Unfortunately, not all of us have unlimited cash flows! But we don’t let the man bring us down, we embark upon budget travel. Budget travel is a great way for many of us to see the world. It can be easy to get carried away when we set foot in a new place, so I hope that these tips will help your money go further!
1) Think about what country/region you want to visit
It seems obvious but this is a big factor. The same amount of money is going to get you a lot further for a lot longer in a cheaper place. For example, Australia is an expensive country to travel through, but you could travel through South-East Asia for a fraction of the price. Bear this in mind when you know your budget and how long you wish to travel for.
2) Eat the local food
Of course there will be times when all you crave is a pizza! However, sticking to the local food the majority of the time will help your money go further. Local dishes are cheaper as they use local ingredients and nothing imported. Look for restaurants or shop fronts being visited by the locals and go for it! Dive right into the culture of a new country and eat as they do.
3) Stay in hostels/guesthouses
In most destinations, hostels are going to offer the cheapest option for accommodation. The hostel scene has gone through the roof, and most these days are of a decent standard. Many will allow you to stay right in the centre of where you are visiting, offer cheap food and drink and will provide an ideal place to meet new people. Win win.
4) Travel with a group or friend
If you decide to stay in a private room as opposed to a dorm, sharing with another traveller will cut the price in half. In some places this can even then be the same price each as a dorm bed! Even if you are travelling solo, you are likely to make friends and travel within a group along the way. If you are in a group, be sure to check out the prices of renting an apartment. This may well work out cheap between everyone.
5) Buy transport tickets yourself, not through an agent
This is going to be case of price over convenience. When purchasing travel tickets, be it for a flight, bus, train or ferry, going to the ticket office yourself instead of buying them from your hostel or a travel agent will be cheaper. Sometimes significantly. Hostels and travel agents found in tourist heavy areas charge a premium for the tickets, as this is how they make their money. In some countries you may be able to pre-buy tickets online, which can also work out cheaper. So if you can, skip the third party and buy them yourself!
6) Research things you can do for free
Many cities offer things to do for free. Walking tours are a free and great way to get to know a new place. Some museums are free, for example London offers free entry to many of its best museums. Many temples ask only for a small donation. Do your research and reap the financial reward.
7) Use public transport
Using buses or trains can be daunting in a country where you don’t speak the language, and especially in a large city which you don’t know that well. However, a little research will go a long way, and you will be happy with how cheap it can be compared to taxis. Look up where you want to go, where the stop is and what number route you need. Locals will be pleased to help you get off at the right spot. Be confident and go for it!
8) Travel off season
I know this won’t be possible for everyone, but if you are able to travel out of the high season then your bank account will thank you. A great option is to go during the ‘shoulder seasons’, which are generally found either side of the main tourist season. The weather will still be good, the large crowds will be gone and the prices for accommodation will drop. Can’t do better than that!
9) Travel to the less well known spots
Again this involves some research, but they can offer the same experience for a fraction of the price. For example, in Thailand the popular islands can be expensive by Asian standards, especially in high season. Instead of Koh Samui, try a less known island such as Koh Lipe or Koh Lanta. The islands are absolutely stunning, less built up and cheaper. When these places do eventually become part of the tourist trail (as unfortunately everything does), you will be happy to have got in there first!