The Art of Budget Travel

person_outline Tommy Walker
Sep 24, 2018

folder_open Travel Advice

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If you haven’t hit the road much then this article will be a worthwhile read. You might be wondering how to travel on a budget? What can you travel effectively? Does it really work? Will I have a fulfilling experience? Can I afford it? Anyone can stick to a travel budget! It just really depends on where you are going and how far you’re willing to stretch your savings.

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You may hear of some nomad budgeters who take it to extreme levels. They’ll eat the cheapest of market food, couch surf for free and hitchhike wherever they go, all to get their trip costs down to the lowest possible. Bravo to them, but that’s not for everyone.

For most of us, we budget to our limits. I for one, will aim to spend less on the things I don’t feel are vital to my trip, like lavish hotels or paying extra to pick my seat on a plane. Whereas other times I’ll spend money if I know it needs to be spent (like eating healthy on the road!). It just comes down to what type of traveller you are.

Choose A Budget-Friendly Destination

If you’re reading this and are from a first world country, then luckily for you the money you’ve saved up will be worth more in developing countries than back home, so your money goes a long way. If you choose the right country with the right prices, you can have an epic time. Southeast Asia consists of eleven nations that are mostly budget friendly. Some of these include Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

In these countries, everything you do will be a lot cheaper, from eating, travelling, accommodation, and even tours or group trips. In addition to Southeast Asia, consider Central + South America, Eastern Europe, Indian Subcontinent and certain parts of Africa. Depending on where you’re from, each of these destinations can help your travel savings stretch a lot further.

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Decide On Your Accommodation Preference

If you want to budget travel and don’t mind where you sleep, then you should stay in hostels. Some will have private dorms available, but most of the time you’ll be sharing the room with others, and that’s what keeps the cost down. Hostels are also a great way to meet new people too, as they’re often full of similar like-minded travellers. As travel gets more popular to different regions, you can find all sorts of hostels to suit your needs. From barebones basic hostels to some that could pass for mini resorts, there are loads of different kinds on offer.

Hotels, guesthouses and Airbnb are solid options too, sometimes you can score a great deal, but hostels are known to be the most inexpensive accommodation option.

Top Tip: If you have international friends who live where you’re going, then see if you can stay with them!

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How You Physically Travel

From A to B to country to country, you need ways to get around. The actual travelling part of travel can eat up a lot of your budget, so it’s important to choose how you want to get around.

Do you want to pay lesser prices than a flight and take an overnight bus journey that spans twelve-hours? Perhaps. I do. I save a lot of money, I write articles like these, I sleep, and I watch movies on my laptop. Sometimes I just pass the time thinking about the next part of my trip. If you’re in the right frame of mind, a longer journey that saves you money can be better. Plus it saves you a night’s accommodation somewhere! If you like to fly, think about what airlines you will take. Will they be budget airlines like Ryanair or AirAsia? Every bit you save adds up to help you travel for longer.

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What Do You Want To Experience

Especially if you’re following the travelling trail, it can be easy to be roped into things. You might end up paying for a tour or excursion you don’t really want to do. Think about what you want to do and why. Ask yourself if you need to do this? Still, it’s important to experience as much as possible. Try and do something for the first time. Scuba dive, hike, go white water rafting – whatever it is, travelling is for new experiences, and you should remember that’s the reason we hit the road.

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Exchanges

If you work in travel as I do, with experience as a travel writer and a social media following, there are possibilities you can do deals in exchange for free things. Take for example a tour company wants to promote itself more online. They may ask someone like me to go on the tour, for free, and report back. Either writing a blog, a carefully placed article elsewhere or a few good photos shared throughout my reach on social media. This definitely helps people like me hit the road more!

For those of you who aren’t doing that, there are other common ways you can do exchanges. Volunteering is a good one whether it be at a hostel, school or tour company. You can get free accommodation and food that means you spend next to nothing for your essentials!

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Spending Doesn’t Mean Travelling

There’s almost an expectation that for you to travel, you must spend lots of money. We are drawn in to make us think we have to spend when really, do we have to? If you’ve got your accommodation sorted for the night, then everything is down to you. Only spend on things you actually want to. Getting the most expensive drinks and meals can be fun, but it will put a major dent in your travel budget!

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Avoid Fancy Places

For me, one of the biggest turn-offs, when I travel, are fancy places. They all look the same it seems. And what do they offer? Larger prices. This can range from restaurants to shopping malls to even bars. I feel they lack character, with too much shiny furniture, looking way to modern and the customer service is way too rat race. Travel for me is about seeing the local things, the originalities of a place and the differences to the modern world. Don’t get hooked in by places that offer little to your experience.

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Be Responsible

One thing you should not do is go too far. It has become apparent in recent years that travellers from strong first-world countries haggle too much, especially to local street vendors, for the sake of a few pennies. The sellers depend on your business, and you are on the trip of a lifetime. Remember to be responsible and know when you’ve got a good deal. You don’t need to haggle everything down to the bone for the sake of your ego, appreciate where you are and the prices you’re paying.

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Now that you know how to budget your way around, there’s really no excuse. All you need to do is decide where you’re off to. Click on the button below to find out more...

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Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker

Tommy is a British freelance travel writer and social media micro-influencer. He’s been on the road since 2011 and he’s travelled through Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania, including two Working Holidays in Australia & New Zealand. His favourite destinations (so far) are Melbourne in Australia, Lisbon in Portugal, Thailand and Ecuador! Find more of Tommy’s work on his travel blog The Wandering Walker.