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Tips & Tricks

How to Travel on a Budget

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, Baht or Yen) really will look after themselves.

1.Money shopping
The realisation that ‘it’s actually happening’ first hits when you 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.

WeSwap, is an amazing new app which allows you to convert money on the fly through the use of their app. On top of this, each WeSwapper receives their own card so you’re less at risk of losing your precious bank card whilst abroad. As one of Travamigos partners, we’ve teamed up with WeSwap to ensure all our users receive £10 free travel money when you load £50.

2.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 bit of an 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 you 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.

3.Watch for tourist traps
Every country has its tourist centres, selling souvenirs, local crafts and foods. Food markets, in particular are areas where you 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.

4.Don’t ‘play the game’
The easiest way to waste money is to get involved in gambling games with guys on the street. ‘What cup is the ball under’ is the favourite crowd grabber, with guys working in teams to make it look like tourists are winning. Easiest way to dodge this is to completely ignore them. As soon as you show interest they’ll draw you in. You will never win. Full stop.

5.When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do
Eating and drinking local foods is a great way to save money. Drinking beer in Germany, tea in England, sake in Japan, vodka in Russia, whatever it is, local stuff doesn’t have import and transport costs, so you will save money.

The Prague delicacy of whole duck and potato pancakes, for example, with sides costs 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. It was Delicious!

6.Get the most out of your travel package
A lot of the packages, provided by travel companies, 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.

Hvar in Croatia for example was beautiful: Go off the beaten track and away from the tourist spots and you’ll often find places nicer than those offered through tour packages.

7.Find travel buddies along the way
Finding fellow travellers along the way is really 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 experiences more exciting and memorable than solo travelling.

8.Liaise with the locals
At its peak, the British empire spanned the globe, with roughly 1 in 4 people living under British influence. 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 certainly get you better rates than commercial travel packages and you will love the experience.

Somewhere in Eastern Europe: We got off our overnight train to Zagreb, literally in the middle of nowhere during an unplanned stop and we found a great local café that was really cheap and enjoyed some terrific views.

9.Make copies
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 originals go missing.

10.Insure yourself
‘It’ll never happen to me’, ‘I’ll be ok’, ‘nothing will happen’ and similar phrases, all go through people’s minds when contemplating whether or not to buy travel insurance. Of course, it’s worth it! Not being insured and having something serious happen will not only ruin your trip, but wipe out that rainy day fund you’ve stashed away for so long. Once you’ve bought travel insurance you can budget with confidence, knowing that everything is covered. Pick a policy that’s tailored for your needs.

After having used them for the first time a while ago, I’d strongly recommend Outbacker Insurance. Specifically aimed towards backpackers, they tailor each package to specifically match your needs. Check them out here.

11.Beware of pickpockets and take precautions
It’s a good idea to divide your cash so that if you lose some, it’s not the end of the world. You can claim losses back from your insurance company and you’ll have some in reserve if the worst does happen. A friend of mine had a ‘sacrificial wallet’ which he kept his daily cash in. it also had old credit and debit cards in it and scruffy pieces of paper with pin codes written on them. Everything (except his daily cash) was completely useless to anyone making off with it, but it would have satisfied a mugger. A good idea I thought.

12.Walk
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 load 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?

Budapest: 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.

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