Penny pinching can be a bit of a pain when travelling but nobody wants to be the one who goes broke abroad, right. As long as you look after the pennies, the Pounds, Dollars, Euros, Yen (or whatever currency is applicable) really will look after themselves.
The realisation of ‘it’s actually happening’ first hits when you go to get your holiday currency. The excitement takes over, you walk in to a shop with native currency in hand, and walk out with this new, alien currency burning a hole in your pocket. However, it’s quicker, easier and a lot cheaper to check deals on the internet first.
Clear your history!
Searching for holidays online leaves traces that travel companies pick up on and use to inflate prices. A way to avoid this, and it’s a lot of effort admittedly, is to sign up to a Virtual Private Network, which can be done for a little as £10 a month. A VPN can be easily cancelled and will probably save you more money than it cost to buy it. Easier ways are to use the ‘In private’ feature on your browser, turn off cookies or just delete your web history after searching for trips.
Watch for tourist traps
Every country has its tourist centres selling souvenirs, local crafts and foods. Food markets, in particular, are areas that will see your wallet empty quickly. I’m not saying “don’t treat yourself”, but if you’re travelling on a budget, only visit these places occasionally.
Don’t play their games
The easiest way to waste money is to get involved with the games of street buskers. ‘What cup is the ball under’ is the favourite crowd grabber, with buskers working in teams to make it look like tourists are winning. Easiest way about the issue is to ignore them. You will never win. Full stop.
When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do
Eating and drinking foods common to that culture is a great way to save money. Drinking beer in Germany, tea in England, sake in Japan, vodka in Russia, whatever it is, local cuisines cut out the import costs, saving you money.
Prague delicacy of whole duck and potato pancakes with sides for only £3. We found this just by going a few minutes’ walk from the main square in a restaurant you’d think nothing about until you’d tried the food.
Get the most out of your travel package
A lot of travel companies travel packages’ will come with discounts or special offers for activities. If you’re aware of these benefits, you could end up saving you and your travel buddies a fistful of cash and don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track.
Go off the beaten track away from the tourist spots and you’ll often find places nicer than those offered through commercialised packages.
Find travel buddies along the way
Finding fellow travellers along the way is beneficial as it gives you strength in numbers. The more of you there are, the more likely you are to receive special offers- places like to look busy, and groups always help. More to the point, group travel, even if it is with complete strangers, makes the experience more exciting and memorable than a plain old pre-planned agenda.
Liaise with the locals
At its peak, the British empire spanned the globe, with roughly 1 in 4 people living under British authority. This has resulted in a wide understanding of the English language and locals are often welcoming and friendly as long as you are respectful. Pick up some local phrases if you can as making friends with the locals will make cheaper, lasting and better memories than a commercialised travel experiences will ever leave.
We got off our overnight train to Zagreb, literally in the middle of nowhere and an unplanned stop. Nonetheless, we found a cheap café and enjoyed some terrific views.
The amount of times I was told throughout my education to make copies of important documents seemed never ending. However, it’s a practice well worth carrying out when travelling; making both digital and paper copies of passports, identity cards, medical insurance documents and even travel itineraries can save a lot of time, money and stress should the actual copy go missing.
‘It’ll never happen to me’, ‘I’ll be ok’, ‘nothing will happen.’ All famous last words? More like phrases that go through people’s minds when they’re thinking about whether spending £15 on that insurance which covers all their possessions plus medical expenses is necessary. Of course, it’s worth it. Not being insured and something serious happening will not only ruin your trip, but wipe out the rainy day fund that you’ve stashed away for so long.
You were given legs for a reason, use them. Public transport will get you across a city quickly but at a cost. Walking lets you see a whole more and things that you won’t see on the underground or bus routes. Who wants to remember their holiday for sweaty, cramped bus rides anyway?
Walking up to the high vantage points of the city is free and gets you some great views of the city.
These are just a few pointers. By no means am I saying you shouldn’t spend money and enjoy yourself. If you can afford it, go for it! However, some of the most memorable experiences will come from times when you’ve gone cheap, explored something new and found something special. Money doesn’t (always) guarantee happiness.