I'm a single guy with a low income. I also travel a moderate amount. This means that when I go places I need to reduce the cost as much as possible. I know a lot of nerds, like me, who'll go to great lengths to save every last possible penny, but as I age I'm beginning to realize that my time and effort have more value than they used to.
Traveling costs basically boil down to gas, accommodations, and food (in general decreasing order of cost, at least in my case).
best way to save money on traveling
The #1 best way to save on traveling is to plan ahead and be flexible. Don't get caught up with a lot of amenities or thinking that things that are "nice to have" are actually "must haves."
getting a good gas price
Further, traveling is usually about efficiency. I need to get from point A to point B without a lot of struggle. I don't waste my time with a bunch of random gas apps. It's really a mostly random process similar to the problem described in this video:
What I gleaned from this video is that simply keeping track of the lowest gas prices as I drive and picking one that seems relatively low at the time I need to fill up is actually the best way to get a reasonably low gas price.
One simple trick is to search for gas that's not right off the interstate. Instead, go a little way into town,
finding cheap accommodations
Having great friends who'll keep you in every city you visit is the ideal situation. If that fails, I've had good experiences with booking.com for finding hotels. I'm not saying it's the best, but it's definitely good enough and gives me the search tools I need. Airbnb is the next stop when I search. I put in the cheapest/best hotel price as the limit in the Airbnb search and have always found something cheaper and better there. It may just be in someone's spare bedroom, so check the reviews to make sure you like the accommodations!
the right food for the right price
Never get fast food. There are no benefits. Less than zero benefits. It's extremely expensive, nutritionally suicidal, and really not worth it.
Instead of going through the drive-through and eating on the freeway (which is dangerous anyway) stop at a grocery store and get what you need there (or bring it from the groceries you already have at home)! I like to get apples, tortillas, peanut butter, and bananas on short trips. For longer trips bring a little cooler and stock it with tortillas, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, lunch meat, and whatever other condiments you want to make wraps for the road (they're easier to eat than sandwiches if you're going to drive and eat).
Be reasonable and flexible. Don't split pennies on gas – just find a decent price when you need it.
Hotels and Airbnbs can be very good and very cheap if you search online ahead of time and carefully read the reviews.
Never get fast food: best to bring your own from home or the grocery store. I like solid fruits and wraps because they're easy to eat.
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