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Travel On A Shoestring: How To Make Your Money Go Further

Whether it’s just a long weekend away or more long-term travel plans like a gap year or backpacking across Australia, saving money is definitely needed! The good thing is it’s definitely doable – with just a little bit of planning and a few tips to stick to whilst away!

Hostels or Cheap Hotels: Do Your Research
Wherever you travel, there’s always options – from dirt cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Go for one to suit your needs as well as your budget – but for me, location is mostly always the most important factor! There’s no point staying in the cheapest of places only to find that you’re way out in the middle of nowhere and end up having to pay for transport to get into the city or to the attractions everyday…or to be on a relaxing beach holiday and have to trek for miles to get to the coast! Do a bit of research beforehand and it’ll be worth it! And isn’t the planning and looking forward to it half the fun of travelling anyway?!

Buy Food From Local Market
It does depend where you are, of course – some places you’ll find it costs about the same to eat out as it does for supermarket food. But in most cases, you can save a lot of money by not eating out all the time. Avoid the major tourist traps, ie. the restaurants in the main square of a city, which always tend to be a lot more expensive. If you come across markets or small local produce shops, stock up on food…and it’s always nice to eat as the locals do as well! If you’re staying in a hostel, it might be a good idea (and good way to meet people too) to use the facilities and cook dinner in the hostel. When we were backpacking around Oz, especially the West Coast as this is known for being ridiculously expensive, we really noticed the difference and used the money we saved on meals out to do day trips and tours!

Be Your Own Guide: Just Walk Around
Tourist maps and guides are mostly always available and accessible in any city, from your hotel or hostel or the local tourist office. A lot of places rely on the tourism industry and actively welcome it, so they make it easy for tourists to find their way around the town or city with street signs, discounted prices for attractions and, for example, here in Melbourne, they even have local guides from the tourist office dotted around the streets to help passers-by find their way around!

Free Walking Tours
Having said that, like I mentioned in my inter-railing Europe blog, a lot of major cities have free walking tours and they really are a great way to see the place on a budget. They are usually run by young, local guides who have a passion for their city and want to show it off to tourists, and they basically rely on tips. You give whatever you can afford – we did one in pretty much every single city we visited inter-railing and usually gave about €5-€10, which doesn’t seem like much but with a big group it does add up.

Pre-Plan: Always Keep An Eye On Flight Prices
It might not always be possible to get your hands on cheap airfares, for example if you’re flying long distance or only certain expensive airlines fly the route that you’re doing. But it’s always worth keeping an eye on the prices as they fluctuate constantly from one day to the next and there are always sales, discounts and promotions if you book at a certain time etc. I literally don’t know what I’d do without Skyscanner, the flight comparison site which compares prices and dates from every single airline. I tend to choose ‘whole month’ when I’m doing a search to see what dates are the cheapest to fly.

Check Currency Rates Before You Exchange
It’s never nice to be ripped off! Whether it’s at home before you leave, at the airport or half way through your holiday, before you exchange all your hard earned money in the first exchange place you come across, do a bit of research – especially if you’re not familiar with the currency – and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth!

See other posts in my Backpacker/Budget Travel category for more travel tales & tips!

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