A to B on a Dime: How to Travel Cheaply
It’s no secret that traveling is expensive. You’ll be spending money on a hotel, on food and on souvenirs, but one of the most expensive parts of your trip can be getting there. Luckily, there are a number of cheap ways to get from point A to point B.
If you’re already travelling by car, post your free spaces on a message board such as the one offered by Lonely Planet or www.carpooling.co.uk, which also has outposts in other countries. If you’re looking for a ride, check out sites dedicated specifically to ride sharing, like www.erideshare.com, www.compartir.org and www.hitchhikers.org. Many of these sites require people offering rides to provide references, a photo ID and phone numbers, which is great if you’re concerned about safety. Advertise rides or look for them at hostels or cafes frequented by other travellers – you never know, you might make a new friend!
Craigslist is the one stop shopping website for everything from free couches to bikes to a date for your best friend’s wedding. It’s not surprising, then, that you can also find rides to other cities.
Though it has a bad rep, hitchhiking is still a popular way of getting around in many parts of the world. Be smart about who you get into a car with – if you feel uneasy in any way about your ride, don’t be afraid to decline the offer.
No-frills or budget airlines are par for the course in many parts of the world. In Europe, it’s practically an art form. In the UK, for instance, you can find tickets abroad for little more than the price of taxes. If you keep your eyes open, you can find great, last-minute deals from companies like Ryanair, EasyJet or Flymonarch. Do be aware that you get what you pay for. Your ticket might be as low as $30, but don’t expect free water, snacks – or even a free toilet. If you happen to be within Australia, you can find happy hour rates offered during one hour of the day on sites like Virgin Australia or Jetstar.
Last Minute Deals
If your travel schedule (and/or destination) is flexible, a number of standard e-travel agencies offer great last-minute deals. Expedia and Kayak are just two places to start. Other sites are dedicated to simply curating the best last-minute travel deals online, from single flights to train tickets plus hotel stay. Start your search at Last Minute Travel or l’Tur.
When people move from one place to another, they’ll often have their car sent. Since someone needs to transport it from one place to the next, why shouldn’t it be you? inquire directly with car rental or relocation companies to see if they’re in need of drivers. You can also check for ads in your city newspaper, university bulletins or classifieds for direct contact with people looking for movers. This method of transportation does require you to be flexible, but not only will it get you where you’re going, it will provide you with a bit of cash as well.
Taking the Train
Though it’s long since ceased to be the cheapest way to travel, you can still find cheap train tickets if you search. Amtrak, for instance, has special fares within the United States. If you’re travelling in Europe, sign up for a group ticket and save a lot of money. If you’re travelling solo, look for other solo passengers through websites such as Mitfahrgelegenheit.de, a German site that also has outposts in other countries.
The Wheels on the Bus
In the US, travelling by bus is one of the best ways to get around. Companies like BoltBus or Megabus offer tickets starting at as low as $1. The Chinatown Bus travels from the Chinatown in one city to another for around $30-$40.