3 Travel Hacks Save Money, Travel Tips to See the World

Sign up for Kate's newsletter and receive a free travel photos e‑book.Subscribe

General Travel Advice

3 Travel Hacks That Save Money

By  | 

Friends ask me how I travel so much? Or they ask, ‘What are your 3 Travel Hacks to Save Money?’ What I know is every little bit of savings helps, a lot. I do have ways to save time and money. My 3 Travel Hacks to Save Money are pretty simple, but they may help everyone go on more trips and vacations. First volunteer, second use reward programs, and thirdly share your expenses with friends (and I do mean friends). Nothing can end a friendship like a money argument. So, be careful who travels with you. Let’s start by looking at how the 3 travel hacks categories will help you travel more.

3 Travel Hacks to Save Money

The 3 Travel Hacks to save money are being a volunteer, use reward program, and share expenses. Sharing is caring. Let’s start by going through each one of these category three types of Travel Hacks to Save Money.


Volunteering one of my favorite things to do. I love to do volunteer work and projects.

I think if I give it helps me. Volunteering is an effort and a sacrifice. But, I always get to know some really nice new people! We seem to bond over the work.

Here is my group from my trip to Beliz for Calvery Chapel Eastside.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Hack 1 – Volunteer Travel

First, start by making a list of your favorite volunteer organizations. If I don’t have a favorite, I consider listing my favorite things to do. What are my Hobbies? Maybe you like to cook, sew or knit. Use your skills for others, volunteer your skills to support a mission, and do selfless volunteer work that puts you out of your comfort zone.

What are my Hobbies? Maybe you like to cook, sew or knit. Use your skills for others, volunteer your skills to support a mission, and do selfless volunteer work that puts you out of your comfort zone.

I like to cook, sew or knit. Use your skills for others, volunteer your skills to support a mission, and do selfless volunteer work that puts you out of your comfort zone.

I use my skills for others. Volunteering my skills can support a mission, being selfless volunteer work that puts me out of your comfort zone. It stretches me.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

My Volunteer Work

I volunteer for the food bank in my town and work in the market. For the Salvation Army, I cook in the kitchen because I love to cook. For Habitat for Humanity, I volunteer as a photographer to capture the volunteers’ building homes. Habitat uses the photos for fund raising.

Syrian People

On mission trips, my travel photography is used to capture the journey, trip reports, and for fund raising. Some of the mission trips are through my church, and other churches sponsor other mission trips. I have volunteered for Syrian refugees, Jordanian Non-government agencies (NGO) and the United Nations.

Volunteering for an NGO, was my most luxurious volunteer work. We stayed in a nice hotel every night. Some of the people who traveled with us were less than preferable. One photographer took some of my gear and refused to return it. Ignore bad situations, this happens. When it happens, move on before it escalates. It’s their issue and not worth the time to resolve or upset the trip.

Be polite, respectful, listen and cooperate. You can count on one thing for sure, “this too shall pass.”

Getting Hurt

I have fallen and gotten hurt on mission trips. Sometimes accidents just happen. I happened to hurt my knee by jumping off of the house we were building. I was only three feet off the ground.

Unfortunately, this is typical. Most people get injured from a short jump. Building a house in Belize can be challenging, hot, bug infested and in a swamp. But, I wasn’t doing this type of trip to be comfortable but to serve others who need my help.

Discomfort and lack of common comfort are a reality while volunteering on these kinds of trips.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Travel tip: ask what happens, when an injury happens. Ask who will be responsible to assist in getting someone home or to the doctor.

Travel tip: Buy travel insurance


In Turkey, I did business mentoring.

I always offer my travel photography service because I think it is important to capture the real moments.

To capture real life and the things that you see during the experience is the purpose of travel photography, and specific to mission photography.

The essence of this type of photography is hard for the photographer. For me, it’s exhausting too, because, to me, it feels like I see into the souls of the people. It is incredibly gratifying to volunteer as a Travel Photographer. I get more out of this type of volunteer work than the people who use my photos.

But, let people know if quiet time is needed after a shoot.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Choose a favorite Non-profit, Church Synagogue or Mosque. Look into opportunities to travel through organizations, it saves a bit of money, and it is for a good cause. Mission trips aren’t for everyone, the purpose of the trip and goals have to fit.

From my point of view, I prefer volunteering for Christian organizations. I have volunteered for the Episcopal diocese, Calvary Chapel, and the Catholic church. However, I volunteered for Muslim, Jewish, and NGOs also. They were all real experiences. Whatever you decide make sure you get the details and know who you are traveling with on the trip.


Every trip has some sightseeing. Volunteer trips won’t be all work but 90% of the time will be spent on projects for the organization.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money


Be aware that the food and accommodations may be different than a regular leisurely vacation.

Remember, ask about who about others joining the trip. I have found one nasty person can ruin a good trip and a good cause.

Also, another point to consider is the location. Consider if the place is dangerous, unclean, unhealthy and if it is too much of a challenge or is it an opportunity. I see some as challenges and others as opportunities.

These variables may be hard on the body, mind, and soul. I think about this before I go. Talk to people who have gone. Most importantly, interview the leader and ask if their leadership style fits.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Trip Planning

Think about all this before you volunteer. Before you go, talk to the organizers, the participants, and ask lots of questions. Ask about food safety, sleeping arrangements, and bathing. For example, on one trip I was on, we had cold showers, but, I didn’t mind at all because it was so hot. But, because we didn’t have a water heater, we couldn’t wash the dishes in hot water. some people got sick and some illness went through the group. These types of things happen when you are volunteering.

Hack 2 – Reward Program

The second way to save money and travel more or the second travel hack is to use reward programs. Airlines, car rental, and hotels all have reward programs. If you use these programs the world is a lot easier to see.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Reward Levels

I have two favorite Airlines and two favorite hotels. Booking my travel with them is a pleasure, and I try to book as much travel through them as possible. When I do this, I’m able to use my rewards number to book free upgrades, free rooms, airplane travel tips, and extras while traveling. When I reach certain status or milestones, I’m a bonus winner!

With status levels, I’m able to gain free perks or discounts. Reward programs are an excellent way to save money and Travel more by using rewards programs benefits. Some programs even offer discounts on cruises, travelers insurance, travelers auto insurance, and international travel tips. I might even be able to use my mileage program for a cheaper flight to my volunteer location. It’s sort of a double dip, double savings, and bonus.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Rewards Summary

Last, but not least, use reward programs to save money on booking flights, cruise, hotels and anything travel related (rental cars, tours, etc.) Reward programs are always changing, some rewards expire, so don’t lose the rewards, use the rewards. Use them or lose them or shop for the programs that don’t expire.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Hack 3 – Share Expenses

Last but not least, the third way to save money and travel more is to share your costs with a group of friends. Teamwork, sharing and combining expenses can offer big travel savings.

On my trip to Vietnam with my daughter, I met two ladies from Germany on the train to Sapa, Vietnam. I am going to take a cruise and a bike trip with my two new German friends very soon. We are taking a Princess Cruises. We are renting a car and staying as a group in some really nice hotel rooms.

Sharing Saves

Sharing with friends, helps me reduce the cost of the trip and to travel more. Plus, the added benefit is, I’ll be going with some wonderful women, who I totally enjoy. I expect to be constantly laughing while traveling with them.

Sharing travel with friends, the right friends, makes a trip fun.

The good news about these 3 travel hacks is they save money, travel more, meet more people and see the world.

3 Travel Hacks Save Money

Happy travels! Stay safe and travel with Common Sense and Respect for others.

Travel tip: Learn about the leader, the people participating and if you will get free time. Some people need me time, while other people need to be with people all the time. Try to know yourself and what you will need on the trip.

Travel Planning

Copyright © 2024 Capetown-Rio, Inc. USA. All rights reserved. Republishing is allowed only with written permission. All photography rights on this page belong to Capetown-Rio, Inc. and the author. Do you have a question, business proposal, or speaking opportunity? Please contact me here.

Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.