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How to travel cheap as a digital nomad

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author-photo Danijela Horvat
How to travel cheap as a digital nomad

How to travel cheap as a digital nomad

Even if you are an experienced digital nomad or just starting, how to travel cheap must be your primary concern. For someone who is changing several countries or cities every year, saving a few bucks can be instrumental.

Fortunately, living as a digital nomad is not as expensive as many think. In reality, if you genuinely want to save money while traveling, you may do quite a bit of it. Continue reading to find out the best tips for saving money while traveling internationally.

Travel options as a digital nomad

Depending on where in the world you are, you may have different transportation options you can use, and some are cheaper than others. For example, in Europe, where you have so many low-cost airlines, you can save on flights, while in other places where a train or bus is the best way to move around, you should do so.

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Planes

The pricing of airline tickets is incredibly complicated, with algorithms that alter prices every minute. It significantly disadvantages the typical customer and frequently leads to consumers overpaying for flights. As a digital nomad, you must learn to “cheat the system” and find bargain flights anywhere.

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Buy at the right time

The cost of your flight can vary depending on several factors related to when you purchase it. According to research by the Travel and Leisure Magazine, prices typically vary 62 times in 11 months. Although travelers should carefully check costs before booking, the best time to book is usually four to three weeks before departure.

Fortunately, you can automate this procedure with the help of tools. On Google’s Explore Flights function, you can arrange a flight. If you save the page, you can quickly see the current flight prices for specific areas. Alternately, enter your starting point and final destination into Airfare Watchdog and then sign up for an email alert when prices drop.

Check out apps like Hopper if you’re more interested in an app-based solution. This one enables you to view the annual flight costs to your location. Additionally, it forecasts whether the price of flights to specific locations and dates will likely increase or decrease.

Lock in the price

You can also pay a small charge with a few airlines to lock in a flight’s fare. The exact cost will be available for later bookings. Even if you are unsure of your vacation itinerary or would like to continue shopping around, this might be an excellent method to lock in a low cost. This alternative might not save you money, but it might be worth a shot if you notice a cheap rate.

Frequent flyer cards

It’s not the only benefit of frequent flyer cards to accrue miles. Many provide complimentary extras that can help you save some money. Priority boarding and other extra benefits, especially those that guarantee overhead bin room, make flights a little more enjoyable.

Book one-way tickets

A round-trip flight used to be far more economical to book. However, it isn’t always the case nowadays. Instead, you might come out ahead if you’re willing to book your “to” flight with one airline and your “home” flight with a different carrier. Although this won’t always be the case, it’s something to consider as you compare prices.

Trains

Trains are not always the cheapest, but they are sometimes the most convenient, especially if traveling in Europe or smaller countries. Trains are an indispensable part of every trip, and you must understand how trains work if you want to learn how to travel cheaply.

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Buy ahead of time

Most people are aware that buying train tickets in advance can save them money, but on a busy day, these deals frequently disappear before spare seats can be found. The secret is to start shopping for tickets as soon as the booking has opened.

Buy second-class

On some European trains, the two sections’ seats have the same style and level of comfort. The only significant distinction is that second-class transportation may be more crowded due to cost savings. With your more expensive ticket, you’ll have a more relaxed experience, but interacting with intriguing people will be more challenging. Additionally, sometimes neither section is overcrowded.

City Transit

When you choose the city where you will stay for a while, the next step after booking accommodation is to figure out how the city transportation works. If you are lucky to be staying in the city with the metro lines, that might be the most convenient way of transportation.

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However, many places, like smaller European cities, have only trams or buses as a city transportation system. You can also use buses to move around the country and visit other areas.

Always check if you can buy weekly or monthly tickets since these are usually cheaper than one-way tickets on the tram.

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How to travel cheap between countries

Finding ways to reduce spending, using money-saving apps and websites, and learning how to book cheap tickets are all essential components of affordable travel. It’s about getting the best deal possible, cutting costs, and maintaining your ability to do whatever you want.

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Bus

The bus is a great low-cost transportation option. By planning ahead, you can typically locate the lowest bus ticket prices; the earlier you purchase your bus tickets, the more affordable they will be. For example, FlixBus, which operates in Europe, has tickets that are often the most affordable for travel between countries of all the other ways of transportation.

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Train

When it comes to train travel, rail passes like the JR Pass in Japan or the Eurail Pass in Europe are a terrific way to save money. Rail passes will probably be substantially less expensive than individual trips if you plan to tour the area extensively.

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Car

You can either travel by your own car, rent a car, or do car sharing, like the one you get through the Bla Bla Car app. Using a ride-sharing app, you can connect with drivers who have additional seats in their vehicles primarily for medium and long distances.

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Plane

Traveling between countries by plane can be affordable if an operator offers low-cost flights. Look into local airlines and sign up for their newsletters to get notified if there is a deal on flights. Also, websites and apps like Skyscanner, Scott’s Cheap Flights, Momondo, and others are great sources of affordable tickets.

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How to travel cheap inside a country

The golden rule here is to do what locals do. For example, if locals use buses, you use the bus, etc. Local people know all the options and will always use the cheapest and most convenient options.

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Be flexible and make connections

Local buses or trains often make connections in different cities, and sometimes you have to stop somewhere you wouldn’t plan to, just to catch the transportation between point A and point B. Take Mexico as an example; to get to Holbox from Tulum, you must make a connection in Playa del Carmen.

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Don’t be afraid to talk to locals about their ways of transportation, since they can give you the best advice possible. Also, check local Facebook groups for digital nomads, which are full of great advice.

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How to travel cheap inside a city

Once you get into a city, you might ask yourself how to best get around the city. Depending on the place, there are always several options, usually consisting of public transport, Uber, or bicycles.

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Buy local weekly or monthly transportation card

Nearly all large cities have cards that provide discounted rates for frequent local train or subway users. These will probably save you a great deal if you plan to stay in a city for more than a few days. However, each ride is less expensive when you load the card with some money than if you purchased them separately.

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Get a bicycle

If you are staying somewhere longer, think of getting a cheap bicycle. They have numerous advantages, from enhancing health to reducing traffic and saving money. Bicycles offer adequate transportation with no fuel usage and no carbon emissions.

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How to find affordable accommodation

One of your main outgoing costs will be for lodging. As a result, there is also the greatest potential for savings. Don’t assume that while traveling, you must stay in hotels. This would swiftly deplete your budget, and it is completely needless.

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Rent an apartment from a local

Many locals are renting out charming tiny apartments without listing them online. They simply post a sign on the door or wait for a referral. Inquire about available rental properties from local Facebook groups, other nomads you meet along the journey, or the workers at nearby cafes or restaurants. You’ll be astonished at how much less expensive lodging can be.

Stay longer

Usually, you will get a better rate if you stay longer. Even if you are booking your lodging through Airbnb, you can select monthly stays as an option and get a discounted price. In addition, owners can negotiate a lower rate for you because they don’t have to find new renters or have empty rooms.

House sitting

There are several websites and apps dedicated to house sitting, where you can get in touch with owners from different countries who have listed their places for various reasons. Usually, they have a pet you would have to feed or take for walks or plants to water. Although some apps charge a small fee for the account, house sitting doesn’t cost anything.

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The best ways to travel cheap as a digital nomad

When you master the skills of finding affordable housing and transportation, your life as a digital nomad will be much easier. Learning how to travel cheap is a life lesson many travelers find out on their own, but some of the main things you can learn today are:

  1. Book tickets ahead of time or at the best possible time.
  2. Find affordable accommodation and stay longer.
  3. Use public transport or bicycles.
  4. Talk to locals.
  5. Use money-saving apps to find the best tickets.
  6. Use frequent flyer cards.

How to travel cheap may seem overwhelming for a new digital nomad, but even the more experienced travelers learn something new with time. Saving money means spending more funds on a destination, for restaurants, museums, books, or classes. Learning how to save money gives you individual freedom.

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