Heading off to the big bad world of travelling will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Some head off for a month, some 6 months and some a year. Others get the travel bug and simply can’t stop. However, for many, they return hungry for more with little way of funding their desired adventures. Others run out of funds mid trip and are forced into returning home with a heavy heart and a light pocket – but there are ways to ensure you can go as far as you want for cheaper and even sometimes better. We take a look at the best ways to save when travelling.
1. Make friends
All too often, travellers from the western world head off travelling and “treat” themselves to guided tours. Whilst some are sure to be a real education, is it always worth the cost? Probably not. No one knows a town or a city like a local. Get introduced to local people and ask for tips, get advice and head out on your own – and if you’re fortunate enough, they may even offer to show you around. Show a keen interest and at least attempt the native language, this enthusiasm and respect is unlikely to go unnoticed.
2. Get in touch with technology first, and then call your loved ones
Don’t head off to travel without some kind of electronic device – it will serve you well in terms of spending. Rather than bothering with expensive pay phones or internet cafes, a simple smart phone will allow you the luxury of skype and Wi-Fi. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a Skype call; you can buy international calling allowances for one month for very little – view rates here.
3. Budgeting & bargains
The best travellers are the best budgeters; this is no secret. Research the country or countries you are visiting before you go, get the inside scoop and be prepared. Set a daily allowance and stick to it. Exchange rates should also be researched in order to ensure you are getting the most from your money. Bargain travelling is a must, search for your train tickets, your plane tickets and your bus tickets (this is also another important reason to invest in a reliable piece of technology). Check into hostels or look for cheap hotels rather than splashing out on the luxury of popular hotels.
Another important part of travelling cheap is being able to spot a bargain like a local. The best way to do this is find the local markets. An example of this is in Greece. I was recently staying in a hotel in Athens, that was surrounded by some amazing Greek markets. The Monastriaki flea market is a great place to pick up… pretty much anything and in terms of food, The Central Market is a must for local fresh produce and a chance to experience the local trade. Don’t be afraid to bargain for your buys, if you think something is overpriced and you wouldn’t pay for it at home, why pay for it because you are travelling? Markets are the best place to pick up a bargain and will also give you a great introduction to the locals.
(Source – PortzaAdventures.com)
4. Be a packing pro
It’s essential to only pack your essentials. Carrying around lots of luggage is both annoying and expensive. For most, it’s a task to narrow down belongings but travel is a different lifestyle that you must adapt to. Invest in a quality back pack, even if you are only planning on travelling for a short time. It’s less confining and surprisingly comfortable to travel with a back pack – and you’ll be amazed what you can fit into the space.
5. Be flexible
Often travellers set off with a very tight strategic approach to visiting their chosen country or countries. This is a good idea as you have created structure and that is one you can create a budget around, however – it doesn’t need to be totally rigid. Be prepared to adjust. You may want to see a certain place in high season but you could always wait a few months and get a bargain and pay a lot less for your accommodation. This way, you’ll avoid becoming a tourist and you’ll start to become a traveller.
The most successful travellers are friendly, well prepared and adaptable people who keep a tight eye on their finances and budget well. The key to be a great traveller on the cheap for longer is to become a traveller and avoid being a tourist. It’s not a holiday; it’s a lifestyle choice that you have chosen for a certain time – so make it worthwhile.