To help you get the most out of your trip, we have put together our top 10 hints and tips to travelling the globe on a budget. Here’s how you can get your money to stretch that bit further.
For this post we’re assuming that you’re backpacking across the globe and as such are laden with ground sheets, sleeping bags and one of those super-duper micro-tents. Generally camping is seen as less than glamorous (excluding the ‘Glamping’ revolution) but the traditional method will save you money on your accommodation needs. Simply Google a camp-site, reserve a pitch (if it’s peak season, you’ll have too) or just rock-up, get pitching and then head-off to the camp fire, roast a marshmallow or two and get singing, you know the drill.
2. “If you’re ever in the neighbourhood…?”
Remember when that tenuous friend of yours, you know the one – the friend of a friend of a friend – he said “…yeah and if you’re ever in the area you should drop in on us, we’ve got a sofa, blah, blah, blah” and then he mistakenly gave you his real address and telephone number. Well, now’s the time! Maybe your tent collapsed? Maybe the site was full? Maybe you just don’t fancy camping…well, now’s the time to smile, hug and start the reminiscing!
3. Sleep en-route – save money on accommodation by travelling while you nap. Don’t Stop.
Right, so far the tent’s broken and the reminiscing didn’t work…no matter, there’s always the night bus or the sleeper cabin on the train. If you’re done with whatever city you’re in, get a ticket and travel to your next destination over-night. The transport is usually cheaper; you’ll have a bed for the evening and make good use of your time too.
4. Purchase your food from the supermarkets – never in a restaurant
You want to get far and see lots, don’t you? Well, avoid the quaint cafes and the restaurants (no matter how low the star ratings might be) and make a bee-line for your nearest Lidl/Aldi equivalent. It doesn’t matter what it says on the packaging (most of the time), a photo of pineapples on a can or oranges on a carton will serve you well in choosing your meal of the day or days.
5. Drink water – reusable/refillable bottle
Many European and South American cities still have water fountains. The frugal traveller will remember that after he or she has over-paid for that first bottle of Evian to keep the bottle. Re-fil as and when is required and try to forget that it’s not mountain spring soaked natural goodness and is in fact perfectly fine regurgitated tap-water. For those with a swanky cantina a Britta filter or similar could be handy.
6. FREE days and beautiful FREE activities – parks/mountains, museums, etc.
Chances are you knew a little about where you were headed before you arrived and as such have planned what you really want to see. The problem is, the Eiffel Tower costs, the Coliseum costs and that wobbly Tower in Pisa…that costs too. However…some tourist sights have FREE Days. Not all, but if you can spare a few Euros and go online at an internet café (remember that you’re saving money here and didn’t bring your UK mobile – to avoid those roaming charges) you can Google when they’re open and free.
7. Track your spending and budget
OK, maybe you did bring your mobile. You’re Generation Z and can’t be without your mobile device after all. So, you downloaded your free apps before you left home and now your phone is loaded with helpful hint and tip programs and the occasional vibrantly coloured game. Use your budget tracking app or whatever it’s called. Each day add your spend and keep a close eye. Over-spending can mean the difference between travelling to another country or heading home early and back to work…no one wants that.
8. Ask for more – they can only say “No”
Some cultures provide free snacks - in Spain its Tapas. Order a drink, imbibe slowly and eat your way through a mountain of tasty, tiny treats…more often than not with olives. Referring back to your travel apps, this is one way to keep your spending low. If they run-out and you’re still hungry and you’ve been contemplating that last slurp of the local beer for an hour, don’t worry, the annoyed bartender can only say “No”.
9. Never change money at the airport
We may be biased here, but changing money
at the airport is a mistake! The rates are around 15% worse and often there’s a rather unwanted commission charge. Order the cash online or ask for it to be delivered. It’s easy and quick and when you’re busy testing that new tent prior to your journey, time is valuable.
10. GET Travel Insurance
It’s not expensive and could save you a bundle! For a moderately low charge, you can insure that all you personal belongings (including that new tablet you got for Christmas) are protected against theft and damage, you can rest assured that if you hurt yourself, you’ll be taken care of and if your holiday is cut short for any other reason, your insurer will do their very best to help. All for a few pounds…that’s a good deal.