Yes, we all know how great, enlightening, inspiring blah blah travelling is, but none of that really matters if you can’t afford it! So, I have made this short guide to what I think is the best way to help your budget stretch when travelling no matter what size it is.
How much you are going to to have to budget depends on where you are going and what kind of a trip you want. If you expect to spend days in spas, eat in Michelin starred restaurants and shop in designer shops, you are going to need considerably more money than if you plan to spend your time hanging out in parks, grabbing food from street stalls and strictly sticking to window shopping.
I have therefore based this list on the kind of travelling I tend to do; mainly in Western European capital cities (so far, but I hope to travel more widely soon), eating in restaurants and going to bars in the evening and doing some tourist activities during the day, but without any glamour and with budgeting always firmly in mind.
Here are my tips on how to have a wonderful time on a modest budget:
Hostels Are Your Friends-
Repeat after me, there is nothing wrong with staying in a hostel. There are a wide variation of hostels out there and they are not how you imagine. From small hostels with opportunities to socialise with other travellers to large, modern hotel-like hostels with all the conveniences, you will find a hostel to suit your needs if you shop around.
Staying at a hostel is almost always exponentially cheaper than staying in a hotel and, if you plan on really enjoying the place you are in, your accommodation should just be somewhere to rest your head at night.
In terms of safety, just remember to be careful with storing your money and if you ever feel uncomfortable with room mates, let someone know.
Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise –
Learn how to prioritise; if you can’t afford to do everything there is to do, don’t try to. Decide on what things are most important to you and ensure that you include the cost of these in your daily budget. Then, any money that you have left over in your daily budget can be spent on other activities that are less of a priority for you.
Also, always remember that you will need money for mundane things like transport costs, luggage storage and emergency money supplies, so always budget for this!
The Best Things In Life Are Free –
Following on from the above point, no matter where you go, there will always be plenty of free or inexpensive things to do in order to save up money for more expensive treats. These can include exploring local markets, going on free walking tours (Sandemans are always great), using public transport to sight-see instead of expensive boat or bus tours, not eating around main tourist areas, visiting museums on days they are free or discounted and much more.
Eat Smart –
In order to afford a nice restaurant meal and drinks in the evenings, my friends and I normally sacrifice fancy breakfasts and lunches for something filling and inexpensive.
If you are staying in a hostel with a well equipped kitchen, utilise it by making sandwiches or pastas for lunches and buy cereal or whatever you prefer for breakfasts. Alternatively, pastries make a brilliant and tasty cheap breakfast and street stalls and bakeries are great for grabbing lunch food without eating into your budget.
Also, carry small snacks with you for on the go energy replenishment and start looking for a restaurants before you get too hungry and end up settling for the first low quality, high price establishment you come across.
Get All The Knowledge –
This is not such an obvious one, but you should try to utilise local knowledge.
Whether this is talking to the staff in your accommodation of choice, striking up a conversation with friendly waiting staff, asking for tips in a tourist information centre or even just talking to travellers who have been there a few days longer than you, this can really help you to stretch your budget further.
People with knowledge of the area will know where you can see free live music, get great food for little money, how to get into local attractions for less and where the most vibrant, non tourist oriented places are for a great day/night out.
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Please do leave comments to let me know what you thought as I would really appreciate the feedback.