Travel

How to Travel the World Cheap, Like A Pro and Without Going Into Debt

How to travel the world cheap like a pro

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law

Big travel doesn’t have to cost big bucks. Anyone who tells you it does is trying to sell you a bloated tour package. Run far away from that. Here’s how to travel the world cheap, like a pro, without going into debt.

You may not be an Instagram travel influencer spending this week in Bora Bora and the next beneath the arctic lights in Finland, but that’s cool because there are ways you can travel the world, assimilate like a local, and not rack up debt to have remarkable experiences together with the ones you love. Before you start exploring the world like a wise travel pro, make sure you’ve fixed your credit and settled up old debts. A clean(er) slate will make your future travel experiences far more enjoyable!

How to Travel the World Like A Pro Without Going Into Debt

(smart money saving travel tips, tricks and hacks for traveling cheaply and without ringing up debt from an expert world traveler)

How to travel the world cheap like a pro buy staying in amazing local rental homes

Stay like a local, at unique affordable rental homes like this one in County Clare Ireland.

Stay Like A Local

If you are staying at a place with brass luggage carts and a tuxedoed bellhop, you are NOT traveling smart. Sure, those suave digs seem awesome but you are throwing your money away. Most hotels look the same in the dark, you know? And that’s what it’ll be for the majority of your time in whichever accommodation you choose. So choose wisely. Avoid the fancy tourist hotels and instead, find a neighborhood joint, either an apartment or rental home through Homeaway, or maybe a budget independent hotel with solid ratings and reviews on booking.com (my friends & family link will get us both a free $20 when you use it to book your next room!)

How to travel the world cheap like a pro buy staying in amazing local rental homes

This Irish rental home had two dogs on the property that made our Ireland vacation even more special.

By saving money on your accommodations you will be able to invest more in the unique experiences of traveling. And no, I don’t mean you get to add more tourist attractions to your to-do list. Oh honey, you have much still to learn about traveling like a local and traveling the world without ringing up debt!

Travel the world cheap like a pro by seeking out the best local coffee shops and restaurants

Travel the world cheap like a pro by seeking out the best local coffee shops and restaurants

Eat Like A Local

So you booked a cool flat or home in a bustling neighborhood, and you’ve gotten settled in. Yes! It feels good, right? Now, go outside. Walk around. See what kinds of cafés, grocery stores, and restaurants are nearby, and look to see who is inside. Locals, probably, people who look like they know what they are doing (because they do it every day) and are speaking the language. Perfect. You know you will be eating like a local and paying local prices, not jacked up rates because oh look, there’s a body of water or this restaurant is on the 50th floor so the food costs 50% more than on the ground. Don’t pay (more) for scenery, pay (less) for authentic regional food that locals eat!

Travel the world cheap by shopping like a local

Travel the world cheap by shopping like a local

Shop Like A Local

One of the best ways to not only travel the world without ringing up debt but also to carve your own path through the world is to shop like a local. What does this mean? It means avoiding the tourist shops selling made-in-China factory junk and mass produced t-shirts that are carbon copies of the ones for sale in the next town over only with different words emblazoned on ‘em. These mementos are not indicative of the the place or of your experience, and they are a complete waste of money. I won’t go as far as to suggest you should ‘collect only memories’ but if you shop like a local, you will take home stuff that, when you see it, use it, and wear it, will transport you right back to that place. Spend your money wisely and shop like locals do; buy that cool dress no one back home will have, the ceramic plate being made right in front of you and using the materials from that region, and the scarf of the local soccer team. Or, don’t buy any of that and bring home local currency as a souvenir!

Travel the world cheap by not exchanging currency before you arrive

Get That Local Currency When You Arrive

Do not, under any circumstance, exchange currency in an airport, especially not your home airport. You don’t need foreign currency before you’ve even taken off and you will be taken by fees and terrible exchange rates. Instead, get fair exchange rates and usually no ATM fees at the cash machines in the airport, train station, on the city streets in your destination. Be sure to contact your bank and credit cards of course to let them know when and where you are traveling. They will put a travel notice on your accounts so you can use your cards freely.

Travel the world cheap like a pro does!

Use Credit Cards and Rewards Programs Like A Travel Pro

Finally, credit cards. Deep breathe. Now, maybe you’ve had credit card issues in the past (raises hand!) and worked hard to repair your credit score but fear not. When used correctly, credit cards can be your key to traveling the world smartly and without ringing up debt. True story! Before you book flights and choose the cool apartment, long before you try on the dress in the neighborhood boutique, and eat alongside locals, you need to shop around for the best credit card(s) offering the most generous rewards and no foreign transaction fees for your next family trip. I recommend the IHG Rewards card from Chase. For the $59 annual fee you get a free night at any of their properties each year. In 2017 we used our free night to stay at the Intercontinental in Times Square. That was a $400 room I essentially paid $59 for. That’s smart traveling!

Travel goals: Ireland in the Autumn

Travel goals: Ireland in the Autumn

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