Saving before you book your tickets and hop on a flight is only one-half of how to make a travel last longer. Once you’ve arrived at your destination it’s easy to forget that you might have a limited budget and splurging every day isn’t an option. At least not for most people. This is the difficult part, balancing saving and splurging on things you feel are important. Of course, you want to spend money when you travel, on good food or exciting experiences, but managing your money abroad is the key to long travels. So here are my best tips for how to save money while travelling!
First and foremost, make decisions and think over a few key points.
- Do you want a shorter trip and splurge more, or a longer one and save more?
- What do you want to spend money on, for example, is it good food or exciting experiences?
- Look at where you’re going, what is worth spending more money on? Is there a special restaurant you really want to visit, or an activity you really want to do? Prioritise that and save on other things.
The reality is that you can’t spend money on everything, if you want to do a lot of activities, maybe stay at a cheaper hotel and not eat in fancy restaurants. Or if food is your thing, spend money on restaurants but save on shopping etc. Find out what you don’t want to save money on, and then save on everything else.
Book hotels and hostels with breakfast included
A lost of places offer breakfast, it might not be the most glamorous one, bit it will do the trick! A lot of the time it’s cheaper to pay a smidge extra for accommodation if you get breakfast than eating out every day. Plus, it’s a great comfort not to have to worry about every morning. On the other hand, if breakfast isn’t available, find a market or a grocery store and get some bread or easy breakfast food to keep in you hostel or hotel! Oh, and eat a big breakfast! It’ll last you through the day so you can have a small lunch, then have a good and proper dinner!
Use public transportation, avoid taxis
In most places public transportation works great and is the best way to get around! Avoid taxis where possible as it will eat into your budget quite quickly. Of course, if you’re arriving in the middle of the night, or happen to be somewhere public transport might not be the safest option, take a taxi. Always choose safety over saving! Also, taking overnight trains and buses is a great way to save a nights accommodation!
Do your research
If there are things you want to splurge on, like tapas in Spain or pralines in Belgium, do some research and find where to get the best ones, so you’re not disappointed with your purchase. Better to buy a little more expensive one ones, than buying several cheaper ones in search for the perfect one. It will save you money and give you a better experience. Also, do some research on where to find cheap options, a lot of the time amazing food or fantastic experiences might not cost you that much, you just need to know where to find it!
Write down what you buy
A really boring point I know. But very effective! I learnt this from a girl I met in Guatemala, and been doing it ever since! She had a little notebook with her everywhere she went, and every time she spend money (and I mean every time! Even when it was just a pack of gum or a small snack) she would write it down. The price and what she bought. So she could keep track of where her money went. This is probably my best tip! It’s changed how I spend money and made it so much easier to save. I no longer buy as much “small spendings” (shit you don’t need and will forget you buy 10min later) and spend money on things I really want. It might take some time to get used to, but it’s a life saver when you need to hold your money!
When it comes to eating
Try vegetarian options once in a while, it’s much cheaper than meat and oh so delicious! Have a big breakfast and try markets or street food for lunch, it’s much cheaper than restaurants and a lot of the time the best food! Have a main course for dinner, find which restaurants you really want to try and spend money there, eating with the season can also save you tons of money, and so can adapting to the country. In some countries beer is cheaper than water, try local dishes, find where the locals eat and avoid the tourist areas!
Go slower in cheaper countries and faster in more expensive ones.
Prices vary a lot in different countries, so consider travelling through expensive ones faster and taking more time where it’s cheaper. Shop in the cheaper ones, spending money there will save you in more expensive places.
The power of the internet – use it!
Welcome to the digital age, there are tons of ways to get around the world cheap or even for free. Do you research, use Couchsurfing or similar things to save on accommodation, keep in touch with people you meet on your travels, maybe next time you can stay with them! WorkAway is a great way to get to know people, get some work experience and get free accommodation and if you actually want to do some work when you travel, google for places at your destination and offer to work in exchange for accommodation. This might require you to stay for longer but a lot of places offer non-paid internships, maybe do social media for a surf school in Costa Rica or teach English somewhere. It’s better to email directly to the place you’re interested in than going through big companies offering places for charity work! You might have to pay a fee as a donation, but it might still be cheaper than travelling on your own, and it could be a great experience!
Keep in mind to always choose safety over saving. It’s better to splurge on a better hotel or taxis if you’re in a dodgier area, especially if you’re travelling alone. See if hotels offer pick-up and drop off to the airport, and if you’re arriving in the middle of the night, maybe splurge for an airport hotel the first night.