Jan 5, 2012

General tips and Creative ways to save money in Europe

I'm in Pamukkale, Turkey now. On my first night I shared the dorm with a Japanese man who'd been cycling around the world for 9 months beginning in Vietnam. He gave me some tips which I plan to action in Turkey:
1) Negotiate on everything
2) Consider Mosques as an option for a free night's accommodation. Last prayer's end 18:30ish and start 05:30ish. They are unlocked and secure.

I had forgotten I learnt the first tip for myself when getting my New Year's haircut. After finding a benchmark through my Hostel Host (10-12 Turkısh Lira) each barber I inquired at offered a price of 15tl. Exasperated, once I initiated a price of 10tl the next barber obliged. In Turkey, don't ask just say.

In that spirit I'd like to share other moneysaving tips I've found. Another type of list could include tips for sneaking into attractions and scamming free breakfasts but I won't be getting into that here (besides that's uncool dude). The tips will involve some sacrifice usually in the form of dignity - You want to save money right?!

Its a bummer having to pay for internet when you get it free intermittently at hostels. Before paying for the net its worth entertaining these free/cheaper options:
  1. Public libraries
    You may need to spend 5 minutes registering for a local library card and you're usage might be capped at an hour per day but the savings add up. The card doubles as a nifty souvenir too. If you're sımply after information, libraries offer quaint resource texts called 'books'.
  2. Universities
    Found in some classrooms and libraries, the savings don't end with free internet. Universities are great places to find attractive young people (beats NightClubs) and its a reliable place to find cheap food and beer.
    Depending on how ancient the city is, Institutes of learning are renowned for their architecture
  3. Tourist Information offices
    If they don't have the net for free, its only an inquiry away
  4. Couchsurfing
    Uh, its just like at home
  5. Apple Stores
    Found in the larger cities of the world, It handy as a hassle free home office
An element of resourcefulness always helps, you may sometimes find people haven't logged out of their terminals or find half used internet tickets. If hostels are bıg and faceless enough, you can always walk in and use their internet

1) Hitchhiking and Passenger side
Ultimately the cheapest option for traveling ıs Hitchhiking or finding driving running mates. Hitchhiking is largely a lifestyle choice and is inherently fraught with uncertainty. Its best to consult fellow travelers for their experience and consider tagging along with someone to ease you into the machinations of it. 'Hitch Wiki' is also great online resource.

2) Ride sharing and Car Pooling
Ride Sharing, 'Mit fahr gelegenheit' (German) or 'Covoiturage' (French) is a carpooling service where commuters unite to share the costs of travel. Drivers place bulletins on websites inviting travelers to occupy empty seats. Like CouchSurfing its also a utility for meeting people and having company for long journeys.

3) Trains: Group savings and student discounts
Some countries offer discounts for group journeys on Trains. In parts of Germany One ticket can cover up to 5 people, like Ridesharing travelers can save if people are open to pooling together to lighten the price burden. Mitfahrzentrale is an online resource to achieve this but approaching travelers around Train stations does the trick.

Some countries offer discounts when in the company of students. In parts of Germany, people traveling wıth students after 19:00 travel free. In the Netherlands traveling with students gives you 40% Korting (savings). Simply purchase your ticket with the student discount, when you board the train ask around to find students who don't mind if you sit with them to get the ancillary benefit. A handy way to meet people.

Final Note
You might be thinking that these tips involve a lot of shamelessness or work. If shamelessness is the barrier, 'necessity' is the best way to combat this. When you're short of money it almost comes second nature. It's much easier to haggle the price of something down €3-4 when you are literally €3 short. If you're thinking that it seems like too much effort to simply save a few dollars, the alternative is to put effort into getting a real job so you can afford to spend a few dollars. Then again you could just learn to live without the things you can't afford. Noone said it would be easy.

If you find the advice is commonsense, I welcome your comments and recommendations.

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