Traveling on a budget

Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold – Bob Marley

When it comes to traveling, I have learned several tips and tricks and thought it may come in handy for others that are roaming around the globe. Some struggles I’ve found that keep many from following their traveling dreams is either the cost of flights, or the cost to travel around in another country…or both.  So, can you travel on a budget? Everyone’s travel budget will vary, but here are several ways you go about traveling around at a lower cost.

Accommodation: That which includes everything from food and water to housing can be pretty close to free.  Hostels may be considered budget travel in most parts of the world, but you can always do better.

  • Couch surf – I cannot speak highly enough of this wonderful community. You make amazing new friends, who are also locals to the new cities you are visiting and they can show you around or give you great suggestions for the area so that you can see their world through the eyes of a local. You should always be a considerate guest though. Always clean up after yourself, offer to do some chores (you are staying for free ya know?), buy some groceries if you are staying for more than several days, perhaps buy your host a little thank you gift or cook them dinner depending on your experience and how long they hosted you. It is all give and take, they are taking care of you, so you should take care of them…that’s what friends are for.
  • Camp for free. Campsites at caravan parks are in abundance in most places around the globe, but added features and amenities can tack on approximately $5 -20 per night depending on the country. Check out the locations where you can camp for free (if you can handle getting that close to nature), especially if you’re already renting a campervan.

Transport Tips: Finding others to travel with you is the easiest way to save your travel budget.

  • Rent a campervan or a car together and split the cost several ways.
  • Foreigners in any country with a railway system can purchase from an assortment of rail passes.
    Since I am currently in Australia I’ll share the Australian rail passes that provide unlimited travel for 3 or 6 months (also including the long-distance trains) and save heaps of money on transport by doing so.
  • Look for budget flights – If you are going for a long period of time to multiple countries, an around-the-world ticket may be a good option for you. If not, use comparison sites like www.kayak.com, www.webjet.com, www.skyscanner.net, www.skyscanner.com

Food Tips: Depending on the country, groceries can be quite expensive, but regardless of how much it is, eating in will always save you money (unless you’re in Asia, then just eat from the food carts/stands on the side of the road. They are usually just as good as the 4 star restaurants) Beverages are where you will save the most money.

  • Unlike the States, Free refills are a rare thing to come across, so think about whether you really want that second Coke with lunch or not. At around $3.50 each (in Europe & Australia), you will find your lunch bill has practically doubled with these extras.
  • Opt for tap water where you can. Australian water is considered clean and safe, and it will save you around $3-4 each. If you’re in a country with water that isn’t the best for drinking, purchase the SteriPEN Classic Water Purifier from REI to take with you.
  • Alcohol is can taxed quite highly is some countries, so prices are through the roof. In Sydney, you will be lucky to get a pint at a pub for $5 (usually in the $8+ range), and a 6-pack from the bottle shop might even run you $16. Cocktails are usually in the teens — $17 is not uncommon.
    If you must get your drink on, backpacker bars will have the best deals (always bring a student ID if possible) some including cheap grub…or if you are really desperate you can always buy some alcohol from the grocery store and bring it in your own container, discreetly of course…. For the ladies, a Redneck Wine Glass and for the guys, a beer belly bladderstudent drinksBeverages are where you can save money (photo by lachlanhardy)

Tour Tips:

  • Seek out group discounts for organized tours if you can round up a group of travelers from your hostel.
  • Last-minute deals are the best way to go. Sometimes you can just show up to the place that is conducting the tour/activity and say I want  this tour and you get it for half the price of what it’d normally cost had you purchased through a tour group/travel agency (cut out the middle man)
  • Search around. The same tour might cost one thing from the provider and another from a hostel that also helps to book tours. You never know what you might save if you spend a few extra minutes looking around.
  • Go off-season. Heading to resort areas during winter could open the door for lower priced tours.

Work Tips:

  • If you have the ability to get a working holiday (or work and holiday) visa, then that is going to be the best way to combat the high cost of travel. If you can get a job and earn wages, that will tremendously help you go further in travel.
  • You can even work while you go, picking up odd jobs here and there to keep you on the road.

Hope this is helpful to some of you. If you have any additional information that you’d like tips & tricks on please let me know in the comment box below 🙂

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Traveling on a budget « The Traveling Gypsy | Discount Travel Tips
  2. Trackback: I took the road less traveled… « The Traveling Gypsy
  3. Kiara
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 12:45:36

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