1. WWOOFing – the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) way of life is really taking off at the moment, with plenty of travellers using it as a means to get a free bed and a few meals in exchange for a little work on their host’s farm.
2. CouchSurfing – similar to WWOOF, the couch surfing community is huge and still growing. It’s a great place to meet people and do things you wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to do…and you don’t have to do any work in return (maybe just buy your host a beer or two!). My friend Matt is currently touring the States and sleeping on a lot of couches (and saving heaps of cash) using this method.
3. Use Airmiles – there are plenty of ways to collect airmiles, whether through the standard route of getting an airline partner card, using a reward card point system (e.g. Tesco’s) or with a credit card such as the Lloyds Bank Airmiles Duo cards (providing you with both a MasterCard and an Amex, perfect for those travelling emergencies). And you don’t just have to use the miles on flights, you can get deals on all sorts of things.
4. Win stuff – enter competitions for travel internships, run by companies such as STA Travel or the newly founded Gap360 who are currently offering the chance to win trips to a number of incredible destinations. Don’t think you’re writing/photography/video skills are up to the task? Well you’ll never know if you don’t give it a go!
5. Work at a hostel in exchange for a place to sleep – many hostels sometimes need a little extra help, so if your funds are running low it’s always worth asking if you can work for them…at the check-in desk, in their bar, as your hostel’s media person, doing their photos and promo, or even as a touter (at airports or bus stations telling people they should go to your hostel). Check out what Chris from BackpackerBanter thinks of his time doing just this in the land down under.
6. Get sponsored to go somewhere and write a review (of a hostel, a tour company etc) – maybe you’d do this anyway without wanting something in return (I know I would), but sometimes it’s worth asking at a hostel whether they’d like a review of their establishment in exchange for a bed for the night. The same goes for products you love and use regularly…you may even get some free swag out of it.
7. Get overnight buses – this one is pretty self explanatory…if you have a long distance to travel and want to save some dosh, get on the bus in the evening and arrive at your destination in the morning all refreshed and with some cash in your pocket from not having had to pay for a night’s stay in a hostel.
8. Eat street food – obviously you need to be careful with this one, always try be aware of what it is you’re eating and how it’s been cooked, but generally, this can save you heaps in places like SE Asia. Top Tip: Go to the place with the biggest queue – if it’s popular, you know it’s going to be good.
9. Cook your own meals – if you’re staying in one place for a few nights and your accommodation has its own kitchen, it’s always going to be cheaper to take a trip to your local food store and stock up on a few of the staples (pasta, rice, bread etc) than to eat out every night. It’s also a great way to get to know some of your fellow travellers…invite your roommates for a meal and maybe they’ll return the favour the next night.
10. Take your time – spend weeks in a place, not days…just soak up the atmosphere. The slower you travel, the less money you’ll spend.