Money

9 tips for traveling the world without breaking the bank

It's more than possible to take your dream trip without breaking the bank — as long as you plan ahead and stick to a few basic guidelines.

To help you stretch your money on your next trip, CNBC rounded up nine money saving tips from experienced jet setters.

Here's how the experts keep it cheap on the road.

Take advantage of rewards and miles

"Air miles are the world's largest unofficial currency and act as both weapon and reward for the frequent traveler," says CEO Richard Moross, who travels internationally at least once a month. "I remain fiercely loyal to my airlines and hotels of choice to maximize comfort, speed, familiarity and long-term rewards on the road."

Rewards can go a long way. Brian Kelly, also known as "The Points Guy," travels the world full-time for next to nothing, thanks to rewards and miles.

Read more about how to pick the best rewards credit card and check out the best travel credit cards of 2017. Of course, if you're going to rack up points, you'll want to make sure you're using your card responsibly and able to pay off your balance in full every month.

Plan as far in advance as possible

Typically, the earlier you book flights, trains or hotels, the less you'll pay. So if you know for a fact you'll be traveling at a certain time, start booking.

Keep in mind that airlines will often charge you more than $100 to change your flight, so you do want to make sure your trip is set in stone before buying tickets.

Travel when others don't

Traveling during holidays and peak season is going to cost you more. If possible, plan your trips during the off-season, write travel bloggers Josh and Erin Bender, who have been traveling the world nonstop with their family since 2012: "Accommodation prices can be up to 50 percent lower during the low seasons, so the savings really add up."

Be flexible when booking flights

"You need to be flexible on dates to get the best prices," the Benders write. "While we were in Manila, I was keeping my eye on the local airline, Tiger. One day it popped up with a one-peso fare ($0.02) to Boracay. There was only one flight left for the fare and it was the following day. We took it. We ended up on one of the world's most beautiful islands."

Before booking flights, they like to search Skyscanner or Momondo, which both give you an idea of the cheapest days and months to fly. The sites will also send your email alerts to update you on the price of flights.

Do your research

When booking flights, start by checking all of the possible alternative routes. "If the flight has more than one leg, search the separate legs yourself," the Benders write. Breaking up a direct flight into two or more smaller flights has saved them up to $400 on one trip.

You'll also want to consider all of your airport options. "When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly into airports other than your final destination, and then take a train or bus," writes Matt Kepnes, travel blogger and author of "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day." "This is especially true during peak travel season or festivals."

Of course, you'll want to make sure the airport isn't too far out of the way and calculate whether or not the amount saved on the flight is worth the extra transport required.

"Air miles are the world's largest unofficial currency" -Richard Moross, CEO

Finally, do your research when it comes to accommodations. Taking the time to look up various options — hotels, Airbnbs or hostels — and compare costs can pay off.

If you have to book at the last second, "last-minute deals on Priceline or Hotwire can get you rooms over 60 percent off the normal price," says Kepnes. "You can bid for your rooms and, if you decide to do this, use the website Better Bidding to see what others have bid on recently so you don't overbid."

Food, snacks and chocolate milk for the day cost me $11
CNBC
Food, snacks and chocolate milk for the day cost me $11

Go where the locals go

To avoid overpriced tourist traps, act like a local.

"Locals don't eat out every night and neither should you," writes Kepnes. "Visit the local supermarket to see what the local palate is like and cook yourself a nice dinner. If you don't have a kitchen where you are staying, hit the markets and make yourself some sandwiches for a picnic in the park."

When you go out to eat, ask around for the best spots to get good, cheap eats. And when you want to splurge, "eat at expensive restaurants during lunch," recommends Kepnes. "Most restaurants offer lunch specials much cheaper than those on the normal dinner menu."

Get the tourism card

You can't act like a local at all times. Part of the reason to travel is to check out the attractions that are world-famous for a reason.

Before you do so, consider buying a tourism card, which most major cities offer. "Local tourism offices issue cards for all their attractions, tours, and some restaurants," Kepnes says. "This card gives you free entry or substantial discounts on all the attractions and tours in a city, free local public transportation (a huge plus), and discounts at a few restaurants."

Go where you know someone

Hotel and Airbnb bills can add up. You can eliminate that expense altogether by visiting a city where you know someone.

You'll want to give your host plenty of heads up and make sure they know they have a place to crash if they're ever in your city. It's also a good idea to bring a hostess gift, like a bottle of wine or nice box of chocolates.

Sweat the small stuff

Little expenses can add up. Particularly if you're traveling for a while, keep these money saving tips in mind:

  • Use a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, which can add up fast.
  • Pack a water bottle. If the tap water in the country you're visiting is drinkable, use that rather than spending $3 per bottle every time you're thirsty.
  • Skip the overpriced food and drinks at the airport. If you have a long flight or layover, pack protein bars and other snacks to tide you over.
  • Don't pay for internet access. Hunker down in places that offer free Wi-Fi, like Starbucks, other cafes or the library.
  • While you're connected to Wi-Fi, use that time to catch up on texts to avoid using, and paying for, international data.

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