How to Visit Expensive Cities on a Tight Budget

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Modern-day cities are the central hubs of life. Places like New York, London and Sydney are filled with people and amazing sights, and manage to compact a lot of greatness into a relatively small area.

Unfortunately, cities are often the most expensive places to visit, so for the traveler on a tight budget they can prove to be a problem.

So what can you do if you want to visit an expensive city but only have a fraction of the budget of most other holiday makers?

Here are a few tips that can help you when it comes to seeing expensive cities on a tight budget:

Take a Day Trip

By staying out in the suburbs (or outside of the city centre, at least), you’ll be able to save a lot of money. Then, simply take the train into the centre and spend the day sightseeing.


Use the Shuttle Bus

If you’re flying into a city, it can be tempting to jump in a taxi straight from the airport and have it take you right to your hotel. Although this is a quick and easy way of doing things, it’s often expensive.

To save money, consider taking a shuttle bus from the airport for a fraction of the cost. These can take a while (as you’ll often be waiting until the bus is full before you leave), but seeing as how most airports run a shuttle bus service, they can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Alternatively, some airports have a train that will take you right into the middle of the nearby city. This again is often a lot cheaper than taking a taxi.

Avoid Taking Taxis

Didn’t I just say this? Yes, but what I mean is “avoid taking taxis around the city”. When sightseeing, why not walk? If you find yourself getting tired, take the bus or the subway as both will always be cheaper than a taxi.

Look for Package Deals

Sometimes, package deals can save you a lot of money. When visiting a city, try looking for deals which include the flight and the hotel along with airport pickup.

Booking all three together can be cheaper than paying individually for a flight, accommodation and a taxi from the airport.

Book Early or Late

In order to get a cheaper rate on flights/accommodation/etc, make sure to book well in advance (the earlier the better).

Alternatively, keep a look out for last-minute deals and be prepared to be flexible (as you may need to change your travel dates/times around slightly), as last-minute flights are often dirt-cheap.


Stick to Hostels

While I like staying in fancy hotels as much as the next person, Staying in hostels is almost always cheaper than staying in hotels.

Although the hotel room might have a TV room and a trouser press, are you really going to be using these things? If you’re visiting a city for a short break, the chances are you’ll be out and about most of the day (and the night), so all you really need is a bed to sleep in and a bathroom to wash yourself in.

If you don’t like the idea of sharing a dorm room ten hippy teenagers, fear not, as most hostels offer private rooms (usually with 2-4 beds).


I’ve written extensively about CouchSurfing already on this site. Basically, CouchSurfing allows you to stay in a city for free (accommodation-wise).

How does it work? You can reach out to people online (via the CouchSurfing website) requesting to stay on their spare couches. If they accept your request, they’ll let you stay at their place (for free) for the agreed period of time.

For more information, check out ‘What is CouchSurfing’ and ‘How to CouchSurf Like a Pro’.

Related posts:

  1. How to Find Budget Accommodation While Traveling
  2. The Best Cities in the World for Food Lovers

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