1. Go in the off season
Once, I happened to be in Avon, a town near Vail Ski Resort that relies heavily on ski tourism, in the middle of July. The place was empty and deserted, and while there was no skiing to be done, the mountains were still beautiful for hiking and relaxation. The best part, however, was that all the amenities were still just as good as they were during the ski season but usually at about half the price, including restaurants, hotel rooms, and spas. It was definitely worth the trip.
2. Go off the beaten path
It’s kind of shocking how many places in the world are so cheap compared to the US dollar. In Kalymnos, Greece, a Dodecanese Island, I found a beautiful AirBnB for with views out over the Aegean Sea and incredibly accommodating hosts who picked me up from the ferry dock when I arrived for incredibly cheap. Eastern Europe is generally much cheaper than the west. The Balkans (pictured above as people in Sarajevo wait for the cannon to signal the end of the Ramadan fast), especially, are incredibly cheap and just as if not more beautiful than Western Europe. Closer to home, and as a general tip, staying a little bit outside of the city center or further away from a tourist destination will allow you to explore a little more, meet more locals, and generally save you money.
3. Use newfangled apps
You’re a millennial – act like it! AirBnB is a great way to find really awesome accommodations just about anywhere in the world. People rent out castles, trailers, hammocks, and couches as well as entire houses for what is often much less than hotels charge in similar places. Couchsurfing, while not for the faint of heart, is a great way to find places to stay for free and meet cool local people. Skyscanner and Google Flights (pictured above) make it easy to compare flight times and prices, and have saved me quite a bit of money.
4. But don’t forget old-fashioned things too
Buses, ferries, and hitchhiking (only for the brave) are all tried and true ways to save money. Unhappy about how much flights cost? Check out all the options to get between cities. Especially abroad, buses can often be very cheap and widely used by locals to get between cities. Ferries are always fun (who doesn’t love boat rides?). Hitchhiking is like Couchsurfing: not for the faint of heart, and possibly only recommended for those who feel able to defend themselves. However, if you’re comfortable with hitchhiking, it’s a great way to get around for cheap.
5. Don’t forget outdoorsy things!
If you have the gear or friends willing to lend it to you camping and hiking are free and getting to good places to do it is usually pretty cheap (did someone say road trip?). Grab some friends to split gas with. A group of four is pretty ideal to split costs with, and this is a great way to relax and ideal for weekend trip.