The 5 Best Ways to Save While Exploring South America

So, you’re heading to beautiful and lovable South America. You’ve been planning this trip for months and with your departure date quickly approaching, you want to be sure your expenses are covered. Better yet, you’d like to save money where possible. The solution? Follow these travel tips to stretch your pesos while still traveling well:
Fried Plantains [Iquitos, Peru]

Eat local food. From savory stews to spicy empanadas, it’s easy to eat well in South America. Switch up higher-priced restaurant meals by enjoying freshly made bites at local markets and roadside carts. Not only is this a great way to eat cheap, but South American street food is famously delicious. Don’t miss pambazos (salsa-dipped potato and chorizo sandwiches), and melt-in-your-mouth almojábanas, otherwise known as cheese fritters.

Try alternative accommodations.
If your hotel isn’t already booked, consider alternative forms of lodging. Many hostels offer nice, private rooms, while online sites like AirBnB and RoomoRama allow you to rent a home or apartment for less than a comparable hotel room. If you do stay in an apartment, having access to a kitchen allows you to cook, thus saving money on eating out. Railroad Track through Aguas Calientes [Machu Picchu, Peru]
Shop locally. If looking for that one-of-a-kind souvenir, bypass hotel gift shops and Westernized shopping centers and head straight to local markets. Not only does shopping with the locals allow you to barter, but it can also help you find beautifully-handmade gifts.

Don’t be afraid to barter.
Unlike the United States and Europe, South America doesn’t offer a discount card or comprehensive travel pass. If you are a student, purchasing an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can save you money on local bus fare. Otherwise, whether planning a tour of the Galapagos Islands or Christ the Redeemer, don’t be afraid to barter with the guide. Doing so may save you money or extend your tour.

Double Decker Tourist Bus [Usuaia, Argentina]
Take local transportation. Walking is free wherever you go, so plan to bring comfortable shoes. For longer distances, such as getting across town, sidestep tourist buses and familiarize yourself with local transit. While getting from Point A to Point B may take longer, you can save considerably.

Curious on where to splurge when traveling? Check out 7 Worthwhile Travel Splurges.

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