5 Ways To Travel Cheaper

If you are reading my blog, there is high possibility that you want to travel and you would prefer traveling cheap (or maybe you are just member of my family who is reading my blog out of obligation). To the tell the truth I haven’t traveled that much. Of course the last two years I have been traveling more than most people but I still see myself as new member of this traveling and blogging scene.

Even then I have already learned a lot of ways to travel cheaper and had so many online conversations of how to travel cheap that I feel like this post was excepted some time soon. This is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. It mixes up two of my favorite things. Traveling and budgeting. I hope these few basic tips will help you!

 

5. Subscribe For Newsletters

travel_planning
Photos from Unsplash

Everyone is always complaining because I have about 2 000 unopened emails on my mailbox. How did that happen? Well, for me one of the ways to travel cheap is to find good deals from newsletters I get from different companies. I am subscribed to about twenty different newsletters from booking websites, airlines, cruises and hotel chains. I get a few messages from different companies every day but because the title usually tells if this mail will have something good I don’t even open most of them.

This is good way to travel cheap BUT your email will be big mess and you will have hard time to find anything. What we wouldn’t do to travel cheap? Good thing in this tip is that usually trough subscription emails you will get deals that you wouldn’t usually get and you will know about them before anyone else. Usually when you buy tickets anywhere they give you the option for subscripting for their own travel newsletter. Just click yes and give them your email. That’s what I do. (And maybe consider getting extra email just for easy way to get cheap travel deals.

 

4. Free Memberships & Collecting Points

airplane

If you have ever googled cheap ways to travel, you have probably heard about travel hacking and collecting points to get free flights. Yeah that’s great and I recommend it for everyone but it is also slow. Even if you don’t plan doing travel hacking to travel cheap, being member of airline is good idea. Firstly, you will be part of their email subscription list at the same time and get all the benefits mentioned above. However there is even more benefits being real member.

With the points you have collected you can also purchase cheaper flights, hotel rooms or holiday packages if you are not patient enough to wait until you have enough points for free flights. Best thing is that these memberships are free so you can just join to every possible club you find.

 

3. Coupons & Promotion Codes

travel_money

First time I truly used this method was for our family trip to Disneyland and Paris. Using coupons saved us a lot of travel money because there was a four of use. However even for solo travelers this is the way to travel cheap and save up some money. Every cent counts, right? Basically, almost all booking sites, hotels, airlines, etc. use promotion codes, discount codes and coupons. Usually you can take advantage of these sales adding short code when it is asked during your booking/checkout.

These codes are often shared on companies’ social media pages or newsletters but if you are not following all of them there is easier way for you to get the sweet deal. Just google company’s name coupon code and you will find different sites listing all kind of codes for specific sites. Then starts the fishing. Sometimes you have to try ten different codes before you can find the working one. However if you want to travel cheap and save travel money it will be worth it.

As additional tip, you can use this method for everything. For example tours booked trough internet and hop-on-hop-off bus companies usually have discount codes that are easily found by googling and can safe you a great amount of travel money.

 

2. Pick Out The Cheapest Travel Destination

money

I am of course all for achieving dreams from your bucket list but if you are broke that is not always possible. I use Skyscanner to this but there is a lot of sites like. Basically you can put to search your departure airport and as destination ‘anywhere’. Then you get list of all the places where you can fly and what are the cheapest options for you. Just decide some of the cheapest destinations (but also think about what you want to see/experience).

In addition if you are not chained to specific days use the option that let’s you see the cheapest travel prices for whole month/year. The just pick out the cheapest day to travel and the cheapest day to return and also the cheapest destination to go. For me this has been the way to travel cheap. For example next Monday I am flying to Bremen (it was the cheapest destination from Finland/40€) and from Bremen to London (it was the cheapest destination to travel from Bremen/15€).

 

1. Be Creative

ways to travel cheaper

Last but also the most important tip I can give for fellow broke travelers is being creative. No, this doesn’t mean making paintings and selling them for your to kind relatives (even if this is a good idea!). Creative way of finding cheap ways to travel means for me looking for options that are outside of the box. Taking plane, booking hotel and just going with it isn’t always the best option. I have talked about this before but I don’t think I can never mention it enough.

So, example? I live in Finland and if you are from here or have ever planned trip to Finland, you know how expensive it can be to fly anywhere. My go to plan? Take cheap cruise to Sweden and fly from there. I have saved a lot of travel money with this. Look for airports that are accessible by bus, ship or train for you. Are the flights from there cheaper? Is the sum of traveling to airport and then to your destination cheaper? Congratulations, you just saved money and found way to travel cheaper.

There is also other ways to be creative. Try bus travel and you may find surprisingly cheap deals anywhere (especially in Europe). Did you know that bus from London to Amsterdam costs only 20€? And from Amsterdam to Lyon 30€? If you are more adventurous try free accommodation like couchsurfing or free traveling by hitchhiking. There is endless amount of possibilities to travel cheap. You just have to find them.

 

Do you have any tips for cheap travel? Feel free to share them or any comments you have below!
With love,

Viivi Severina

14 Free Things To Do in Kyoto, Japan

For broke traveler like me Kyoto is heaven. However to find the free and cheap things under all the expensive ones can be tiresome. To safe you from this task here is my free tips to Kyoto. This free things to do in Kyoto, Japan list includes some of my favorite destinations in Japan and maybe in whole world. I even left some out of this list because I would talk endlessly about Kyoto. Still after almost two years I keep naming this city as my favorite travel destination.

(I will add some photos to this post later today or tomorrow… Sorry!)

14. Heian Shrine

White sand, bright red buildings and tourists with cameras. There is 600 yen admission fee to get in the garden but at least for me the free front area was enough. And you should not forget to walk a little farther away from the shrine to see the huge Torii gate and beautiful red bridge next to it. If you want to take photos without other tourists interrupting you, go just after the opening in 6 am. Because I am not morning person I almost visited this shrine too late. It closes already at 5 pm.

 

13. Kiyomizudera Temple

kiyomizu

The temple itself isn’t free but the area around it is enough to keep you occupied for a while. There is souvenir shops, free food samples, smaller temples, pagodas, old buildings and a lot of people. It’s easy to get lost here but you will definitely found something interesting on every alley. I recommend this for those wanting to free samples of local sweets because you can find those from almost all of the souvenir shops. Also if you are kpop, kdrama or Korean beauty product fan, there is interesting shops for you.

 

12. Nishiki Market

Maybe not place to do shopping if you are short of money but still forth of visiting. Nishiki market is street full of fish, sweet and food sellers. Some even have free samples. Opening hours depend on store but I recommend visiting either on morning between 9am to 11am or on afternoon between 2pm and 4pm. Most of the stores are open at that time and they have a lot of free samples. But if you are on budget and trying to find sales go just before closing time at 6pm.

 

11. Gion

gion

Have you ever dreamed of seeing Keishas and Maikos? At Gion it may be possible! It may be hard to spot them and requires some getting lost in smaller streets of Gion. However even lazier traveler may be able to see normal Japanese girls and boys wearing their kimonos. Just don’t be rude and ask before taking photo.

This is place to take pretty selfies and admire the architecture. If you are hungry -and out of money like me- just visit the shops on Shijo dori (from Kamo river to Yasaka shrine). There you can find free samples to try.

 

10. Philosopher’s Path

Beautiful walk starts from Ginkakuji and runs two kilometers along the river until Nanzenji neighborhood. Philosopher’s Path belongs to my free things to do in Kyoto list because it is one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto around the year. However I have two recommendations: spring and autumn… I visited during colorful fall and it was perfect. The trees surrounding this path are cherry trees so during spring and hanami this is perfect cherry blossom viewing spot.

This walk got its name because it is told that one of Japan’s most famous philosophers used to meditate and walk this path. Don’t settle for only walking! There is many pretty shops, cafes and restaurants that you can visit. Also many small temples and shrines welcome visitors.

 

9. Umekoji Park

Around Kyoto aquarium and Railway museum is located Umekoji park. Even if you don’t have money to those two attractions is just enjoying the park nice experience. When I visited there many locals were playing football and walking their dogs. Stop by to buy hot drink from vending machine and took small break from your day. This may not be the most interesting free attraction in Kyoto but good spot to relax for a while. Also the neighborhood around this park is beautiful. There is many small ponds and idyllic forest.

 

8. Nishi Honganji & Higashi Honganji

Honganji temple kyoto

Two huge (and free) temples in the center Kyoto. If you want to take look to older Japan and Buddhism, I recommend to visit these two. At some parts it’s prohibited to wear shoes so prepare pair that is easy to take off an put on. I didn’t want to include too many temples and shrines on this free things to do in Kyoto list but Nishi Honganji and Higashi Honganji are close to everything and easy to access. Also if I should recommend places for day trip in Kyoto, these two would be on my list.

 

7. Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace is free to visit and offers wide look to Japanese history. There is free English tours but you have to reserve place for one beforehand. A few years ago Imperial Palace was only accessed by guided tours that were hard to book but fortunately nowadays anyone can access the palace’s grounds. This makes it one of my favorite destinations in free things to do in Kyoto list. (I had so many problems booking that free tour during my Kyoto visit two years ago…)

In addition to the palace I recommend walking around the Imperial Park that has many smaller attractions. Also the neighborhood around park is interesting and has many things to see. For example river next to Horikawa Dori is worth of seeing.

 

6. Kamo River

free things to do in Kyoto

Join in the locals sitting on the bends of Kamo river. In Kyoto I lived right next to Kamo river so it has reserved its special spot in my heart. There is not many things to see when you first visit and you may even ask why would I include this normal river to my free things to do in Kyoto list. However if you sit down and look around, this is the best place to see local life and Kyoto’s true side. Fishers, families playing around, couples walking around, young adults drinking and having fun.

One of the best things is that Kamo river runs along the whole city and past some of the major attractions. You can walk from Fushimi Inari to Gion and back. If you have bike and time, try day trip out of the town. One man told me about his trip while I was staying in hostel and apparently if you follow the river you can see some amazing and beautiful Japanese views.

 

5. Arashiyama

free things to do in Kyoto

Arashiyama is huge area in west Kyoto. There is many things to see and most of them are free so it is good addition to our free things to do in Kyoto list. Firstly, just walking around the area is interesting experience. Remember to take good shoes because I totally destroyed mine here. Walk bends of the river towards the forest and you will see beautiful photographic spots. Not so many people go there but it is definitely worth it.

Then secondly be part of the tourist masses and visit souvenir shops you can find from the main street of this area. They have tasty free food samples. And thirdly go to bamboo forest (read below) and Kameyama Park. Kameyama Park is extremely beautiful during fall when you can admire the colorful mountains and river from its observation spots. It is accessible from Bamboo forest but not so many tourists visit here.

 

4. Bamboo Forest

bambooforest

This major attraction from Arashiyama deserves its own spot on my free things to do in Kyoto list. Why? It is one of the most popular destinations in Kyoto and maybe in whole Japan. If you have seen beautiful bamboo photos when looking up Japan, I bet those are taken in Kyoto’s Bamboo forest. If you want to have photos without huge tourist crowds, go super early. Also good tip is to walk and walk and walk. Most of the people just visit the beginning of this path in bamboo forest so if you walk more than them you will also find spot with not as many people.

 

3. Kyoto Station

happy_terrace_kyoto

Almost everyone visiting Kyoto will walk around station at some point. I recommend it as the place to start your trip whatever you are seeking for free things to do in Kyoto or want to use as much money as possible. It is a little hard to find but Kyoto station has tourist information with free maps, flyers and helpful staff members. It may sound touristy but there is no better place to start your trip.

When you walk up the stairs of station (often decorated with light show or other decorations) you will find observation deck that is often forgotten. This is good alternative for Kyoto Tower if you don’t want to spend money. If you want to see the station from high, find free Skyway path that walk above the station. Kyoto station has also three shopping malls and even if you don’t want to buy anything it is fun to just walk around. Also find food section and they usually serve free samples.

And the last but not least thing to see in Kyoto Station is just outside the front doors. Aqua Fantasy Musical Fountain Show has amazing name but it describes perfectly what this is about. Colorful lights, water and of course music amaze people on evenings.

 

2. Yasaka Shrine

Known also as Gion temple this shrine is next to Gion area and in the end of Shijo street. It’s big area with people constantly passing by. You can buy food and crafts from small stalls. One of the free and main shrines worth of visiting. At weekends you may see locals wearing pretty kimonos and visiting the shrine. Don’t just visit the main shrine but walk past it and wander around the whole area.

 

1. Fushimi Inari Taisha

Magical Forest Kyoto Torii

My ultimate favorite place in Kyoto, Japan and maybe whole world. I don’t even know why I have so utterly fallen in love with this mountain full of torii gates. It is perfect for everyone from photographers to travelers seeking for free adventure in Kyoto. Definitely one of the best free things to do in Kyoto.

Hike to the top and back requires good health (or many breaks) because it takes about two hours. Fortunately there is many break points and several vending machines. Just remember to take coins with you. In addition to admiring the red torii gates taking over all of the paths you should look for the amazing views to the city. Sunset from mount Inari is breathtaking. If you have more than enough time, try the not so popular paths and you may find secrets… For those interested I have written story from my trip to Fushimi Inari.

 

These were my favorite free things to do in Kyoto. Do you have any additional tips? Or maybe favorite places in Kyoto? All comments are welcome like always. Also if you are interested I wrote this short text about my home country Finland. Or if you are interested to read more about Kyoto, here is my top 10 things to do in Kyoto list.

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love

Viivi Severina