So you are planning to go travelling, or maybe you already have taken the plunge and quit your job. You've worked hard to save up every penny you could, took on extra shifts at work, and sacrificed your weekends. Now, you would like to know how you can make your travel budget last as long as possible.
We have been on the road for some time now and we always try to stretch our travel budget as far as we can. Over time, we have figured out these great tips and picked up some great essential travel items that have saved us a ton of money.
In saying that, being on a travel budget and finding a balance between saving mode and enjoying ourselves is not always easy, but definitely possible. Stick to our tips below and you will travel longer while having an amazing time along the way.
Travel To Cheap Destinations
Your choice of destination will play a big role in how far you can stretch your travel budget, and for how long you can stay on the road. If you plan on travelling around Central Europe, you can be sure to go through your budget a lot quicker than in cheaper destinations like parts of South/Central America or Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations for travelling on a budget and also a great start for first-time travellers.
Book Cheap Accommodation
One of the expenses you will face daily while travelling is your accommodation. If you plan on staying in 3-5 star hotels, then you can kiss your travel budget goodbye. When booking accommodation always search for budget hostels, guesthouses and homestays, as these are a much cheaper option. If you are travelling solo, then a dorm room in a hostel will keep your costs lower than booking a private room.
The best thing about staying in cheap accommodation is that you don't only save money, you will also meet some amazing like-minded people, and maybe even a new travel buddy.
We normally stay in private rooms as there are two of us, and it usually works out a little cheaper than a dorm room for two.
Eat Where The Locals Eat
Oldie but a goldie. Eating at local restaurants or street vendors will not only save you a few dollars a day, but you are sure to find some of the best food in town. Don't worry about eating street food or at the smaller run down looking eateries. They all shop at the same local markets like the fancy restaurants. A place crowded with locals will guarantee that the food is tasty and safe to eat.
Find Accommodation With A Kitchen
Whenever possible, try to find accommodation with a kitchen. Being able to cook breakfast every morning, and a few meals a week can help to keep your travel budget low. We mostly save on breakfast. We find that simple eggs on toast cost a fraction of the price to cook yourself. Plus most hostels or accommodation will usually have a free food shelf.
On the shelf is mostly food left behind by other travellers containing the likes of salt, oil, rice or pasta. Combine these with a bit of meat or fresh veg from the local markets and you will have a very cheap meal.
Keep Alcohol To A Minimum
We love to have a drink or two as much as the next person. But alcohol can really eat into your travel budget. It is one of the biggest expenses you can have if you are not keeping track of your money. We have met people, and have been guilty ourselves of spending as much as two nights accommodation including food, for one night out. If not more in some countries. We are not saying don't enjoy yourself by having a drink because let's be honest, no great night out has ever started over a glass of milk. Just try to keep a good balance and pre-drink before a night on the town.
Travel At Night
Travelling during the day does have its advantages, giving you the chance to see the country and its landscape. Travelling by night is a better option though, saving you a nights accommodation. Depending on the country, you can either choose from a night bus, train or even a night boat. You might not get the perfect nights sleep, but those extra few dollars you save will add up.
Use Public Transport
Wherever we are in the world we always tend to use public transport whenever we can. It is the cheapest way to get around in a city and is pretty safe to use. Even in developing countries we never felt unsafe. So don't be afraid to pick public transport over taxis.
In cities like Bangkok, we have never paid more than 35 Baht/1$ for the bus. Bangkok even has free local transport on some of its older government buses. These buses are usually without air-con and still have a wooden floor, but you can't argue with free when on a travel budget.
Travel With A Heating Coil
If you are a coffee or tea lover than travelling with a heating coil will save you a nice little sum. This great travel gadget gives you boiling water within minutes. With a jar of coffee, it has saved us up to 215$ a month, just in Southeast Asia. Imagine your savings travelling through Central Europe or North America.
Not only can it be used for coffee or tea, it is also perfect for making oatmeal (porridge). Some coils can even boil eggs giving greater saving to your travel budget. We love this gadget and definitely recommend investing in one. You can get them for as little as 10$.
Travelling slowly has many benefits. With the main one saving you money on transport every few days, and you will figure out the cheapest restaurants to eat over time.
Staying in one place gives you a better opportunity to discover the insights of a destination instead of just ticking off the main places.
You can find great discounts on accommodation, depending on how long you plan to stay for. We recently stayed in Pai, Thailand for a month and spent only 750$. That is 375$ (12.50$ a day) each including our bungalow, food, and a bike rental.
Have A Daily Travel Budget And Keep Track Of It
At the beginning of your trip, it can be quite difficult to keep track of what you are spending. What we suggest doing is give yourself a travel budget and write down what you spent. This way you will see where you are spending money, and what your biggest expenses are. Some days you will go over your budget and on other days you will spend less, evening it out.
Don't be too strict on yourself though, go out and spoil yourself from time to time. Splash out on a nice room and treat yourself to a fancy dinner every now and then.
We know how hard it can be to stick to a travel budget and keep track of your savings. But if you are serious about long term travelling, then following these tips can save you thousands a year, allowing you to travel for longer.