“I WANT TO TRAVEL BUT DON’T HAVE MONEY! ” This is the fundamental difference between slurping spaghetti in Rome, glass of wine in hand VS watching Julia Roberts do it on Netflix, while you sigh in desperation and imagine that it was your life. We’ve all been there. This is why I spent an embarrassing amount of time scouting the Internet, putting together this handy list of apps to minimize the cost of your travels. Check it out:
SKYSCANNER – the ONLY place you should be booking tickets from. THE ONLY. Why I emphasize it so much? Because having traveled frequently for 6 years now, I’ve never ever found a website that gives better rates than these guys. Forget Priceline, Expedia, Student Universe. This is hands down the best place to look.
TIP: #1 Enter your airport and leave the “To” field blank. That way you’re searching for the cheapest destinations in the world.
#2 Leave the “Depart” field blank. That way it automatically puts you in “Flexible” and shows the best prices. After all, if you’re not in a rush do you really care if you fly on Monday or Tuesday?
ROME 2 RIO – traveling for less money is like hacking a well-guarded system, where you’ll often mix & match the steps of your route. Why is travel so expensive anyway? Considering the all time low prices of crude oil and the wonders technology can do, the only reason for travel to still be expensive is luxury. If you’re reading this, then I’m sure that eating slightly=less dehydrated chicken in first class on the way to your backpacking trip in Malaysia is not at the top of your priority list. Travel can be very cheap. The only downside is that it won’t be as convenient as possible. This app will map out the most affordable route to get your to your final destination by bus, plain, train or boat.
AIR BNB – I threw my hands in disbelief when a friend I was traveling with 2 months ago told me he’d never heard of this. WTF. Anyhow, instead of booking a $300 + night at the Fairmont in LA only to sleep in a nice bed for 6 hours, go for a guest room in a local’s house in your city of choice. My friend and I spent a total of $210 for 3 whole nights in a swanky, James Bond-themed loft in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Air Bnb is the sh*t.
REVOLUT – Money. Conversion. Decimal points. F*ck that. I used to work in banking and know how tedious dealing with these things can be. Do yourself a favor and download Revolut. This online service lets you convert currencies (dollar to pound to euro). This app is currently good for Europe, but is expected to expand globally soon.
PAYPAL – on the same note: use this online wallet to keep your money safe and move it easily. If you’ve got an account at a major US bank and they find out you move to another country permanently, they’ll close your account/ credit cards and mail you a check for your current balance. “Good luck getting your check in Bali,” my bank supervisor smirked when I asked him what to do about my finances. So here’s what I did: moved my money to PayPal, where I can easily do transfers to pay bills whenever I have to. For purchases which require a credit card, I recommend anything that has “travel rewards.” Bank of America and Capital One are just two of many banks which offer this card. Using a travel card abroad saves you the additional ATM charge (around 3% on your purchase) and gives you points which you can redeem for flights and hotels.
BLABLA CAR – love this one. You know how Uber works, right? This is the same idea, but for long distance. When I traveled from Barcelona to Valencia, I spent close to 60 euros on train tickets. The second time I did this trip, I used BlaBlaCar it cost me only 30. Boom. 50 % less. *Facepalm* Bud Dee, is that safe?? Yes, it is. It’s not hitchhiking, since you can browse drivers’ profiles through the app and see their reviews + number of seats that they have available. Besides, riding in a car is much faster than the bus and train anyway.