5 Money-Saving Tools for the Cheap Traveler
Summer isn’t just the season of love — it’s also the season of travel. If you’re planning a getaway in the next few months, either large-scale or small, you most likely have a budget to abide by (if not, you might want to look into drafting one.)
We did some research and in-staff sourcing to track down the best digital resources to help you, the traveler, save money during your upcoming summer journeys.
Granted, they do depend in part on the type of travel you’re planning. Some are great if you’re looking to crash for free or find last-minute rooms; others are more ideal for long-term trips where you’ll be working for the roof over your head. You can try one, two or a combination of them all — it’s a win-win regardless.
Take a look through them below. Are there any must-use tools we missed? Share your favorites with us in the comments!
CouchSurfing.org is a hospitality sharing platform that’s been around since 2003. Its goal is exactly what it sounds like: to set you up with a couch to “crash” on. To use it, you need to register and fill out a basic profile, with your name, location, hobbies, etc. Once your profile’s public, you can indicate how many travelers you’re willing to accommodate (it’s a rule that you need to be open to hosting if you’ll be surfing.)
If you’re looking to travel out of town for a week — say, to London — you can search the city for hosts who’s accommodation information lines up with your request. From there, it’s up to you to contact them and set up and time and place to meet.
There are, of course, understandable hesitations about meeting and staying with complete strangers. The website allows users to leave comments on a host’s page — generally speaking, then, the more positive comments a user has, the more likely it is that they’re trustworthy. But still be cautious and use your best judgment.
We told you about WorkAway back in November, but it’s worth mentioning again. In short, it’s a website that connects you to participants abroad who are willing to provide food and accommodation in return for work. The site’s database consists of more than 4,500 participants from 115 countries. The type of work varies — building, gardening and teaching all pop up on the front page — but the understanding is that you’ll work four or five days each week, then be free to travel on the weekends. If you find work in a city you’d like to explore, it gives you the opportunity to save on costs while still experiencing both the environment and culture.
Similar to WorkAway, the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an exchange program that pairs volunteers with hosts in different parts of the world. The niche here is “organic farm,” which is where you’ll be working. The typical workload consists of 4-6 hours a day for a full day’s worth of food and accommodation, so like with WorkAway, there will still be time to travel.
Similar to the previous two, HelpX is an online platform that connects travelers to hosts willing to provide food and board for work. Locations include farms, bed-and-breakfasts, ranches and hostels, among others.
This iPhone app describes itself as a “combination of CouchSurfing and Airbnb.” It’s free to download, and you can use it to find hostels and book beds at the last minute wherever you’re traveling. Once you check in, you can use it to meet other travelers who are staying at the hostel as well.