Traveling abroad can be expensive, but there are many different ways to save money, and still enjoy the full experience of your new locale at the same time!
1. Go to Happy Hour! Have dinner or drinks earlier to take advantage of happy hour prices: in Santiago it’s usually not just one hour and it’s not always limited to drinks! Most happy hours run from 6pm-9pm but some are longer, like at the restaurant chain Mosai Café, which offers discounts on both food and drinks from 12pm-9pm every day. So pay close attention to the signs outside your local favorites.
2. Share meals. One visit to one of the local Fuentes de Soda (soda fountains), which are popular lunch spots specializing in sandwiches and fresh juices, and you will realize that portion sizes in Chile can be huge. For a cheaper meal, split one with a friend!
3. Visit free museums, or go to the ones you’re interested in on their free or discounted day of the week (if they have one). Check out the horarios y valores (hours and admission) section of most museum websites to find the information. Some like Central Cultural La Moneda offer even more options, with admission free every day until noon. In Santiago, many museums are free on Sundays and Holidays.
4. Follow a do-it-yourself free walking tour or download a walking tour app. You can enjoy your personalized tour without having to follow an exact route, or dealing with waiting or hurrying up for a group, and no one reminding you to tip them at the end.
5. Rent an departmento (apartment) rather than booking a hotel during your stay. Just look for “apart hotel” in your accommodation search. If you’re more adventurous, stay in one of the many hostels, as they’re also a good way to meet fellow travelers to explore the city with. Even more adventurous check out couchsurfing, where locals open up their homes to travelers.
6. Cook! If you’re staying somewhere with access to a kitchen, take advantage of the lower prices at the local produce markets and create your own culinary delights!
7. Learn Spanish, either through a book (if you’re good at studying by yourself), or do a language exchange. Get in touch with a local or two before your trip through a site like ConversationExchange.com. Then meet up with your new friend(s) to practice in person when you’re traveling in Chile. They will probably be excited to give you tours of their cities as well! If you prefer structured classes, sign up for a week or two of group classes at a school. They will be less expensive than private classes, and it’s another good way to meet people on your trip.
8. Use public transportation. Cabs are an easy way to get around, but so is the Metro and at a fraction of the cost. When planning your day, check out how Metro accessible your route is, or if you’re more adventurous, use the buses! An even cheaper option is walking, one of the best ways to get a feel for a city is to walk through it. So take a stroll and pay attention to the little things you miss while flying by in a car.
9. Rent a bike. For another low cost travel option with some exercise built in, explore Santiago by bike. The city is mainly flat and many of the parks along the Mapucho rio (river) have bike paths, which make it pretty easy to get around town. Ask at your accommodations for the nearest rental place.
10. Do you need to buy something on your trip? Look for discounts, lots of stores in Santiago have regular rebajas (sales) and their end of season discounts can often be 50% off or more. Don’t forget to check the back of the stores for a sales rack. Other options are to visit the outlet malls or check out the second hand stores, which often offer gently worn or sometimes new clothes for lower prices.
Note: This article was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question before planning your trip.
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