Hi all! Stay tuned next week for the second half of my Californian road trip! For now, I’m currently mid-air flying to Hawaii for a belated honeymoon. In the meantime, check out some of my favorite travel hacking tips to sticking to your budget without missing a single tour/adventure/bottle(s) of wine.
One of the best things in life to look forward to is traveling. The chance to get on board a plane, train or boat and see the world in all of its glory is not a privilege that is afforded to everyone, but if it is something that you can do, you should do it. If you’ve worked hard and saved up every cent that you could over the years, you’re ready to take the leap and get travelling. There is an entire world out there, and you have been doing nothing but research; mooning over beach photos and reading all about different areas and their authentic street foods and historical monuments that you just want to climb. The time now is to pick your route and book the flights and get to the part where you’re sipping your cocktail on the beach. This bit? This is the easy part. The daydreaming and planning and reading – that’s the easy bit. The hard part is learning how to stretch your money as much as possible so that you can have an exciting travel experience without having to cut it short because you haven’t calculated your budget properly.
There are certain parts of the world that are famed for being cheaper than others, whether you’ve researched and come up with yurts in the south to lounge on, or cozy apartments for rent in the easy. Just because you’re choosing cheap places to visit, doesn’t mean you can’t easy blow through your budget in just over a month. This is the bit where you need to learn about how to stick to your budget. Most of the time, travel debt never comes from investing in bucket list activities that you can enjoy, but with being reckless. Staying at too many 5* hotels and spending out frivolously for your meals can rinse your budget right down, and the thing you need to learn is how to track and stick to your budget the best way that you can. Below, you’re going to find 10 tips to help you get there!
- Track Every Dollar
It can feel boring to do it, but you need to track every single dollar out of your wallet, no matter where you spend it. Each week, add up the amounts and use that to track where your money is going. If you know you can account for every dollar, you can learn from any mistakes and move forward.
- Daily Budgeting
You can’t stick to a budget if you don’t have any budgets to stick to in the first place. Work out how long you plan to be away in the first place, and choose a number to stick to among your savings. Your budget can be as big or as small as you like, and if you want to stick to it, you need to care about it.
- Drink A Little Less
Not water, keep up with your water while in the hot weather. However, slow down on alcohol. Firstly, you don’t need alcohol to enjoy yourself, but you also need to realise that alcohol will cut pieces out of your travel budget in a big way. Once every now and then, a night out will be great, but you don’t need a glass of red with every meal.
- Go Slow
Travelling slower means you see more. Staying in one place can allow you to learn more about it, assisting your vacation with being cheaper. Also, using foot and public transport for travel instead of flights can really cut down how much you spend.
- Utilize Public Transport
Speaking of public transport you don’t need to jump in a taxi everywhere you go when there is plenty of public transport available to travel on. It can be scary if you’re new to the area, but think about it in the way that the locals do: it’s a necessity and a means to getting to your destinations of choice. It’s also cheap and allows you to travel the way that you want to while maintaining your budget.
- Eat Like A Local
It’s so nice to have a slap-up dinner, and whether it’s delicious street food or a well visited eatery popular with the locals, they will know where the best and cheapest food is going to be. Ask around and talk to the locals about their favourite places to eat. If there’s a crowd, you can bet it’ll be a good place to eat! Try local cuisine over the fancy stuff in the tourist restaurants, because you can bet that if the locals are happy there, you will be, too! A little inside tip: don’t forget that both the street vendors and the posh restaurants use the same vendors most of the time, so you’d be eating the same food but one is far cheaper!
- Sleep Cheaply
Tents are an amazing replacement for accommodation, and almost everywhere you go has a pitching site you could visit. Accommodation is usually the biggest cost for most travellers, because a hotel room isn’t just a few bucks – more like a few hundred! Long term travelling should consider the cheap places to stay, such as renting apartments for long term or using a tent to pitch safely where you can sleep somewhere near to where you are exploring are good options, as are little local guesthouses and even couch surfing!
- Local Market Shopping
While the large shopping malls can sport the designer names and labels, you should consider not shopping there but exploring the local markets. You can learn to barter, and whether you are looking for fresh fruit or warm clothing, you can find much of what you need very cheaply. Stalls have lower overheads than the mall chain stores, so you can buy for less than you would normally. If you are traveling with a portable stove to cook with, you can buy your fruit, vegetables and meat for cheap and cook it all yourself where you are.
- Buy Only What You Need
It sounds so obvious, but when you’re on holiday it’s tempting to shop, shop and shop some more. Buying only what you need and when you need it is a trick to smart travelling and you’re not going to weigh yourself down with extra luggage. Try not to buy impulsively, especially if your adventure is a long-term one! Souvenirs aren’t really a necessity, other than the smallest item from each place you travel like a magnet, or a denomination of currency to show where you’ve been. Your choice of luggage needs to not weigh you down further wherever you go, so travel smartly and shop carefully. Your budget will really thank you for it later.
- Don’t Give Up
It’s not easy to stick to a small budget for your travel plans, but if you want the extended version of your vacation, you’ll do it. Determination and planning carefully can make it easy for you to have the long vacation that you want, so make sure you are writing things down and planning your days around being as basic and cheap as possible. Then, right before you come home, have a good splurge on a fancy hotel room so that you can rinse the rest of the budget!
Travelling should be for all budgets, and it absolutely can be for yours, too. All you have to do is keep focused and remember that it’s not all about spending; it’s about experiencing the most authentic and diverse cultures you find.