In travel budgeting 101 we have covered choosing your itinerary carefully and how to save for travel. In this instalment, I’m sharing how to save money while you're on the road so you can spend more time travelling and less time worrying about your travel funds. Here’s how I save money while I’m travelling.
1. Do your research
Just like picking your itinerary, you need to decide what sort of travel you are going to be doing. If you’re focused on budget travel, some destinations are going to be easier to visit than others. That’s not to say you can’t visit typically expensive destinations, you’ll just have to be smart about how you spend your money.
When you have done your research about what destination you want to visit, decide on a comfortable daily spending amount for your trip. This will also help you understand how much you need to save for your big adventure.
2. Decide how you're going to carry currency
Research the best travel money cards for your trip. Like airfares and accommodation, competition in travel money cards and travel credit cards means there are several options with low or no fees. This is helpful if you’re paying for bigger purchases such as accommodation on a travel credit card. To avoid the currency withdrawal fees that some cards incur, find one of the cards that don't charge withdrawal and international transaction fees. In my current travels, I've been using the 28 Degrees MasterCard and a bank travel card with no withdrawal fees.
3. Get creative with accommodation
Accommodation is no longer a choice between hostel or hotel. With the growth of platforms such as Airbnb, Couchsurfing, homestays or house sitting, there are several options to choose from for your accommodation. In the case of Couchsurfing or house sitting, you can stay for free on the condition that you also offer your place for other couch surfers, or in the case of house sitting if you look after household pets or home maintenance for the people you house sit for.
Another way I have saved with accommodation is being loyal to one hotel group or booking website. Increasing competition in accommodation means a lot of the hotel groups and booking websites offer great perks if you’re willing to be loyal to booking most of your accommodation with one provider.
4. Be smart about your meals
If you’re trying to save money on the road, eating at restaurants for every meal is not going to help you. If your accommodation includes breakfast or kitchen facilities, take advantage of eating a decent breakfast to avoid a hangry trip to the first tourist trap restaurant you come across a few hours later (we’ve all been there and it’s not ideal!). If you’re like me and enjoy eating out throughout your travels, pick one new place to try each day, or second day — whichever timeframe feels suitable for you.
You can also research where the local markets and delis are located in your destination, gather some items for a picnic and find a relaxing outdoor space to enjoy everything and people watch.
5. Get your walking shoes on
I've always found the best way to get to know a new place is by walking. Make sure your accommodation is an easy walk to sights and activities so you’re not spending too much time and money on transport. The bonus of walking is you’re adding some exercise into a day that’s typically filled with more treats and dining out than if you were at home.
6. Know what to visit and when
If you’re visiting a destination with several sights, landmarks and museums that you want to visit, research if the places are free or have reduced entry fee times on particular days of the week. For example, the Louvre in Paris is free on the first Sunday of every month and you can pay a reduced fee if you’re visiting after 6 pm on Wednesday and Friday. One consideration for visiting at these times is to anticipate more crowds due to the lower (or no) entry fees.
These are the main six ways I save money while I’m on the road. Let me know your tips for saving money while you’re traveling in the comments below.