometimes an option at hotels, booking services, and larger organizations, then the transaction is fee-free. Purchases made in another currency are only subjected to a 1% fee, versus the typical 3% fee on major banking cards. The connected Curve app lets you see your spending in real time for peace of mind, and you can instantly lock or unlock your card if something seems fishy.
3. Local Digits = Lower Fees
Use your U.S. phone on holiday, without forking over global-plan fees to your American carrier. A local SIM likely has better network coverage, and is often cheaper than a monthly plan;it’s a pre-paid, pre-loaded cell phone that only requires you to pay for what you want. This eliminates the risk of overage charges, and you can always load more money onto your card if you need more minutes. Local digits mean that locals—friends, hotels, etc.—can call you with no hassle or foreign fees. If you’re trying to contact people at home, apps like WhatsApp and Viber let you call and text for free when you’re connected to WiFi or a data network.
Check whether your phone is already unlocked, or ask your carrier to unlock it for you. Upon arrival, purchase a local SIM: cell phone stores selling SIM cards to tourists are easy to find around transportation hubs and city centers. Ask them to insert your new card and make sure it works before you leave the store, and hang on tight to your original SIM. If you’re visiting multiple countries, you may want to buy a SIM like cellhire in advance online.
Pro Tip: If you’re relying on your phone’s maps, conserve your data by downloading them offline before you hit the streets.
4. Go Public, Score Savings
Rather than relying on pricey Uber rides or cabs, do as the locals do and take public transportation. It’s a fraction of the price, and a fun way to rub shoulders with natives—and technology tech makes it easier than ever. The MetrO app helps you navigate public transportation in more than 400 cities around the globe. After you’ve downloaded your city, no network connection is needed to access directions and maps. This simple transportation hack can save hundreds of dollars per week.
Pro Tip: Given exhaustion levels at the bookends of your trip, it may sound tempting to take a taxi to/from the airport, But it’s crucial to use alternative transportation—whether it’s the metro or an airport shuttle bus—because airport tariffs basically guarantee this will be the most expensive ride of your trip.
5. Free Wi-Fly
Surf the web for no cost, thanks to WiFox. The WiFox app boasts a map with a plethora of airport and lounge Internet passwords around the world. When you click on a hotspot, WiFox gives you the lowdown: details about its location, password updates and time limit. The app is continuously updated and available offline, so you’re almost always guaranteed complimentary connectivity.
6. Check, Please
You had dinner and lots of dessert: now it’s time to split the check. Traveling with friends is a blast, but it can be hard to keep track of all the miscellaneous expenditures. Splitwise keeps a running total of who owes what, so that at the end of the trip you can pay each other back in a lump sum. The free app makes it easy to add expenses in real time.
While this trip may be over, it sure feels good knowing that you have a little dough leftover for your next adventure—whether it’s a mile or an ocean away.
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.