Saving Money on the Road – Travel Hacks
From Ernest Hemingway’s memorial to Lost Generation-era Paris in A Moveable Feast to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying taking on the All-American Road Trip as an ideal, literature is rife with the modern romantic ideal of travel, going wherever fate and adventure takes you. That being said, if you’ve ever read Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (and you should) you know full well that the line between that romantic ideal of travel and starving your way from city to city with uncertainty hanging overhead is a thin one indeed. There are many travel hacks for saving money on the road.
The great travel stories of our time are still to be written. Perhaps you’ll be the one to write them. But chances are, you aren’t going to want to be “down and out” anywhere, nor will you want to spend a ton of money, and these travel hacks can help you save like a pro while on the road.
Protect Yourself against Roaming Charges
Hemingway journeyed across Spain and France in his years abroad, all without worrying about roaming charges costing him a fortune. Phones are one of the great, era-defining conveniences today, but if you don’t turn off the features on your phone responsible for roaming charges, you can be stuck with hundreds of dollars racked up on your bill when you return. There are several solutions to this. If your trip is short, you’ll want to see if your provider has specific short-term overseas plans. If you’re planning on a longer trip, you’ll want to look into purchasing a country-specific SIM card to use while abroad. In the latter case, you’ll also want to make sure your phone is unlocked, that is, able to receive and use such new cards under new plans. If it is not, you’ll either have to unlock it (with online guides that can help you out) or buy a cheap unlocked phone.
Local Shops Are Your Friend
Hemingway may have written that “hunger was great discipline,” but chances are you’ll want to avoid that. That being said, you likely don’t want to spend a fortune, either. Thankfully, Hemingway’s memoir actually provides us with good, enduring advice in this regard – while abroad, shop at local shops. Not only are they often less pricey than bigger, fancier outlets, but you’ll get to enjoy more of the local color which makes cities like Paris and Barcelona come alive.
Rent a Smarter Way
On the one hand, you’ll definitely want to try to cut down on costs while traveling abroad. On the other hand, as Orwell all too readily points out, staying somewhere of poor quality and ill repute can be dangerous, hardly worth the savings, and far from romantic. Thankfully, companies like AirBnB make it easier than ever before to travel cheaply while staying somewhere of peer-reviewed quality. Renting AirBnBs or utilizing similar online rental sites can help save you from a hefty hotel bill.
Use Public Transportation
As Kerouac and Jong point out in their respective novels’ misadventures, the open road in a car of your own is intriguing – but not always all it’s cracked up to be. By contrast, public transportation – especially in cities like New York, London, and Moscow, which feature famously-good subway systems – can be a great cost-saving alternative, and can likewise allow you to experience more of the area’s flavor.
Travel in the know and like a pro with these time-tested travel tips.