Budget Travel: 5 Ways to Save Money & Live Like a Local

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jun 05, 2016 / 0 comments

You don't have to spend a fortune to travel! There are plenty of ways to save money - and live like a local - while traveling. You'll enjoy yourself, truly get a sense of place where you are, and save money, to boot!

Budget travel tips - 5 ways to save money and live like a local

1. Rent a home or apartment
Yes! Vacation rentals are a great way to save money. You'll pay less per night than a hotel, and have much more space. You might have a yard or balcony - perfect for picnics and playing outside (a double bonus, if you have kids).  Pick the blackberries in your backyard, as we did in Ireland. You'll have a kitchen, so you can cook your own food. And you'll probably have laundry facilities, so you don't need to pack as much (bonus: more room for things you buy).


blackberries in the yard of our rental home, County Kerry, Ireland

2. Shop the market
If you've got your own kitchen, you can shop the market like locals. Head there daily, and find fresh bread, meats, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. You'll soon find your own favorite vendors, get tips on what to buy (and how to cook it), and learn about local culture (and food). Pretty soon, you'll know your favorite cheeses, veggies, boulangerie, and cured meats. Picnic, anyone? YUM!

Kenmare market, Ireland

Kenmare market, Ireland

3. Integrate into the community
Learn about where you are! Besides learning about food and locals in the market, you can integrate into the community in other ways. Head to the library and talk to the librarians about local events (often free), best businesses to support, books to learn about the area, and more. Find your local cafe or pub and learn about the culture, people, and if you're lucky, local musicians! Shop the main street and talk with someone in all the stores you visit. You'll find out more local events, meet people, and learn about the community.

Shannon library, Ireland

Shannon library, Ireland

4. Take it slow
Don't jam pack your days with tourist attractions. Spend time outside, at parks, at the local markets and stores, soaking up the atmosphere. Skip stones in the river, sit at the beach watching the waves, take a hike along the trail, visit the temples, enjoy street food, find the festivals and stay and listen.   Watch the sunset.

Sunset, Lake Michigan

Sunset, Lake Michigan

5. Make friends
Beforehand, see if you can connect with people, via couchsurfing, forums for your particular interests (homeschooling? crafts? airplanes? music?) , or connections from friends. When you get there, you'll have an inside glimpse into your location. You'll learn so much, from politics to education, shopping finds to local artists, events to restaurants. There's nothing like having a cultural guide. In return, you can be a good friend, a window into another world, an interested listener - and be sure to buy them coffee or have them over for dinner. Better yet, host a potluck and invite everyone you've met, or meet at the beach for a bonfire and bbq. New friends, new food, good times.

watch the sunset, Lake Michigan

watching the sunset, Lake Michigan





All photos copyright Wandering Educators. Please do not use without permission.