Spending little money travelling is possible, and I often find myself spending less on travel than when I am at home. One of the recurring questions I am asked most often is “how do you spend so little money when you travel?”.
Generally speaking, travelling within a different mental state in which I know that any unnecessary expense will shorten my experience a bit and for this reason it becomes natural to be attentive to expenses.
Below are 14 tips for spending less on travel, saving some money and being around as long as possible.
Take care of your things
I remember being extremely messy during the first year I spent entirely on the road. I also remember losing a lot of things during that time. One day you forget the charger in a bar, another one leaves the computer charger in a hotel room and another one leaves the sunglasses or the Kindle. In the long run, the cost of taking care of one’s belongings can be devastating and I have learned to be orderly and methodical with the things I take on the road. Also the care in using the travel backpack is important, because if it breaks, no one gives you the new one!
Set a daily budget
Setting a daily budget is one of the things that will save you the most. I’ve always done this on the go! (we’ve always been penniless, alas!). If you commit yourself to stay in the budget seriously, pinning down every expense, we guarantee that every purchase will become more considered and you will avoid a lot of small expenses that added up at the end of the trip make the difference. If you realize you’ve already burned half your budget at 10 a.m. you’ll find a way to save money during the rest of the day, or if the day before you spent more than your budget, then the next day you’ll try to spend a little less. Trust me, this is an essential step to travel a long way.
Make group for taxis, vehicles and travel
Setting aside shyness and teamwork is a great way to save on travel, especially on travel. When you can’t avoid taking a taxi or have to rent a vehicle, sharing it with other people will at least halve your costs. Are you at the airport and do you have to take a taxi? Look around and look for others like you, get together and share the costs!
Rent “human-powered” vehicles.
Often you have to rent a vehicle, and almost always the bicycle is the cheapest way to rent. It has no large deposits, no need for credit cards and is difficult to damage. Now, clearly the bicycle is not always the most suitable means, but often it is! And often you don’t take it for laziness. In many cities, for example, it is the ideal means of transport, and not just in the city. For example, the famous temple complex of Angkor in Cambodia is almost always visited by renting a Tuk Tuk with driver (cost between 15 and 50 € per day). I have turned it comfortably by bike for 2 days spending less than 10 euros in total.
Do your own laundry
During long journeys, even laundry becomes a cost that can be cut down with some expedient. Usually the quickest and most practical solution is to use coin-operated laundries, but this is not the cheapest solution. Between washing and drying, it is often possible to spend figures close to 10 euros. Bringing a little detergent with you and washing your clothes by hand is definitely cheaper. If you travel to hot countries everything becomes easier, but if you travel to cold countries try to find at least once a week an accommodation with washing machine, or to be hosted by someone who allows you to do the laundry. During my long trip to northern Europe I washed a garment or two (such as a pair of socks, a pair of underwear and a T-shirt) almost every night, making them dry on a radiator. It seems little but in a few months you could even save a nice amount of money.
Activities, entrances and guided tours: reduce them and try to do them independently
Travel activities (guided tours, diving, etc.) are generally very expensive and in general it would be good to reduce them to a minimum if you want to travel a long time, selecting only those that we really want to do and trying to do them as much as possible independently. That said, we can not even stand still for fear of spending money, so when you book your activities always try to cut as much as possible intermediaries and go directly to the source. For example, tickets for buses and trains is becoming cheaper to take them directly in stations and in case of organized activities always runs a few agencies looking for the best price and do not be afraid to ask for discounts.
Card or ATM without withdrawal costs
I remember travelling for a period of my life with an Australian credit card whose withdrawal costs abroad were 5% of the amount withdrawn. 5%! If I had to calculate how much money I gave the bank in question, I would go mad, so I don’t want to know, but I will never make such a mistake again. Before you go on a long journey, get a card that has no withdrawal costs from abroad.
Save on meals
When it comes to god eating the first advice to spend less on the road is to never make hunger rise to that threshold beyond which you stop thinking. Eating several times a day from a good breakfast is certainly cheaper than sitting in a restaurant in the evening and gorging (as well as healthier). Moreover, in many countries street food is widespread, good, cheap and typical of the place you are visiting. We always prefer it to restaurants and not just for the economic factor. If you really want to sit in the restaurant then do it at noon where prices are generally lower than in the evening.
Use social media to host or give advice
Social media is a consolidated reality of our times and a great way to network. So let’s use them! They are very useful to meet local people, ask for advice and also to be hosted. Use your knowledge or join groups related to the place you are visiting. Try asking for hospitality or meeting someone to have a drink and get advice. The soul of the trip is the meeting, and social media is a quick and easy way to meet people. For example, we traveled from Milan to Palermo and were hosted by some of our friends who have followed us on the blog over the years.
Always carry a water bottle with you
No one can do without water. When you travel, you often find yourself buying a few plastic bottles every day and then throwing them away. As well as being a cost to us, this is also highly detrimental to our planet. Bring a water bottle, so as to reduce costs (bottled water is very expensive and often less good than tap water) and the consumption of plastic!
Make your purchases in non-tourist areas
When we make purchases of any kind (shopping, clothes, souvenirs, etc.) it is good to always try to get away from the tourist areas. We try to buy in local markets or in shops and shops located outside the city center in non-tourist neighborhoods. Prices are usually much lower and the goods are different and more authentic.
Cancel your subscriptions (online and offline)
Remember to cancel all your online and physical subscriptions that you do not need while traveling. Don’t you watch Netflix? Amazon prime is no longer needed? Or the gym? Then remember to cancel them before you leave. The most common of the subscriptions that we are all used to paying and which you hardly ever think about is the telephone one. Remember if possible to suspend it if you leave for a long trip outside Europe and the Roaming area.
Travel light so you can avoid taxis or go on foot
Reduce the baggage you carry on your shoulders to the essentials, it’s very important! The lighter your luggage is, the more free you are to move around on foot or by public transport. The heavier your backpack, the more tortured it becomes to be touring around and in the long run it will be more difficult not to take taxis and more expensive vehicles. If you want you can read here about how I got to travel with a 35 litre backpack.
Traveling in low season
If you can travel in low season. As well as being a way to spend less on the road, it is also a way to see places with different eyes and without being surrounded by groups of cracking tourists. I remember having the Abisko National Park in Sweden all for myself at the end of the Lapland Winter, visiting a famous Icelandic waterfall in early January in complete solitude, travelling stress-free to Bali during the rainy season and being alone in almost all the most spectacular spots in the Faroe Islands at the beginning of February.
Book a place where you can cook
Food is one of the factors that most affects the cost of travel and while it is true that in some countries you spend very little to eat out, in others it can be a real drain. In any case, buying food at the local market and cooking it at home is almost always cheaper. Moreover, when the journey takes a long time, it is also a pleasure to cook something to one’s taste and maybe enjoy some taste of home. So when choosing your accommodation, look for one with kitchen use whenever possible.
Well, at this point I hope that these 14 tips to spend less on travel can be useful to save money and if you have any that you think may be useful to me or other travelers do not be shy and write it below in the comments! Hey, after all, we’re always looking for new creative ways to save money too! See you around!