How to Print Boarding Passes and Vouchers When Traveling
Ever find yourself needing to print something (like a ticket, voucher, or boarding pass) while traveling? While many places accept digital tickets and passes, unfortunately there are still many places that don’t. Since you probably don’t travel with a printer and neither do we, we’ve found a few ways to get physical, printed copies of what we need while traveling and on the go!
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Through years of traveling and tons of learning through others, we’ve compiled several tips and hacks to make traveling a bit easier!
Budget traveling is our style (although we prefer ‘value traveling’!). This means that we’re booking travel and activities in advance and online.
Many of the tourist attractions and experiences we book online allow us to show a digital ticket, so we just book and then show our phone at the venue.
Unfortunately though, not all places are set up for accepting digital tickets just yet. This means that even when you book online ahead of time, you have to somehow get a physical ticket. You can either print it or you can pick it up at a designated location. Unfortunately, if you can pick up your ticket at the location it usually incurs a surcharge, especially for travel arrangements on low cost airlines. An extra cost for picking up tickets kind of defeats the time and energy of going out of our way to find the best deal and save money!
So this leaves us with the need to print our tickets ourselves.
Our tool box is full of resources! From travel hacking to house sitting, digital nomad jobs to privacy and security, financially independent retire early (FI/RE) to entertainment, plus travel hacking (credit cards, miles, points, and rewards), and much much more…
One problem… We don’t pack a printer!
Faced with this dilemma, we’ve found several alternatives that allow you to print inexpensively or even for free.
The only thing you’ll need is a portable USB drive that has the document saved on it that you want to print. Remember, we're all about weight, size and volume, so we use a Samsung Micro Flash Drive, 128GB USB 3.0. It weighs about a quarter of an ounce and as Sergio says, "It's flippin' tiny".
Tip: Save the document as a portable document format (PDF). This format insures that it will be printed out the same way as you saw it on your screen. Plus, most computers can open this document type.
Don’t miss our Ultimate Gear and Packing Lists! Whether you’re traveling long-term or going on a short vacation, we'll show you how to travel with a single carry-on. We share our packing lists (his and hers!), packing tips, and our favorite gear. Plus, we discuss what we don’t carry and why!
Most cities, especially city centers will have at least one print shop that will charge you a per page cost to print. In the US, a common print shop would be FedEx Office or UPS store. We’ve been able to track down print shops abroad as well, like in Athens and Amsterdam.
The cost can range from $0.10 - $0.30 a page.
In the US we used the library as our main means of printing when we didn’t have a printer for a few months. It’s typically about 25-50% cheaper than a print shop. Although, that only translates to a few cents, so make sure you keep that in mind when weighing out your options.
Most chain hotels have a business center. If you're staying at the hotel they'll certainly give you access to the business center and printer. We stayed at a DoubleTree by Hilton in England and a Hampton Inn in Mexico and it was free and simple to print our boarding passes.
If you’re in a pinch, we would venture to guess that some hotels may be willing to extend the service if you inquire kindly, even if you're not a guest. In this case, it would likely be at a small cost.
The CouchSurfing website is more than just a place to find a somewhere to stay; it’s a community. There are opportunities to meet hosts and stay with people, but there are also meetups and get-togethers. You can meet people on the site and just go out to coffee or a meal. Introduce yourself to someone in the area and we’d venture to guess that they may help you out and print out your documents for you.
You can find just about anything on Craigslist. Post an ad under “Gigs” and someone close by is bound to respond and be willing to print your documents for you.
Most homes have a printer nowadays. When you’re staying in an Airbnb or are house sitting, just ask your host if you can print a couple of pages. Use our Airbnb link and get up to $40 off your first stay!
London, San Francisco, Paris, New York City, Athens and more?! Trusted Housesitters has allowed us to travel the world on a budget, but more importantly given us an opportunity to make new friends and have cute and cuddly companions along the way. Sign up and start your next great adventure!
Printing boarding passes, train tickets, and activity vouchers is no longer a problem. We get the less expensive tickets and avoid the companies' nickel and dime schemes to increase the total price.
We pay pennies to print them ourselves, and so far with so many options available we haven’t found ourselves unable to find a method or solution that works.