G and I are not luxury travelers. We’re not the types to lounge in 5-star hotels, get massages every day (unless we’re in budget-friendly Bali, of course!), or seek out expensive bars and restaurants. While there are some countries where we can afford the occasional stay in a nice hotel, most of the time we try to budget wherever we can.
Budgeting while travelling doesn’t need to be a difficult prospect. You’d be surprised at all the little ways you can save money while still enjoying a city/country to the fullest! If you’re looking for a few small ways to save, check out our 5 tips for budgeting while on the road:
1. Opt for Airbnbs over hotels
Okay, so most people from our generation are already on to this tip. It’s no secret that Airbnb can often be a lot more budget-friendly than staying in a hotel. But you can cut down on your Airbnb costs in a few simple ways too! We rarely book out entire flats for ourselves, most of the time when we travel we simply rent out a room in someone’s home. While this might mean having to share a bathroom and kitchen, it’s an excellent way to meet locals and see how they live. We’ve made some wonderful friends this way and believe firmly that the human element more than makes up for the small inconveniences.
Booking Airbnb hosts who don’t have a lot of reviews or are new to the site is also an excellent way to save a little money on room and board. While there is a certain amount of risk involved, it’s very rare to actually have a bad experience with a new host. Remember, they want you to enjoy your stay so you’ll leave them a good review and they can build up their profile. You save a little, they gain traction on Airbnb, it’s a win-win!
2. Opt for eating in and not out
Food is a huge part of travel and we always eat out a lot more than usual just because we love experiencing local cuisine. But this doesn’t mean you have to dine in restaurants for every meal of the day. When G and I travel we always carry packets of instant oatmeal and green tea sachets so we don’t end up eating breakfast out. It’s also not uncommon for us to shop at local stores and pick up things we can eat while walking around exploring. A baguette, cheese, and sundried tomatoes goes a long way and can serve as lunch for a couple days.
Most Airbnbs have kitchens which is yet another reason why they save you money when you travel. We’ve eaten countless dinners in while staying at Airbnbs abroad. Pasta and a bottle of wine is a lot cheaper this way—AND you can eat it while chilling out with some Netflix!
3. Opt for tracking your spending
It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending when you’re on the road. A dollar here, another there, and they all start to add up though! There are some great apps out there which can help you keep track of your spending. G and I use our Monzo cards when we travel so the app on our phone automatically updates us on how much we’re spending each day.
If you don’t want to use an app then it’s important to be disciplined about noting down your spending on a daily basis. Once you see in real numbers how much money is leaving your wallet, you’ll discover the areas where you can trim down and cut back. Do you really need to buy so many souvenirs? Or consume that many gelatos? Probably not! Seeing it on paper can really drive home the need to save where you can.
4. Opt for off-season travel
We love travelling during off-season because usually you can get more for less! Some destinations can be unappealing at certain times of the year (such as the Philippines during its typhoon period), so save those for high-season travel. Otherwise, aim for low or shoulder season whenever you can. For example, we’ll be taking a trip to Russia in April and since this is still low season everything from hotels to train tickets are a heck of a lot cheaper!
Not only is off-season less expensive, but you tend to avoid crowds which can make a journey more enjoyable. Granted, the weather might not always be in your favor, but there are ways to work around that if you’re keen to save money on travel!
5. Opt for free activities
While most tourist attractions do charge an entry fee, you can usually find a ton of free activities that still allow you to enjoy a new city. In Budapest you can join walking tours where you tip the tour guide at the end if you feel he/she did a great job. Walking is free and you can experience the sights and sounds of a foreign place on your own too without having to pay a dime.
Travel blogs are free to read and many of them can offer excellent low-cost (or free) itineraries. These days you can learn a lot about a new place without having to pay for the knowledge. We say, passing it on is the best thing you can do, so share what you’ve learned with other people planning to visit the same places!
What are some of the ways you save money when you travel? Share your tips and tricks with us!