Before I started traveling lots I went on various blogs and read different articles about traveling on a budget. Whether you are traveling for one week or one year, the tips still end up being the same. I have not had a permanent address in nearly three years now so I consider myself a semi-expert on the subject. I wanted to share with you my favorite four budget travel tips that I myself use all the time. I’m also following them up with 3 little tips that I promise will make a difference.
I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned! Keep reading to find out…
Booking where you sleep
I think this has saved me the most money on my trips. Before I get started on what I’m about to share, know that I never stay in gross or dirty locations. I’m a reviews kinda gal. With that said, you don’t want to be in your room your entire trip anyways so I never waste my money on hotels…or expensive hotels. So, my first tip is to head over to Hostel World and check it out. What I love is that it shows you on a map where you would be staying, it shows you the price, reviews and everything it includes. HOSTELS? Yes, I said hostels. Let me go into more detail.
Depending what country you are in, I am SUCH A HUGE ADVOCATE OF THEM. I would have never thought I am. When I’m traveling long term I typically get a 4 bed female only dorm. The main reason is because there’s a better chance no snoring goes on at night since females don’t snore quite as often. The second reason is because it’s SO easy to meet people. About 70% of people in hostels are also solo travelers. Then only 30% are just with a friend of two. It’s so easy to meet people. Hostels will typically have a hang out room downstairs where you can also mingle.
You want to make sure you look at the reviews because some are party hostels and if you are looking for a good sleep, I would definitely go to another one. Hostels are also very safe. With that said, be smart, I always bring my valuables with me wherever I am on my trips. Hostels will also typically have private rooms available. So, if I need to get more work done, or I just need a little space from people, I simply book a private room inside of a hostel. It’s still way cheaper than a hotel and you can hang out with people downstairs whenever you feel like it.
Lastly, hostels will typically do your laundry for you for a small fee. That’s right, you hand them your dirty laundry and you pick it up the next morning smelling fresh and folded.
Plan a budget
Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter how long you’re traveling for, most of the tips that I’m giving you will be the same regardless of the length of your trip. If you are going for a certain about of time, look at exactly how much money you would feel comfortable spending the entire time. Once you have that number, divide it by how many days you are there. If that seems like a budget you will be able to stick to…make sure you stick to it! If you are traveling with someone you can even let them know of your daily budget. This will help you to plan where to stay, eat, activities, etc. If you are traveling long-term or even without an end date, look at how much you typically spend at home. How much can you spend without going into the red or how much will allow you to travel as long as you want. Once you have that number, it’s popular to simply take that amount of cash out every morning and simply use cash. That way you are never tempted to go over it.
Before you go, make sure that you have the best possible credit card or debit card from your bank. I use Chase and have been thrilled with the amount of money I save and can use towards future flights. (PS none of this is sponsored, I’m honestly telling you I use Chase.)
Let’s face it…being somewhere new is SO exciting. But guess what, the country that you are visiting typically knows this and wants to take advantage of it. Ask at the reception where the cheapest deal to find specific things that you are looking for. Also, make your way to where the locals hang out. For things like food and clothes, they will be a lot less expensive here. For activities, make sure that you shop around a little bit. In a lot of countries, especially if it’s a third world country, you will be able to negotiate the price.
My last piece of advice for this topic is if you are able to do the tourist “deal” by yourself. Of course sometimes you are not able to. But many times you can find a bus to catch and make your way there by yourself and then grab a one day tour once you are there. This not only cuts out any middleman costs but it also will be a lot cheaper overall. So that means at 5 day tour that includes everything, price out each thing and notice how much cheaper it is to book each individually. Chances are when you book them individually they will even stick you with the all included bus. See how easy that just was?
I travel primarily by myself. And I am a female. Safety is a big deal for me. I notice that I always have my whereabouts way more on trips. If you’re in a country that doesn’t show a lot of skin, don’t show a lot of skin. You’re probably already going to stand out a lot, don’t make yourself stand out even more.
Uber has been amazing for my travels. I find it way safer than a cab. If Uber is not available (which is rare), I feel a lot less confident that I will get ripped off and for my safety. Here is what I do (I’m not sure why I just started it the minute I started my solo travels). I flag down a cab and have the destination address in my GPS on my phone already. I look at the cab driver in the eyes and with a stern look show him my destination and show that my GPS is on. If I’m in a third world country I ALWAYS say how much will this be. That way they know you understand their currency and they can’t walk all over you. In most third world countries, you will also negotiate a cab ride. I’ve only had one issue in vietnam and forgot to do this. But that’s another story. However, it all could have been avoided if I asked the price upfront.
Also, if I’m headed to somewhere like the airport, I will go into the lobby of the hostel (sometimes a little bit early) and as people are checking out ask them if they are headed to the airport or where they are going. I’ve almost always found someone this way to split the cost with.
Here are a few additional quick tips for traveling affordably:
- If it’s a country where you can refill your water bottle, bring a few extras with you on your trip. Especially in places like europe, water cost really adds up!
- I bet all of your luggage fits in carry ons. Unless your traveling long term, you can probably get away with it. Find out the maximum carry on allowance and use it all. Some of the upcoming flights may be cheap but the baggage fees can be very extensive.
- I think that carry on toiletries are just there appear that they are saving you space. Have you looked up how big your carry on shampoo can actually be? It’s WAY larger than you realize. I always have my toiletries in my carry on and they are always way larger than the small sizes. This will help you from needing to constantly get new ones in the country you are traveling to.
I have so many more tips and promise to do another blog soon, but after thinking about my favorite tips over the past few days, these are them! Feel free to comment below which one you will try using OR your favorite one that I didn’t include.
Happy travels! 🙂