When it comes to travel budgets, backpackers are the savviest of travellers. Sure, we want to stop off and see the main attractions, which can sometimes lighten our wallets. But we’re also totally down with digging into delicious street grub, riding public transport and taking a bed in a hostel. The cheaper option can also make your experience far more memorable. So if you’re planning a long trip or want to make your next holiday cheaper, here’s a few ideas on how to get more bang for your buck.
Do your homework.
Search the web, talk to others that have been to your chosen destination (within the past couple of years) and dig around the blogosphere.
Other sites / bloggers I’d recommend:
From there, break down your research into accommodation, food, excursions, transport and visas. From there, you can make realistic estimations that are based on more than just guesswork.
Plan your route.
The above sites will help. But by knowing where you’re going and how long you want to spend in one place, you’ll be able to figure out how much $ you want to spend. Subsequently, you can plan your activities, accommo etc around your route.
Skip the four stars.
Hotels are overrated! Want to save on the pennies, get decent ideas about what to do in the area and make new pals? Check into a hostel. Don’t let the low price put you off. If you’re travelling in South East Asia, for example, hostels can look and feel just like a comfortable hotel – except (see point above) you have more people to hang out with :).
Eat standing up.
Eating standing up can save you heaps… But not because a weird scheme exists where you get paid to stand and eat, but because you’re less likely to get a seat if you’re buying from street vendors. And eating from street vendors saves you heaps. Awaken your tastebuds at the same time as saving dollar bills – most authentic street markets will be bustling, meaning food will be fresh and it tastes awesome.
Talk to the locals.
Make conversation with locals and ask about what to do in the area. But be sure to also check prices against your hostel as excursions will be legitimate and there are many scam tours that exist.
Scan the sky.
Or just go on Skyscanner for cheap flights. If you’re flexible on dates, ensure you use the “flexible dates” option. This throws up cheapest days within the month you’ve selected. Additionally, you can gain a picture of the cheapest months to fly to a selected destination for the year.
Unsure of a destination? Select the option to go “anywhere”. It will give you a list of destinations to fly to in order of cheapest to dearest. Be mindful that this price won’t include baggage etc but also that Skyscanner show a far cheaper price on ‘flexible calendar’ options than what tends to be on the next page. Frustrating!
So, also make sure you flick through Momondo. Jetstar offers pretty reasonable flights in Asia / Australia and NZ and sometimes going direct to an airline’s website can be more cost effective. Essentially, cover all grounds before hitting purchase because it is possible to shave off a massive part of your holiday costs from getting the cost of your flights down.
Put down your beer googles.
Even in the cheapest of countries you can very easily piss your money up the wall by guzzling Singapore slingers every night. If you’re backpacking for a few months, laying off the booze for a few nights here and there can save you A LOT of money. And after all, you can drink ANYWHERE and get drunk ANYTIME.
Explore by foot.
Two of my favourite things about Asia are sitting in the back of a tuk tuk and taking it all in and the freedom of exploring by moped. But doing that every day costs. Plus, you sometimes miss hidden gems when you’re not on foot. So make your feet your mode of transport for the wee journeys.
These are just a few basic ideas, but hopefully thought starters for your next trip and can be applied to a short or long term hols.
Have you got any other top tips for cutting back on the spend? Drop me a comment – I’d love to hear from you.