There are the practical ways to save money when traveling, like looking for a cheap hostel, using hostel alternatives, and figuring out the best places to travel on a weak dollar. Then there are other ways to skimp and save that don’t sound as fun but will save you things in addition to quite a bit of money. There are some things you can really do without, or at least do without when your budget gets tight.

1. Lunch

One of the most important things to look for in a hostel or hotel is a good breakfast so you can load up before you head out for the day. It’s easier to forget about a full lunch when you’re out exploring and on a full stomach. Cutting out this meal in addition to a simple hotel room workout are good ways to keep in shape and avoid gaining a little extra cargo too.

german breakfast

2. Luggage

You can make do without checking in any baggage – at least most people can. I can’t speak for family travelers but even on the longest trips most people can stick to a single carry on by packing like a stripper. You never need as much as you think you do.

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baggage claim

3. Alcohol

Alcohol in many parts of the world is taxed quite heavily and you pay a premium for it. You also don’t need alcohol to survive and while it’s nice to drink, a big waste of money on a very tight budget (same goes for cigarettes). If you simply can’t resist some booze, consider getting a bottle of vodka when you pass through the duty free shop – there are 4 other things you can do with vodka other than getting drunk as well.

duty free alcohol

4. iPhone

Or at least turn off roaming (Hole In The Donut has a good tutorial on setting up your iPhone for international travel). Technology is great but roaming charges aren’t and a iPod touch or laptop can replace your iPhone for most purposes. Besides, there are many advantages to traveling without an iPhone.


5. Debt

Using debt is the opposite of saving – it’s spending money you don’t have to get something now. Many travelers use debt to shortcut the waiting process that is saving, but like a sculptor you can hack away the inessential and travel around the world by expanding your budget in two directions.

cut up credit card

6. A Real Place To Sleep

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Airports are free places to sleep and if you’re on a long trip around the world, you can save quite a bit of money by planning 1 night over at an airport after each major stop. Assuming the average hostel night will cost you $26, doing this once a month and planning your flights accordingly can save you a bit for a nice luxury stay along the way.

sleeping in airport

7. A Fancy Camera

You don’t need an SLR to take good travel photos and with some minor changes in focus, it’s easy to improve your travel photos. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these travel pictures taken with a cell phone camera.

slr gear

You can also make your money work for you by signing up for mileage and reward programs (Chris Guillbeau’s Frequent Flyer Master comes highly recommended), use corporate discounts (no matter who you work for), and try some unconventional ways to earn a bit more.

[photos by: by_amil, kozumel, sunface13, Christopher Chan, RogueSun Media, pallotron, Claudio Matsuoka]