Its a simple fact that to travel anywhere and for any duration it is going to cost you money! Regardless of if you are staying in a 5 star hotel or a no star motel, eating out at the finest restaurants in the city or chowing down on a supermarket sandwich! Your choice of comfort whilst you are travelling and the amount you pay for it will determine how long you can spend in a place before you run out of money!
In this post I am going to tell you my top 5 tips for how to save money whilst travelling so you can do it for longer, but without compromising on enjoying yourself and having a good time!
#1 – Avoid the hotels and stop in hostels!
Besides being the perfect place to meet other people when you are travelling alone, a big plus of opting to stay in a hostel is that they are significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel. Although choosing a private room in a hostel would cost a bit more than a shared dorm room, many are still a much cheaper option when compared to a hotel room!
In some places that can also save you a fortune in other ways, for example; in New York you will find that you pay a rather excessive amount in taxes upon checking in, where with most hostels this is not the case! (Some of them even have free or cheap BBQ’s and meals but we will discuss this in #4)
One of my top recommendations for sites to use to book your next hostel stay is HostelWorld! Find your next place to stay here
#2 – Avoid private travel and use public transport (or better yet walk!)
Getting a private car, be it an airport shuttle or a taxi is definitely the most hassle free way of travelling from A to B when you don’t have your own means of transport, however it can drain your budget, especially when you are using it more than just once or twice a trip!
Pretty much every airport in the world has local transport to and from the airport terminal, be it a bus, train, or (in the case of Venice airport) boat! so be sure to make good use of it!
Most airport connections in Europe cost the equivalent to just a couple of Euros to get you from the arrivals area to the central part of a neighbouring town or city. Likewise when you are in a city, if you really need to use transport to get around then use the busses or trains!
To find out what your public transport options are from the airport and in the place you are staying, you can either research online before you travel or when you are on the ground you can either ask at an information desk in the airport or in a tourist office!
In addition to choosing public transportation to get around, if the distance isn’t to far, then just walk! You will also be able to see loads more this way too!
#3 – Buy food in supermarkets (and even cook in your hostel!)
Although when in a new place it is great to get out there and try local cuisine you will find in some expensive countries like Australia, New Zealand, the US and Western Europe it will be draining your funds if you do it the whole time you are there!
In some places like New York city a small meal and a beer can easily come up to $30 and thats without an expected tip! Instead check out the local supermarket! you can get fresh ingredients to make something in the communal kitchen area at your hostel or a lot of them sell ready pre-packed meals that are just ready to eat!
Although eating out is very cheap in Thailand anyway, the 7Eleven stores sell a variety of pre-packed foods that you can even heat up in the store! The stores have an area with things like Microwaves and hot water dispensers which you can just help yourself to!
#4 – Look out for bar crawls with offers/free bars!
If you are staying in a hostel (and one thats also in a city centre or an area with plenty of bars and clubs), its very likely that it will have events on throughout the week and definitely on the weekend! One that is more than likely to be going on is a bar crawl of some kind.
Ask at your hostel reception what is going on and what is included, you might find that one of the bar crawls is a small fee to join onto but you get a few included drinks thrown in… or a couple of shots along the crawl.
Alternatively if you are in a city centre that is a big tourist destination you may even find ticket touts on the street selling places on bar crawls, in Prague me and my friends joined a bar crawl that was being advertised literally just on the street! It was 500Czk (around £15) for a 5 hour crawl, it had an open bar for 2 hours at the first place and then at every place after that there was an included shot and drink at the bar! well worth the price we paid for it and if we had being doing the route on our own would have easily spent a lot more!
#5 – Swap organised tours for independent plans!
Group tours are a great way of travelling to unfamiliar countries and parts of the world, without the hassle and worry of getting lost or missing something, you also get to meet some great people and have a guide that is knowledgeable of the country and its history.
One thing to bare in mind with group tours is that because you are paying for a company to organise everything for you and arrange a guide, you will find that you if you were to price everything up that is in a tour itinerary as if you were to book it yourself the organised tour would be significantly more expensive, compared to the same tour that you have organised yourself.
There are a few reasons to this; the hassle free experience of travelling the area, the services of the guide that will accompany you on the way and the fact that the company that you have booked the tour with will need to make a profit to survive as a business.
One thing to potentially look at though, if you feel confident enough to travel to the potentially unfamiliar area by yourself is to look at the tour that the company is selling, find the detailed itinerary that goes with it, GAdventures have a PDF of each tour on their website that details day by day where it is you are going, things you have included when you are there or what you can opt to do and how you are getting there with what type of transport.
You can take the itinerary supplied by the tour group and book the accommodation and transport yourself either online or when you get there. Just don’t forget that you won’t have anyone to help you out there if you get into any difficulty, like you would if you have a guide!
There are some blockers on this tip in certain cases, for example; some countries require certain or all nationalities to have a guide at all times in order to visit so if you thinking of visiting North Korea, or you are an American or Brit visiting Iran then you have to go on an organised tour otherwise you can’t visit! But if you can visit somewhere without a guide or tour group then doing the route they are advertising will save you a small fortune!
I hope you have found these 5 tips useful and try them the next time you go away anywhere, remember if you can save on the stuff that you know you are going to need money on (where to sleep, food to eat and transport etc.) then you can enjoy what you have saved on the things that you actually travelled to the place to see! What are your money saving tips when you travel? Let me know in the comments below!