There were plenty of times early on in my traveling life when not having the money to purchase the right gear held me back from amazing adventures. Thanks to today’s culture of crowdsourcing and consignment, finding the right gear at affordable prices is no longer a problem. Here are a few ways to get serious gear for your trips, which won’t break the bank.

Buying Off-Season or Second-Hand Goods

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From smartphones to hiking boots, a great way to save money on travel gear is to purchase last year’s model. Keep your eye out online on discount retailers like Backcountry and Sierra Trading Post, whose clearance bin deals always have something for your needs. Secondhand stores can also be a good place to find travel apparel or camping goods. I’ve found everything from luggage to climbing gear for up to 75% off by waiting for end-of-season clearance sales or purchasing from reputable second-hand shops. Check out sites like geartrade, which gives you a forum to search used travel and outdoor gear, and even trade your old stuff with others. Don’t forget to also check out good deals on community bulletin board (like Craigslist) and “garage sale” sites for reasonably priced items.

Renting Gear

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Another affordable option is to rent travel gear. One of the benefits of renting gear at your destination is that you don’t have to transport heavy or bulky equipment (bikes, canoes, golf clubs, etc.). This can be most useful when traveling abroad. I’ve rented everything from strollers (for my daughter) to surfboards (for my husband) while traveling overseas. Not only is it more affordable than buying the gear new, it also saved me a bundle on potential baggage costs to transport all of that gear on the airplane. All you have to do is browse sites like Ayoopa for some great gear at reasonable rental rates.

Crowdsourcing Locally and Globally

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The rise of crowdsourcing, especially in the context of travel, has made everything from finding accommodations to booking reservations at the hottest restaurant in town easier. As this involves everyone getting ideas, advice, and suggestions from friends and experts alike, it opens up a load of options in finding travel gear at home or abroad. There are numerous ways to go about crowdsourcing. One of my tried and true methods is to simply put out a call on social media to see if my friends have any of the things I need for an upcoming trip (skis, travel backpacks, etc.). More often than not, I find someone who is willing to let me use his or her gear for free (I take great care of it, bring back a thank you gift from my trip, and offer to return the favor in the future). Another way to find gear is to join an online forum or social media group dedicated to travel and inquire about where to borrow or rent travel gear before you leave or once you get to your destination.

Do you have other ideas for finding affordable travel gear? We’re all ears. Let us know in the comments section.

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About The Author

Jen Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing (www.luciditewriting.com) and Bouchard Design Co.