Things I WON’T do to save money on travel


Because we all have to draw the line somewhere.


I don’t consider myself high maintenance, but I do have a minimum comfort level and camping does not meet it. I’m fine with hostels and seedy motels (“How do you always find the most ghetto places?!” T complained to me when we went wandering around east Berlin in search of our hostel) but I’m just not a tenting person. On a scale of 1 to Major Pain In The Ass, setting up and packing down tents rates just above scrubbing the toilet for me.


First, the realities. I mainly travel with T, and nobody is going to stop to pick up someone who looks like him. I wouldn’t! Even our host in Munich, who’d been urging us to think about hitchhiking around Germany, demurred once we actually turned up and he met us in the flesh.

Even so, I don’t like uncertainty, and relying on passing cars to pick you up is about as uncertain as it gets in travel. (I remember waiting for ages one day for our Couchsurfing guests to arrive and wondering if they were going to turn up at all. Turned out they were at the mercy of hitching, and didn’t have a way to contact us to inform us.) Also not super keen on standing outside for potentially hours on end in any weather conditions to save some money.

Taking flights at crazy times

Super late flights may be a little cheaper, but that’s not the end of the story. There’s nothing worse than arriving  in a new city trying to find your way around in the dark! Public transport may not be running by the time you arrive, so you might have to take an expensive taxi, potentially negating any flight savings. In small establishments the front desk might close at 8pm. And it just screws up your schedule and body clock in general.

Where do you draw your boundaries?

29 thoughts on “Things I WON’T do to save money on travel

  • Reply Michelle September 2, 2014 at 08:04

    I went camping for the first time this year, and I love it! I think if you have the right equipment and it’s all high quality, then camping can actually be very comfortable and fun.

    I’ve never been hitchhiking, but Wes did it for the first time earlier this month. He went to Colorado with a friend and the only way back from the Colorado trail is to hitchhike back to your car. He said it was very easy, but I have heard that hitchhiking in Colorado is completely different from everywhere else.

    • Reply eemusings September 2, 2014 at 09:21

      /shrug I’ve been camping before. It’s just not my thing. I’m super picky about bathroom facilities.

      • Reply Michelle September 2, 2014 at 11:47

        Yeah, I was really nervous about the bathroom situation. We actually stayed on one campground that had a super nice bathroom though. There were chandeliers in it!

        • Reply eemusings September 2, 2014 at 12:14

          I have definitely never seen a bathroom ANYWHERE with chandeliers in it! Crazy.

  • Reply Daisy September 2, 2014 at 08:44

    This is funny – I’d do all of those things (save for maybe hitchhiking for safety’s sake) but I’m not so sure I’d participate in Couchsurfing. Maybe I would.. who knows. I like the idea of it, I just think it would be really awkward for me in practice.

    • Reply eemusings September 2, 2014 at 19:04

      In my experience (hitchiking as a picker upper rather than hitcher, Couchsurfing as BOTH surfer and host) hitchhiking has been way more awkward. Why? You’re going in totally blind.

      With Couchsurfing, you read each other’s profiles and see any feedback others have left about them. Surfers write personalised emails to request hosting (if their requests are generic crap, we’re not even going to consider them). Ever done Airbnb where you stay WITH the host in their home, rather than renting an empty place? It’s a lot like that.

  • Reply SP September 2, 2014 at 09:08

    I like camping, because then I at least know that my bed is clean. But I like camping for fun, it really doesn’t go well with “travel”. I’d likely never camp if my goal was to explore a new city or something. I camp to be close to nature, not to save on lodging.

    I’ve gotten a little more fussy about flight times, but I generally am willing to accept some odd times if it saves enough money.

    I like the idea of hitchhiking… but I just don’t think I’d ever do it.

  • Reply krantcents September 2, 2014 at 09:56

    I won’t travel coach on any flight longer than 5 hours. I know that sounds bad, but I find flying very uncomfortable. I only use frequent flier miles to travel business/first class.

    • Reply Kassandra @ More Than Just Money September 3, 2014 at 05:40

      I share the same attitude. It’s really about the comfort and I have long legs so sitting in coach for an overseas flight is not fun at all. I use rewards points for the business class seats when need be.

  • Reply Genie September 2, 2014 at 11:40

    I refuse to miss a meal to save money while traveling. I’m also hesitant to pack a lunch to save money. I want to sample the local food, not eat sandwiches that I could make at home. Mind you, I’ve never traveled for longer than 2 months at a time, maybe if I was traveling for a year, I’d be more reasonable about packed lunches. Since I take short-ish holidays rather than epic year-long adventures, I want to enjoy as much of the local food as possible.

    I would camp in NZ to get close to nature. I’ve hitch hiked in NZ when I was young and stupid. I wouldn’t fly at crazy times in NZ to save money, but I would overseas if the savings was significant.

    • Reply eemusings September 2, 2014 at 12:14

      Ohhhh yes. Never skimp on food to save money! SO unthinkable to me, this would never even occur to me as an option.

  • Reply Pauline September 2, 2014 at 12:09

    I have been camping in National Parks, and some remote place, like one time we camped on a beach in Baja California and were awaken by three whales right in front of us. For me it is worth the discomfort when you are in a spectacular place, say overlooking the sea or a mountain, and hotels with the same view would be $500+. But camping in the middle of nowhere just to save money has little benefits. We would do a hotel the night before, leave late, then camp at get a hotel early the next night, while using the bathroom at the restaurant for lunch.

  • Reply Tracey September 2, 2014 at 14:26

    With late flights you also have to figure out what to do with your bag. If you’re an ultra-light traveller with nothing but a 20L/5kg bag on your back, then no problem, but most of us have twice that (or more). Locker fees can really be exorbitant sometimes.

    I won’t take long bus rides to save money if there’s a decent flight or fast train available. I get terrible motion sickness so 12 hours cooped up in a bus is my idea of hell. 🙂

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank September 2, 2014 at 21:08

    Camping is one of the activities I always look forward to. Being with family or friends makes it really more fun. Having the right equipment helps camping life easier. Just think that every moment of you have will be fun and extraordinary. Don’t forget taking pictures and exploring the nature!

  • Reply Swan September 2, 2014 at 21:41

    I’d love to go on a camping trip – assuming I have the right gear – but not for more than a week. I’d never ever hitchhike!! I’d never book a very cheap hostel with horrible reviews or questionable hygiene, or one in a bad part of town… I’d never skimp on trying the local food… And no compromising on safety, as I usually travel solo. But other than that I’m quite flexible.

  • Reply Kassandra @ More Than Just Money September 3, 2014 at 05:41

    I’m sure to sound like a diva but I don’t enjoy camping (tents and sleeping bags), would not hitchhike in a million years and couch-surfing also doesn’t appeal to me – at all. I own who I am lol.

  • Reply Femme @ femmefrugality September 3, 2014 at 08:37

    I’m so opposed to hitch hiking, too. I like camping, though. And I’ll take a late night flight IF it arrives at my destination early morning. Leaving in the wee hours is just fine with me, just not arriving unless I’m on my way home.

  • Reply maria@moneyprinciple September 3, 2014 at 08:56

    Oh, I’m so with you on the whole camping thing. In fact I wrote an article for a site saying exactly why it never works for me and that it’s not even that much cheaper by the time I’ve paid for councelling and osteopath. Then a reader called me ‘moron’. Strange people these campers…

  • Reply MakintheBacon September 3, 2014 at 13:54

    I’ve done the camping thing while travelling and I find it makes me even more tired and cranky because I’ve had even less sleep than I did in a bed that wasn’t my own. I think camping is only good if you don’t have to pee in the middle of the night and you’re not a light sleeper like myself. Lol.

    After having a ton of stops during my flight from Toronto to Cusco, Peru, I am more than willing to pay for direct flights or flights with the least number of stops.

  • Reply Lauren September 3, 2014 at 14:16

    I would not hitchhike either. I’ve heard about too many scary serial killer encounters to ever want to catch a ride from a stranger! I’ve seen a lot of people doing it in Europe, but it’s just not for me.

  • Reply Debt and the Girl September 3, 2014 at 14:57

    I feel you on the crazy travel times. I checked out plane tickets and found out you could save like $30 if you left at 6 in the morning which means I would have to get up at like 2 in the morning. Not worth it for $30. I value my sleep more 🙂

  • Reply Kate @ Money Propeller September 4, 2014 at 16:59

    My father was a seaman before and when they need to join a ship in abroad, his flights are usually during at night because his company told him that night flights are cheaper than morning flights. There was an instance, when they arrived at one airport, they were totally scared because they had a hard time to find their way around in the dark!

  • Reply Barracudan September 5, 2014 at 06:28

    We actually started tenting/camping on a 2 week road trip to save money. Had so much fun and haven’t looked back since. Now we actually plan trips just for camping – the spectacular views have opened a slew of traveling options for us as National and State/Provincial parks are just as cool destinations for us like historic or fun cities.

    Late night flights – that is just a mindset thing I guess because the amount in savings can be huge and the inconvenience is just for one night. p.s. I don’t have major body clock issues when traveling across time zones so that probably helps.

    • Reply eemusings September 5, 2014 at 09:03

      Personally I’ve never seen huge savings on late night flights – for savings over $100 I might consider it but have only ever seen a difference of two digits rather than three.

  • Reply Amanda September 5, 2014 at 07:54

    I really like camping, but I don’t think it’s something I would want to do while traveling. It’s more of a weekend getaway for me than anything.
    I’ve also made the mistake of booking a 6am flight on more than one occasion, which means getting up at 4am. It is NOT fun, and it ruins your whole day. You don’t sleep on the plane like you think you will, and you’re too tired to do anything when you arrive.

  • Reply Fig September 5, 2014 at 08:54

    I’m with you! I actually like camping but I only do it on planned camping trips with everything I need to make it comfy. Just doing it to save money? Pass. And hitchiking? OMG so unsafe.

    In the past I took crazy plane times to save money but I’ve passed that time in my life. With a much more stable routine and desire for sleep I no longer do that.

  • Reply Myles Money September 6, 2014 at 09:46

    Hitch-hiking… I watch a lot of movies and if they’ve taught me anything, it’s don’t get into a car with a stranger and expect to get out alive. Alternatively, if you’re driving a car, don’t pick up a hitcher and expect to get out alive. Are you seeing a pattern here? My favourite would have to be The Hitcher with Rutger Hauer.

  • Reply Michelle September 6, 2014 at 14:22

    I would never hitchike. Even if I was desperate.

  • Reply Manda | musicalpoem September 7, 2014 at 01:05

    I wouldn’t hitchhike either. Safety reasons!! The crazy flight times I’m iffy about, but it always depends on the trip…

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