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7 Genius Ways To Save Money While Traveling

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After 5 years of traveling full time, I got to discover new original ways to save money. I’m not going to give you the basic tips that every travel blog out there gives you! These 7 tricks are my own personal ways to save money while I’m living abroad or traveling the world. Don’t you dream of saving money while you travel? For me, that’s the ultimate goal! I love traveling, but I love saving money just as much. Here are my 7 genius ways to save money while traveling, especially if you’re on a Working Holiday Visa or traveling long-term:

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1. Get free stuff from your workplace

If you’re planning on traveling and working abroad, getting free stuff from your workplace is a fabulous way to avoid wasting your money. As you probably know, there is a lot of stuff that gets wasted every day. I’ve worked in many hotels, and every day I was throwing away brand new bottles of shampoo, perfectly good food and many more things that people buy and don’t use. This waste was making me sick, and whenever I could I would take all the stuff people had left behind.

READ: How I Spent Only $5000 In One Year Of Traveling

My boyfriend and I stayed in New Zealand for a year and worked there for a few months. In all this time we never paid for shampoos, shower gels, laundry powder, and dishwashing liquid. I also got to get a lot of free food from my workplace, as well as most of the gear we needed for our road trip in New Zealand – yes, people had left brand new camping gear !! Including tents, air mattresses, backpacks and more. Can you imagine? I have never counted how much money we’ve saved, but I’m pretty sure we’ve saved at least around $500 in total. Obviously, not all workplaces get you free stuff, but if you work in the hospitality industry and you’re allowed to take what’s found in the rooms, then do because you’ll save money and the planet!

2. Use social media wisely

I don’t really like facebook, but I was really surprised to notice how nice some people are on social media. Believe it or not, some people have a lot of junk in their house that they just dream of getting rid of. I don’t like to buy new things when I’m traveling simply because I know I won’t carry it with me the whole time. So I usually buy second hand or try to get it for free. And when I don’t need it anymore, I just give it to someone else. If you need something, little or small, it doesn’t hurt to ask on social media if someone has a second hand they want to give away. If you can’t have it for free, you can at least have it at a very discounted price. 

3. Sell or trade stuff that you don’t need

Let me tell you about another great facebook tool: the marketplace. Yes, I love the facebook marketplace, I’ve sold and traded so many things everywhere in the world with it! The more I travel, the less I want to carry. I don’t carry anything that I’m not going to use. If I’ve been carrying something for months and don’t use it, then that’s simple I’ll just sell or trade it online. I just recently got back to my mom’s house to visit and managed to sell a few things that I didn’t use anymore. My stay was pretty short, but let me tell you, those two weeks at home were very profitable! I made around $350 just selling old phones, bags, and clothes. I also use the marketplace a lot to sell my handmade jewelry. This is an excellent way to make myself known out there, so if you’re making something and want to sell it I totally recommend the marketplace. 

4. Learn the art of thrift shopping

One thing I love as well, Op Shops. Op Shops, or charity shops, are stores ran by a charitable organization to raise money. You can buy second-hand clothes, bags, books shoes and all sorts of things. I love Op Shops simply because you can find perfectly good clothes for $2 or $3. And sometimes you just don’t want to spend loads of money on clothes, especially when you’re traveling. For example, we are going to go to Canada, and it’s gonna be freezing cold so I’ll have to buy warm winter clothes, but I don’t want to carry them with me when I go to the Bahamas, right? So I’ll simply go to a thrift shop, buy my winter clothes and give them back when winter is over. We have bought many clothes in charity shops, and we’ve given clothes as well. I love the idea of recycling clothes instead of buying new ones all the time.

READ: Everything You Need To Know About Sustainable Travel

5. Sell or exchange book

I know you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. I love books, and I love to read but I don’t like paying for books. Instead, I make money from them. If you’ve traveled at least once, you’ve probably noticed that hostels and hotels always have loads of books that previous travelers left behind. Well, this is the exact reason why I never buy a book, and I never take one with me. I know I will find a free one at my destination, and you know what? Most of the time there are very good books, bestsellers and in every language you want. I also never buy travel guides, because again, I know I will find one in a hostel. We traveled New Zealand with a brand new 2017 Lonely Planet, all for free and I gave it to the person who bought our car.

Anyway, now you know how easy it is to get free books, but did you know you could also sell them to make money? We did that only a few times, and it was in Indonesia. But if you walk around any city in the world, you will quickly notice that there are second-hand bookstores that buy or exchange books. So when we were in Bali, we took our books (and a couple more from the hostel, whoops!) to the bookshop and sold them for a total of $10, which isn’t much but that’s enough to feed yourself for one day in Indonesia. That’s a small saving, but hey that’s still money saved.

6. Look out for everything on reduced to clear

When I go grocery shopping, I look for one thing: everything that’s marked “reduced to clear”. This is all the food that’s at a reduced price in the hope to sell fast. Usually, it’s food that is close to expiration date, but it’s still good to eat. You can usually get 30% to 50% discount on everything that’s marked at a reduced price. When we were in Australia, we figured out that the Coles near where we lived in Melbourne was putting a lot of products on reduced every Friday night before closing the shop. Needless to say that we were going shopping every Friday at 8pm. Same goes for the Queen Victoria market, still in Melbourne. If you go there just before they close down for the day, everything will be reduced simply because the farmers don’t want to take all their products home with them.

7. Buy a cheap car and sell it to a higher price

If you plan to go abroad for a year or 2 then you’ll probably have to buy a car to travel the country. We bought a cheap car when we first arrived in New Zealand, but we knew this wasn’t the kind of car we needed for road tripping the country. We bought this car very cheap and sold it $500 more than what we paid for. However, this trick is more likely to work if you have time to sell. It took us 2 months to sell the car at the price we wanted.

Here is another great trick if you’re backpacking and want to buy a car: the best thing to do is to buy your car in the winter because you can get a good car for very cheap since there are a lot of sellers but very few buyers. Sometimes, people are so desperate to sell before they leave the country that they sell a $3000 car for $1000 or $1500. So get yourself one of these cheap cars, and then sell it in the summer. When summer comes, there are many people looking for cars but only a few on the market. That’s why backpacker cars are a lot more expensive in the summer. This is the best way to make a great benefit on your car. This trick works in any country that has a lot of young travelers (Australia, New Zealand or Canada).

Also, believe it or not, you should join facebook backpacker groups because some people actually don’t manage to sell their car before they have to leave the country and just leave the car at the airport with the keys on it. So you could even get a free car! I’ve seen this happen in Australia more than once.

I hope you can use some of my original ways to save money on your next trip. Do you have other unexpected tricks to save money while traveling? Let me know in the comments below.

Please note: all prices in this post are in United States Dollars.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    January 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I do so much of this as well haha. I had exactly the same thing in Canada as you had in New Zealand – I worked in a hostel and never paid for shampoo, shower gel, got all our camping stuff for free, and I got a free summer’s reading from the book shelf! 🙂 My only regret was not buying a car in Australia, it would have made a huge difference!

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