Visit on free days

Many museums open their doors for free. Some do so once a week, others once a month. Many also don't bother to charge visitors who arrive 45 minutes before closing time, which can work very well if there are only one or two things you want to see.

Collect discount voucher books

When you arrive at an airport or train station, pick up the local tourist guides. Usually there will be a few pages of discount vouchers or cheap accommodation offers in the book. Work out which ones you might use and stock them away for when you need a cheap meal.

Take the commuter ferry - not the tourist boat

Waterside cities like Hong Kong, New York and Venice can be expensive if you want to get out on the water. But locals travel over the water all the time for a fraction of the price of a tourist boat. Join the commuter queue and get out on the water like a local: at the end of your trip you'll probably be in an interesting neighbourhood too!

Take a bike rather than a tourist bus

Sightseeing on foot is the cheapest way to get around, but in larger cities you can wear yourself out pretty quickly. A cheap alternative to a tourist bus is a bicycle. Paris has commuter bikes for rent across the city: you hire the bike at one station and return it to another when you reach your destination. The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries also have strong cycling cultures, so hit the streets like a local and see things on wheels!

Make your memberships work on the road

If you're a member of a local club, gallery or motoring organisation, check if they have overseas affiliates. Rail pass holders, credit card holders and student card holders can all get discounts, so make your memberships work overtime while you're away.

Buy a museum pass

If you want to spend more time trawling a city's museums, buy a museum pass that lets you see a whole range of monuments for an all-inclusive and discounted price. The other great thing about museum passes is that they sometimes let you jump queues at the entrance.

Free views

Looking at views from tall towers be an essential part of visiting some cities. But you don't need to always pay the exorbitant fees to visit a viewing platform. Some skyscrapers or observation towers have a restaurant or cafe on a floor near the viewing platform - and it's free to drink or eat, so grab a drink or a cup of coffee and enjoy the view while the losers queue for their expensive tickets below.

Standing room at the opera

In European cities you can often buy 'standing room' tickets to the ballet, Opera or theatre shows for a fraction of the cost of the sit-down version. Remember that you may have to line up to buy standing room tickets just before a show, so set aside time to arrive early at the theatre. Another option in large cities is the half-price ticket booth.

Read local newspapers for combination deals

Around the world, theatres team up with restaurants to sell combined dinner/show packages that can be cheaper than the tickets alone. Check out the local paper for this kind of offer rather than behaving like a newbie tourist! Another great place to look are entertainment street papers that list gigs in smaller theatres where entry is much cheaper than the larger places.