Travel hacks: see the sights on a budget

Travel Hacks: see the sights on a budget. Travel costs money. Lots of money.  Yet thanks to the digital revolution all sorts of hacks are making cheap travel a possibility for avid globetrotters.

These days you can rent rooms in private houses, work overseas, hire other people’s cars, or make money from your house while you’re away.  All at the touch of a smartphone button. Here are some tips for having cheap holidays, no matter where you’re going.

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Stay in private homes

Travel hacks see the sights on budget

Airbnb has made finding cheap accommodation anywhere in the world a breeze. In Buenos Aires, Argentina for example, it’s possible to rent a room in some of the best parts of town for a very reasonable price. A corresponding room in a hostel  might cost $40 to $60 for a couple. A nice apartment in the same city for a family of four costs from $60 a night, compared to over $100 and more likely several hundred for a family room in a three star hotel.

Rent out your own home while you’re away

Whether you’re going for a short or a long holiday away you could potentially rent your home out on Airbnb while you’re away. It’s pretty easy. But as with most sharing economy apps, you’ll need to build up a good reputation to get the best rentals.   The owner of a much revered designer home up the road from me moves the family’s clothing and personal effects to the garage when she goes away and rents the home for hundreds of dollars a night. For her, this is a great way to supplement her travel budget and the income could almost pay for a stay in cheaper countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. You’ll need to own your home because landlords don’t usually allow subletting.

Work overseas while you holiday

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Thanks to the Internet plenty of people can work overseas in their same role, from anywhere in the world. That sometimes makes it hard to holiday. But if you need money, doing this makes a lot of financial sense. A family I know moved lock stock and barrel to a holiday apartment in Bali for three months. The husband, a web developer, simply kept working from the family’s holiday apartment, enjoying the exotic location in the evenings and weekends. It’s also possible to offer your services via sharing economy apps such as Upwork.com.

Volunteer

Apps and the growing popularity of the sharing economy make it easy to work for your keep. Workaway and Wwoofing holidays are a great way to meet people and become part of the community rather than simply visit tourist sites. Typically you work a certain number of hours a day in return for accommodation and food.  It’s a win/win situation for both host and guests.

Hire cars from their owners

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More and more car owners are listing their wheels for rent on websites such as Turo.com, in the US, DriveMyCar.com.au in Australia, and YourDrive here in New Zealand.  If you’ve got someone to manage your listing you could rent your own car out while you’re away travelling.  In the US there’s even an app that allows you to drive to the airport and leave your car for rent rather than pay for parking. Or, when you’re away you can rent cars more cheaply through these sites than you might through regular car rental companies. Many countries have ride-sharing apps as well that allow you to either get from A to B cheaply or earn money giving rides to others in your rental car. BlaBlaCar.de in Germany is one such example.

Relocate cars

If you need to get from A to B over a shortish period of time you can often relocate a car or campervan for not much more than the cost of petrol. Hire car companies often need their vehicles moved from one location where they have an excess of vehicles to another where there’s a shortage.  Check out Transfercar.com.au and Imoova.com to get an idea.

Some smart travel apps

Travel apps aren’t all about making or saving money on holiday. Some are just, quite frankly, useful. Here are some of the ones I love:

Write about your experiences

Every man and his dog wants to be a travel writer. But if you have a talent or are taking a particularly unusual holiday you might be able to get paid for your work.  Consider becoming a video blogger. Some such as Sonia’s Travels or the VagaBrothers make a living from their YouTube channels.   Even if you only make beer money you’ll have an excellent record of your travels.

Packing Pro

This app spits out a packing list depending on where you’re going, the season and how long you’re going for.   It could save you the cost of excess baggage or help you squeeze everything into hand luggage.

WiFi Finder

You’ll need this to find wifi to use most of the apps mentioned in this article.  It will give you directions to find local free wifi.

Google Translate

Wherever you are in the world you can point your camera at a foreign word and find out the translation.

WhatsApp

After a day of attempting to speak the local lingo you might want to communicate with people back home.  WhatsApp enables that across a range of platforms, unless that’s old fashioned paper and pen of course.

Tipulator

This is an app for the numerically challenged.  It tells you how much to tip and also to split bills.

Perfect World Clock

Find out the time anywhere in the world.

Waze

This is an alternate GPS used all over the world.  Because other users feed data back to Waze you’ll be offered the quickest route at that time.

FourSquare

Get tips from others about the best places to visit from restaurants to churches.

XE Currency

So you’re travelling from Vietnam, or Mozambique.  Do you know how to change your Vietnamese đồng to Mozambican Meticais? Or you’re feeling mathematically challenged and want to know what that 4,412 Indian rupee carpet costs in New Zealand dollars use this app.

No matter where you go, make sure you take travel insurance and at least a couple of alternative forms of payment. And have a great time!

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