Want to save on traveling without having to sign up for a new credit card? You’ve probably read a million reviews on signing up for different credit cards to save on traveling. Here are 12 fantastic ways to travel hack without credit cards:
Look for underpriced Airbnb deals
Spend some time to scour Airbnb for awesome deals. As Airbnb has exploded in popularity, so has the number of people who are listing on the platform. This has created a massive influx of owners listing their property who want to increase their ratings. I’ve seen some new owners drastically underprice their property to build their score.
The trick is you don’t want to go with a property that has no ratings as that can be risky in terms of the quality you get. Aim for a property with at least a few ratings, and read to see if the ratings look legitimate. Message the owner if you find a good one, and see what their response time is like. Use your instincts on if it is a suitable property or not.
One time I stayed in Bali and rented an Airbnb that had twice the space of a hotel and was more beautiful, and was almost brand new for less than half the price of a hotel.
Couch surf travel hack
Hotels and accommodations eat up an enormous portion of your travel budget, sometimes over 50% of it per day. Imagine if you had a free couch to stay in virtually any city that you go to. Couchsurfing.com is the biggest and most well-known site that connects people around the globe who are looking for precisely that. Couch surfing is a great way to travel hack without credit cards.
I’ve met countless friends around the world who I still keep in touch with by using Couchsurfing, and have hosted my people as well. It’s a great way to stay somewhere for free and get to know a local. If you’re arriving in a city, it’s a great option to stay somewhere for a couple of nights to get a feel of the town and to plan out your next moves.
It’s not always just a couch you’re offered, sometimes I’ve stayed in really beautiful houses with my own room and bed.
If safety is a concern of yours, make sure you go with a highly rated Couchsurfing host that has hosted a large number of travelers. Read through the reviews carefully and see what the other travelers said.
Facebook Group travel hack
I avoid top-rated hotels, tours, and restaurants on Yelp and Tripadvisor like the plague. Anything top-rated on giant platforms like those almost always means it will be overpriced and overcrowded.
Instead, what you want is to find the up-and-coming establishments that aren’t super popular yet. The best way I’ve found is by joining Facebook groups. Most countries and cities have a group of expats living there, and chances are there is an active Facebook group where they share tips.
Before you go to a city, wouldn’t you like to know what the locals suggest to their friends? The locals are the ones who have an inside scoop on what the best deals are, the best places to stay, and the best value for all these things. You can ask about places to stay, eat, transportation, and tours.
People are always willing to help. It can be an excellent way to connect with people and see what events are going on also.
On Facebook, search for the city/country + expat/digital nomad. They are usually closed groups, but say that you are potentially moving there soon and they will let you join. Facebook groups are one of the best ways to travel hacks without credit cards.
Look for one-week deals on Airbnb or one month on Airbnb
If you change the search setting to Airbnb to one week or one month, you’ll see a lot of the properties will have a discount. Property owners want long term stays in their Airbnbs. I’ve seen discounts as high as 70% if you choose to stay for a month in a lower season.
Even if you book for a longer-term, if you don’t like it there or the property was misrepresented, you can ask the owner of the property that it wasn’t up to your standards and unless you cancel the remainder of your reservation, you would probably have to give it a bad review.
I recently stayed in a property in Ho Chi Minh, and the property was severely misrepresented. The washroom was in a separate room down the hallway, and there was no patio. I asked the owner if I could cancel the stay and she was ok with it. I gave her a couple of days of notice so she could find someone else.
Long term travel is cheaper per day than short term travel
If you have vacation time or can travel long term, try to aim for at least a week in one city. To get the benefits of traveling, it’s almost always better to stay long term. If you are only in a town for a couple of nights at a time, you’re probably going to be pay full price for hotels and eating out every meal. And always traveling around will cost a lot in transportation fees.
If you’re staying long term in a city, over a week is when you can start shopping for longer-term hotel deals. If you get a place with a kitchen, you can cook a few of your meals as well. You can rent a car or motorcycle for a week and explore on your own without having to find an expensive tour guide or taxi. You can travel hack without credit cards by keeping this rule in mind.
Join Facebook groups if you need to buy/sell/trade stuff
Sometimes while traveling, you might need to buy something unexpected. Luckily, there are Facebook groups set up with the sole purpose of buying, selling, and trading things with other people. Again, Facebook groups are one of the best ways to travel hack without credit cards.
Search for City + buy/sell/trade. If there is a group, join it and ask what you’re looking for or have.
One time when I was traveling, I lost my cell phone. I didn’t want to buy a brand new expensive phone. Instead of having to fumble around with a foreign language at a mall or market, I pulled up the local buy/sell/trade Facebook group and found several phones for sale. I messaged a few of them and met one 30 minutes later at a coffee shop to purchase a phone.
Problem solved, and at a much lower price than buying a new phone!
Don’t book everything at home
Often when you are booking flights from home, it can be a lot more expensive to book your entire trip through one provider. Before you go, check out what it would cost to instead book a flight to a central hub city inside of the country, then book another flight using a local carrier.
For example, if you’re going to Thailand and want to check out cities like Chiang Mai, if you book everything at home, it could be costly. Check out a site like Traveloka to see what it would cost to fly separately from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and compare the two. You probably would want to check out Bangkok anyways, so why not stay a few days to enjoy it.
Setup price alerts
If you know you have a large airline ticket to purchase, set an alert for the destination on Google Flights. You can find the sweet spot in a few months leading up to the departure.
Points, points, points, and more points!
There are so many points available to you, including frequent flyer miles, shopping points, dining points, and hotel rewards that sometimes it can be tough to keep track of. Luckily there are products such as apple wallet that will help you keep track of all the points, and even help you book things like flights and hotels directly from its platform.
If you have a property, Airbnb it for extra income
If your house or apartment will be sitting empty, you could try to list it on Airbnb during the time you will be traveling. If you live in a city where housing is expensive and travel in a place much cheaper, you might even save more money than you spend on housing.
Bid on Priceline
Priceline can be an excellent option for finding fantastic deals on hotels. Learn how to use the bidding system, if you’re not too picky about the exact location it gives you a general area where you are bidding. I’ve had luck scoring deals of up to 70% off regular prices for hotels.
Saving money for traveling doesn’t have to be a chore. You can have a lot of fun and meet people while saving. With so many awesome ways to save on travel, you should be excited to go out and test out all the methods now.