Making the Most Of Your Money When Travelling

We are not ultra hardcore budget travellers. That much should be obvious to anyone who reads our blog. But we do still have a budget and we do work hard every day to save money wherever we can, so we can stay away for longer. If you’re planning a trip, these are the top 5 things we recommend maximise your experience as well as your budget.

1) Record everything you spend

It seems obvious to set a budget but knowing whether you are sticking to it is the hard part. When I first went travelling, at the end of the day I only ever had a rough idea of what I had spent. And of course your brain always rounds down!

The only way I can stick to our budget on this trip is to record every purchase, whether it’s a lollipop or a plane ticket. It sounds boring but it needn’t take long. We use the excellent Trail Wallet app, but a notepad works too!

2) Keep your feet on the ground.

Except in extreme cases, it’s almost always far cheaper to use overland transport than to fly (assuming there isn’t a sea in the way!). The time saved by flying is often not that much once waiting and check in times are factored in and local buses and trains are always more of an experience.

The only way to really connect to the country you’re travelling in is to stay on the ground as much as you can. I’ve certainly seen a lot more interesting things from a bus window than a plane!

3) Never pay the asking price

In most of the world, if you’re buying something that doesn’t have a fixed price, and isn’t something you eat, if you don’t haggle you are throwing away money. You may save 5% or 50% but it is very rare that there is no wiggle room on any item or service. There are limits of course, don’t go to extremes over a few pence, but if you want your funds to last longer – haggle!

Sadly there are some vendors that are starting to realise that most tourists don’t bother, so refuse to budge on their (high) prices as they know someone else will buy – walk away from these people.

4) Eat the local food

It’s probably the most common tip given but judging by the omnipresent ‘western’ section on menus or packed backpacker eateries, it obviously can’t be stressed enough! Eating local food, at local restaurants will save you a ton of money, and will almost always get you delicious food cooked with passion.

At no point in 7+ months of travelling have we ever been refused food at a local restaurant. Sure the staff may be shy to serve you and a lot of pointing and misunderstanding may occur, but 99% of the time it turns out perfectly. But always remember to ask the price when you order!

5) Always carry cash

Credit and debit cards are useful travel companions but you absolutely must always have cold hard cash on you somewhere! If you need to use an ATM, use it when you see it, and draw out as much as you can. Many countries charge a hefty fee per transaction so it makes sense to pay it as few times as possible!

It’s also worth finding a card that is not going to charge you a hefty fee to withdraw overseas and has chip & pin technology. Credit Card Insider can help you find one.

Likewise, what if there is no ATM, or your card doesn’t work, or the power is out? Have some backup cash, preferably in US dollars that can be changed into local currency, and you will never have to worry. It’s certainly saved us a few times!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.