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Home Page > Writing > How to travel for stupid cheap

How to travel for stupid cheap. How I do my trips stupid cheap, some universal tips on saving while traveling whether you backpack, go posh-luxo, or somewhere in-between:

by Brad Hines 5-21-19 1:50 pm

- Let the flight dictate where you want to go and not the other way around, everywhere in the world is cool anyway. For this I reccomend Kayak Explore, and SkyScanner. Looking for flights about 45-50 days out into the future tends to be the cheapest options.

- Bring bento boxes of food on plane in meal-less economy flights to stick it to them.

-Learn the airlines bag dimensions rules and then come in exactly below that. Study "packing hacking".

- Limit going out to eat and use the local affordable supermarket. This is often more authentic and living like a local anyway, and better helps controls your diet. I also like using Groupons while traveling.

-Alternative housing like staying in someone's home with them on Airbnb, Couchsurfing, or even farming like "WWoofing" is not just often more savings; but it adds an inherent value in anything from coziness to having a de facto tour guide.

- After the trip (and even during) complain about everything that merits complaining about, for rebates. What that is gets to be your call! 

-Seldom buy souvenirs. Capture stories and photos instead, this also has the advantage of keeping life clutter-free. Sometimes if I really want the souvenir, I'll buy it later at home on Amazon. Clothing is a better souvenir when it's a bargain in your visiting country, and you can just wear it home. 

- Eat where locals are lined up out the door. Think of your own city, is that rule of thumb wrong? Largely don't eat on the harbor and main blvds (tourist traps) but instead at the back door kinds of places locals and the internet tip you off about.

-Offset the cost of trip during or after by profiting from it: writing, photography, arbitraging souvenirs, podcasts, vlogging. I design items inspired by each location on POD sites like Zazzle as my personal favorite. A more involved macro one is to incept an entire business to start inspired by filling a market not being filled. Endless restaurants and products started as things seen first overseas.

- Think a lot about the nature of the trips' duration. Sometimes 2-3 days away in total is enough to take in the essence of a place. Recent trips I did to Iceland, Cartagena Colombia, New Orleans, and Bangkok Thailand, were all only 3 days in total. After the third day there is a diminished mariginal utility being in the same place. On the other end of the length spectrum, being in a place a long time can help diulte and "amortize" the cost of your flight. Especially if you are inbetween housing in the United States, it may actually be cheaper for you to travel for an entire month or longer in a place that is cheaper than living here. I did this recently when I lived in South America for 50 days, and the total cost of my trip was cheaper than living outright in a 1bedroom apartment in my native Boston.


If you have a great travel savings tip, please leave it in the comments below.



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Brad Hines photo picture imageAbout the writer: Brad Hines is the president of, founder emeritus of He is a startup advisor and investor. A writer as well, he typically writes about Internet, e-commerce, travel, marketing, personal finance and lifestyle. He has bylines at Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Techopedia, Elephant Journal, Learnvest and more. He loves food and is a self-taught cook.


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