Six travel tips to help you get more bang for your buck on a tiny budget

#1 Skip the fancy meals

If the place you are visiting is not known for its cuisine and you are not on a “foodie retreat”, skip the fancy meals. Find the local grocery store. Stock up on a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a plastic knife. This, along with the family sized box of granola bars and cheese and crackers you bought at home before you left, will save you money for one more museum entry or one more amazing souvenir photo.

#2 Skip the bottled water.

Going to a new place, even a civilized place, can cause concern regarding drinking the water. If you buy even one bottled water every day on a two week vacation it can remove a minimum of $45 from your vacation budget. In Ireland, $45 dollars got me a bus tour to the Ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula and admission to Blarney Castle. Instead, invest in an individual Brita filtered water bottle. You can pick one up from Amazon for fairly cheap and it will last far longer than the average trip.

#3 Go for the flight (of beer)

I love traveling and trying new beer. There are so many places in the world that have amazing little craft breweries popping up all over the place. You may see all of these beers that you have never heard of before and think “I must try them all. This place has four beers that I will never try again.” Stop. Before you order one beer right after another, and spend roughly $30-$45 trying all the beer that this one place has to offer, ask the bartender if they offer a sampler flight. Most craft breweries usually do whether it is advertised or not and you can try 3-5 of their beers for just over the price of one beer.

#4 Free walking tours

Almost every city, at least in most of Europe, offers a free walking tour. The key is finding it. Most hostels have the brocheurs and phamplets right up front so whether you are staying there or not you can access this information. Sometimes the free walking tours are even hosted by certain hostels, or local college students who are trying to earn a few dollars here and there in tips. There are plenty of amazing, expensive walking tours, but the free ones are gauranteed to have passionate tour guides, the same key stopping points and the tip (which, I mean, it was a free tour. The least you can do is tip your guide) will cost you way less than the paid walking tours plus that tip.

#5 Book Online or at the Official tourist office of the location

Many major points of interest offer discounts for booking tickets online. You can look into your major stopping points before leaving home or at all spots along the way with free WIFI. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin offers 10% off for booking online and another 10% off if you book an “early bird ticket” online which means you take the tour within the first two hours of opening. Also, the Official Tourist offices offer many discounts that are not in the printed literature and usually if you book more than one, the discount gets even better.

#6 The “True Traveler Discount”

I’m not positive this is a real thing, but I have received it more than once. I find that when I arrive in a new place, the first thing I do is hit up the tourism office. If I am loaded down with my backpack and all my gear, the person working the desk always seems to call the tour I am inquiring about and ask them if they offer the “True Traveler Discount.” Apparently all you have to do is ask. If I leave my things prior to heading to the tourism office, I have never once been offered the “True Traveler Discount.” It may not work every time, but it never hurts to try.

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