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I used to book travels via agency all the time and used to stay at resorts and hotels. I had to compromise on few things to be able to do some of my last travels, as they were quite expensive, so I ended up camping and booking transports and activities myself and with locals. I really enjoyed doing that and I started to live the experience in a more authentic way. Could you suggest other ways of saving money when travelling?

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This question is very broad... a book can be written about how to travel cheap (in fact, many have). Try to narrow down your question and ask again (for example "what is a cheap way to get from Venice to Rome" or "where are cheap places to stay in the English countryside.") –  Joel Spolsky Jun 22 '11 at 2:09
    
cheap is relative. –  Rudy Gunawan Dec 8 '11 at 7:55
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closed as not constructive by Joel Spolsky Jun 22 '11 at 2:09

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3 Answers

I think couch surfing is still the defacto home stay site. I've used it before and it is very solid. The idea is free accommodations, whether it be a room or a couch. You can find beds from the USA to Mongolia. As far as food goes, stay away from restaurants and start going to the local markets. For instance, in Asia eat at the night markets that are in many cities.

It all really depends on how 'backpacker'-like you want to live. If you take a look at their methods, they can go for months on a few thousand dollars. However, most of us prefer a bit more luxury. That doesn't mean we can't learn a thing or two from them! I would recommend reading up a bit on some of the numerous Backpacking Starter Guides.

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I agree. Couchsurfing allows you to search by people who have been recommended or "vouched" for, or who have many positive reviews, so I've always felt safe using this site. –  Eri Jun 22 '11 at 1:30
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We have recently found a fantastic new way to save money on hotels. There is this site called AirBnB and instead of staying at a hotel, you can stay with a family who lives in the city you are traveling to. Not only do you save money on hotel costs, but the local family is able to help you find cheaper ways to do what you need (i.e. can tell you which bus is cheaper to take to your destination).

Also, different families may provide breakfast at no additional charge. And the hosts will even let you use their kitchen for cooking if you don't feel like eating out and some will even let you use their washer and dryer.

This is a fantastic service and we no longer stay in hotel rooms because this way is cheaper AND you get to meet fantastic people while traveling.

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A method of travel that is often ignored is work. There are plenty of opportunities to travel through work. There are also a lot of programs that target work-exchanges.

WWOOF - Work on a farm in exchange for room and board

There are things like AmeriCorps in the US and Katimavik in Canada, where you can volunteer and experience new locations for extended periods of time.

Couch Surfing has a large community of people offering / looking for a couch to stay on a few days.

If you are a student look for an educational exchange, if you are gonna pay for college, pay some more and go somewhere else.

Volunteering is an excellent way to experience a place in a new way while bettering your life skills.

Hope this is a good start...

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