That was the best statement to myself when I concluded my travels. No debts, no overspending, no overdrafts and best of all, no aftermath worries. From students to working adults, we all have our budgets. With financial commitments and yet yearning to see the world, we’ve got the right tips to help you maximise every penny.
Yes, you’ve heard me right. The biggest tip to stay in budget is to have a budget. Work on the number of days that you are away and draw up an expense chart. Then, for every single penny spent, remember to write it down. EVERY. SINGLE.PENNY. At the end of each week, total up your spending and use it to keep track of where your money was spent.
Writing down all the expenditures keeps you focused on your goals on the trip. Seeing the numbers in front of you makes it feel so real and you track where your spending tends to go. Sometimes, we overspend, make it up by having a few quiet days to even it out so you won’t run out of money sooner than you want it to. Use a paper budget or simply download a travel app (eg. Money manager) for easy tracking.
Source: Accor Hotels
Snapping up the cheapest hotel, at first sight, isn’t what budget travellers do. They research about the location. Will it be near to all the major attractions in the city? Will it be a hassle to travel to the airport or train station? Make sure that a good price doesn’t come with a time-wasting long distance walk every morning just to get to the nearest civilisation. Book early and check out hotel booking sites like Mayflower Holidays for the best options and prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Ask and you will be given!
After booking a hotel room at a decent price feeling all victorious, you dream of staying in the exorbitantly-priced suite. Ask for a free upgrade! The worst case scenario is that you get a no. Not too difficult. You would really be surprised that few people actually bother to ask for free upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late checkouts, and other negotiable perks. Well, you are travelling on a budget so why not? Simply ask. Email mayflower at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote and follow their Facebook and Instagram account for the latest promotions and updates.
Shhhh! Airlines and hotels would rather give away their seats and rooms than to see it go vacant. Yes, airlines would sell their seats at rock-bottom prices and hotels do the same for rooms too. Why did none of us know? That’s because they don't exactly go down the street proclaiming to the entire world that they have too many vacant seats and rooms unsold.
Well, the airlines and hotels work together instead. They put the empty seats and rooms into package deals to reduce their vacancy. That’s when you get a good rate on airfare and hotels and sometimes, other perks too. Doubtful? Search up a package deal and try booking the same flight and hotel separately—the package will almost always costs much lesser. Lookout for packages and deals early. Sign up for memberships to receive exclusive newsletters from booking engines, agencies and the airlines to keep yourself in the loop. A budget traveller got to do some homework.
If the locals are using it, we should too.
Using public transport can be one of the greatest fears for first timers in developing countries. Generally speaking, local trains or buses are great. Not only are they really affordable compared to private pick-ups and taxis, but they can also be very entertaining. Share your seat with the locals and observe their daily hustle and bustle. You might hear some fun travel stories along the way too. Yes, it would not be as comfortable as a private car, but remember, you have a travel budget to adhere to. Take public transport and experience it like the locals.
Before travelling, check out the public transport systems on the internet. Read up forums to have an idea of what it will be or suggestions by travellers who already went. Google map offers an offline version which you could download and use it without the internet thereafter. Grab some maps at the airports and train stations and take some time to plan your route. Planning your routes and taking public transport saves you lots of money!
Be it street food, a hole-in-the-wall eatery or a fancy restaurant, the locals usually know where the best and cheapest food is. A crowd and snake-line queue would almost guarantee that the food there will be good. Western meals or cuisine from home in other countries are usually very costly and probably not as tasty. Many travellers avoid local food for the fear of getting sick. Little do we know that both the fancy restaurants and food vendors obtain their food from the same market! Well, when loads of locals are patronising, it is probably safe and most of the time, yummy.
Ask your guide, the staff at your hotel or even locals that you meet off the streets. They probably are the best people to give you recommendations to palatable and price-friendly food places. Eat where the locals eat, you are after all travelling and what’s travelling when you never try any of the local food before. You might chance upon surprisingly good local fare. Again, visit blogs and check out reviews on the best places before visiting, they open up your options and definitely will take care of your pockets.
Do up a budget and start planning your next vacation. With the careful research done, it is definitely doable to travel on a budget and yet see the most of a country!
A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
An avid globetrotter, exploring and learning continuously about the world. Every part of earth tells a unique tale, fueling the love for travelling and stories to be told.