When you travel as much as these top travel bloggers do you need to learn to budget your travel money. They haven’t managed to see as much of the world as they have by staying at fancy hotels, buying expensive meals and spunking the cash on souvenirs.
Read on to find out exactly how they manage to spend as little as possible to keep them travelling for longer.
Catch night buses
“Travelling on a night bus not only saves you the money you would have spent on accommodation, it saves you time as well. Even in the developing world, night buses are surprisingly comfortable. Most have large, reclining chairs, air con and movies (albeit in another language!). I even took one in Argentina that had a game of bingo, with a bottle of Shiraz as the prize! Often, you will arrive in your next destination early in the morning, which also means you can bag the best hostel deals in the area before the good-value rooms get booked up.”
Make a realistic budget
“Saving dollar on the road is always difficult – it’s a balance of enjoyment and outlay so you need to find a happy medium. If you can try and book a couple of your big trips (like a dive course or skydive) open dates before you leave, that way you know how much cash you have to spend. I also tend to take out my weekly budget in a single hit and only put my daily limit in my wallet. Anything left over rolls onto the next day!
Also I’m loving the app Trail Wallet which allows you to easily track your budget and what is sucking up all your funds. When it comes to countries like Oz and NZ cooking in hostels is the way forward. Organise a group meal… not only does it cut your costs down but it’s a great way to meet people and be heaps social too.
One of the biggest budget busters is time. My advice to people is that it’s always better to shorten your trip so your budget per day is more realistic. It’s better to travel well and enjoy yourself than simply travel for travels sake – I’ve met heaps of miserable people in hostels who are simply existing to be on the road longer – they can’t go out and are living on noodles… that isn’t a good way to travel!
Eight months of comfortable, fun travel is far better than 12 months where you spend the last 4 struggling to survive!”
Share a room
“It’s incredible how easy you say ‘wanna share a room?’ when travelling to people you hardly know, but somehow when backpacking it is totally acceptable and the perfect way to save a few dollars. A lot of South East Asian countries don’t have many hostels, but instead small beach huts and cheap hotels, so it is always cheaper to share a room with one or two others. I shared rooms with loads of people I had known for only a few days or even hours to save money. Generally you get a sense of whether you can trust someone pretty quickly and well if anything turns sour you can always move to another hotel. Sharing rooms comes with the added benefit of bonding with people quickly too and often making friends for life.”
Think about your overall budget
“My tip for budgeting on the road is to always have the bigger financial picture in mind. Say, for example, that you’ve set a budget of $100 per day for a 30-day trip, but went crazy on the ninth day and spent $300 – $200 over. It might seem disastrous at the time, but when you look at it, you’ve got 20 days left to compensate for your $200 overage, which amounts to just $10 per day you need to cut, i.e. skipping a cocktail or walking instead of taking a taxi. You can go over or under a few days, sometimes significantly so if your trip is longer. What’s important is that you maintain an average.”
Book in advance
“In almost any country around the world, booking your train tickets in advance is key to getting cheaper train travel. In the UK, you can book up to three months in advance and the same is true in many European countries and in India. Often, if you are travelling in more far-flung destinations, the way to go is to masquerade as a local, or find a local who can do this for you. In India, if you book a ticket through a local email address with a local mobile phone number, you have access to advanced fares it would be tricky to get otherwise. In Bangkok if you can ‘be a local’ the reduction can be pretty huge.
Another way is by watching out for train seat sales. From Eurostar to VIA Rail – most train operators have sales at some point. While booking everything through a third party site like voyages-sncf.com can make the booking process smoother – it might be wiser to book the Eurostar leg of a journey directly with Eurostar when they are having a seat sale. January is a good month for sales, but so are times just before peak holiday seasons.
Sign up to email newsletters from train operating companies in the countries you are looking to visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll get notification of these sales. Also, where possible, I can tell you on sophieontrack.com how and when you can save.”
“Me and my travel buddies decided to stop for a few weeks over Christmas and New Year in Sydney, Australia.
Sydney is infamous for its exceptionally high cost of living but at Christmas the price for a bed in a hostel is astronomical. A friend of mine recommended a local Sydneysider website called Aquabumps, which is not only a local art gallery specialising in beach-life photography, but also a place to find Bondi area apartment rentals and sublets.
I posted a note on the online noticeboard and within days I’d heard back from a lovely couple with a 2 bed place overlooking Bondi Beach who were going on holiday over the festive period. We arranged a cash fee (payable on arrival) and when we got there the place was immaculate. My 4 friends and I stayed at this amazing place, had our own space for the full 3 weeks and saved over $400 each. Plus the guy downstairs went on holiday too, and let us have the run of his place for nothing. Double win.
I love a good bargain, and when you find something that only locals know about it feels extra special.”