If you’ve stumbled across this post then I’m gonna guess you’ve Googled something alone the lines of ‘How to travel the world on a budget’ at least once in your lifetime. Ahh the formula that everyone wants to crack. We’ve probably all had travel experiences where half our bank account has left within a few days. Sure, eating at fancy restaurants, attending every event you lay your eyes on and shopping until you drop sounds good but is incredibly hard to maintain when travelling frequently. As a solo-traveller, I’ve put together the lowdown on how I am able to travel the world, income aside. By the end of this piece, you’ll pick-up budgeting tips which you can incorporate into your adventures, tried and tested by yours truly. Sound good? Keep reading…
Research The Things You Least Expect
If you want to wing a trip, be my guest. However, at least research transportation routes. Yes I know it’s probably the least exciting part about travel but I’ll let you in on something. You know those designated tourist buses which take you from the city to the airport? So many of them are more inflated versions of local buses or trains going the same way. One example is the tourist bus in Barcelona. 7 euros for a ticket to the airport when you can get a local bus to the same place for less than 2 euros? These things add up if you’re using specialist bus services to events or different cities, especially when you could use a multi-use travel pass for all of those journeys.
Skip The Accomodation
If it seems pointless to book a room for only a few hours sleep, head straight to the airport. If I arrive in the evening, it almost seems pointless to pay for a night’s accommodation when I won’t fully explore until morning. That’s why I’ll just wait at the airport until daylight. Every airport will have a section to crash for the night, even if it might not be the most comfortable place. Yes airports are almost always 24-hours but just make sure you sit in an area which doesn’t close before midnight, as once you’re settled the last thing you’ll want to do is get up at 11:55 pm to find another spot. For when you do get to your hotel, check out this post: Room Hacks Every Backpacker, Nomad & Solo-Traveller Needs To Know. Now.
Bulk-Buy Gifts From The Supermarket
It’s normal that you’ll want to get souvenirs for your loved ones when travelling but if you have a large list it can get costly very quickly. As I usually buy food as a souvenir, I found that getting gifts from local supermarkets was a game-changer. Not only are the prices lower than dainty little boutiques in tourist hotspots, there is almost always better quantity. What better way to bulk-buy gifts? One of my favourite things to do, in terms of gifts, is to purchase confectionery or spices to put together into a food hamper. If you get a little box or gift-bag and add some tissue paper, it will look real luxurious (even if it cost less than 10 euros). One thing’s for sure, the receiving end will be in for a treat (hehe). Who doesn’t like discovering new candy?
Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Free Walking Tours Or Events
These happen all the time. Honestly. If you download apps like ‘Eventbrite’ or ‘Cool Cousin’, you’ll be able to see a selection of free activities going on. The range is anything from free sports events, language classes or location tours. In these situations, hosts are often locals or tourists who want to connect with new people. Win win situation because you’ll probably pick up a buddy or two.
If you’re planning on heading to some paid activities, consider these points: Some places will accept discounts for people under a certain age, there may be days/times where the entry is cheaper, and you might find a two-day pass to be better value for money even if it’s initially more expensive upfront. The last point is almost always the case with theme parks.
Space Out Your Plans
Speaking of activities, it made sense to add this point here. If you’re anything like myself, you’ll want to do as much as you can on the first day of your trip. This is where the most money leaves my card as I’m in such a bubble and say yes to everything. Recently though, I’ve realised that when I space out my plans I end up saving more coins. Allow me to explain. You see, if I leave something until day 3 of my trip by the time that morning arrives, I’ve usually found a more affordable alternative. This also ties into the above paragraph, where I mentioned about how some days offer cheaper entry.
Separate Pocket For Coins And Notes
This was a little technique I learnt whilst on the road. Essentially, all you need to do is make sure you fully use up your coins before you head into the pocket with your card or notes. It encourages you to think about whether you really need to buy an item. Obviously treat yourself, I’m a huge fan of doing so, but do you really need an impulse buy which will break into a new 20 dollar bill?
Take Advantage Of Inclusive Breakfast
Stock up on pre-packaged snacks and fill up all your water bottles. Nobody will stop you from making yourself a bagel for lunch either. By making your own snacks and lunches, you’ll save a small amount of funds each day which will keep you going for another trip. It’s like a loop.
Earlier, I mentioned why regular supermarket trips on your travels needs to happen but remember to get some bits and pieces for yourself too. Think of it as fuel. You’ll be thankful when you’re half-way through your daily adventures and get a craving for something sweet. No more paying-5-euro-for-a-Kit Kat-from-a-tourist-stall over here!
Think of this post as little changes or tips that can be incorporated into future trips, or when you need to stretch your coins out. Once you combine a few of these together, you’ll notice the real difference they make when travelling the world.
Until then, see you in the next post!