From avoiding the tourist traps to making your own munchies, follow these easy ideas to save money when travelling. (And what you save on food you can spend on Italian leather boots, right?!)
Set a budget
Before you set out on your trip, it’s important to sit down and consider how much you’ll have to spend while you’re away. Divide this by the number of days you’ll be on holidays to work out your daily budget. While of course some days will be more expensive than others, aim to limit yourself to spending close to the designated amount.
This applies to everything holiday-related: destinations, transport and accommodation. Consider how much you have to spend and make your choices accordingly. Don’t set off on a tour of Europe if all you can really afford is a domestic airfare, and don’t head to a tourist destination where you know you’ll be stretched financially.
Don’t waste your precious spending money on oversized baggage fees. Make sure you pay attention to how many kilograms you can take on board and stick to it!
Consider your transport options
Limit expensive travel options like taxis and rather hop on public transport such as buses, ferries or trains. Not only will you be cutting down on your financial costs, but you’ll also be cutting your carbon footprint. Where possible, walk to your destination or hire a bike.
Pack your own lunch
Buying meals at expensive tourist kiosks is a sure-fire way to blow your daily budget without even realising it. Rather, fill a water bottle at your hotel and stop by a supermarket on your way to grab cheap and nutritious snacks like fruit, muesli bars and trail mix. If you plan ahead, you can buy these in bulk, store them at your accommodation and divide them into individual portions before you head out for the day. For lunch, grab some fresh bread rolls, a few slices of deli meat, cheese and tomato for a delicious meal on-the-go. A travel picnic pack that includes plastic plates, cups and cutlery will also be a handy addition to your luggage if you want to save money when travelling. Make-your-own picnic lunches also means you won’t be stuck inside stuffy restaurants but can choose your picnic setting of choice in the great outdoors — lunch, and a view!
Limit restaurant splurges
Choose budget-friendly street food, affordable takeaway or cook at your accommodation instead. Many hostels offer communal kitchens and some hotel rooms also include small kitchenettes so you can stock up on fresh ingredients during the day and whip up quick and easy dishes in the evening. Consider meals that require only a few ingredients like basic pastas, salads and stir-fries.
Find affordable tours
Many major cities offer fantastic walking tours run by guides who operate on a donation-only basis. It doesn’t mean that these guides are of any less quality than those who charge hundreds — many of these operators are simply happy to show off their local birthplace and make a few coins on the side.
Cut down on entertainment costs and pack a book instead. You’ll find many book swap stores in popular tourist areas and it will cost you absolutely zero to trade your finished book in for a new one. Alternatively, if you already own an e-reader, you can download many great books for free.
Stocking up on souvenirs for friends and family back home can get expensive. Many souvenir vendors expect a certain level of bartering, so see if you can save a few dollars here and there by negotiating a better deal.
Use common sense
Pay attention to the small things on your holiday, as this is where you’re likely to be able to save a lot of unnecessary spending. Cut costs on hotel splurges like room service and mini bar purchases, pay attention to currency exchange rates and ATM withdrawal charges, and only buy things you really need. Limiting your spending doesn’t have to mean going without or saying no to meaningful experiences when overseas; simply weigh up the value of the purchase with the price, and always try to make your money stretch further.