Now that we’ve covered how to save money for long term travel, we should probably give you some tips on how to make your money last longer while traveling. Nobody wants to have to think of money constantly when they’re traveling, but if you want to make sure that you keep globetrotting for as long as possible, you’re going to need to keep a budget in mind and know what you can or can’t spend your money on.
It’s a fine science, sticking to a travel budget, but the more you get used to it the more it becomes natural to you. The things that you would normally splurge on become things you wouldn’t even dream of doing, and your brain just switches into a budget frame of mind when you don’t necessarily have a pay check coming in each month.
What one person would spend on something might not be what the other person chooses, so in that respect your travel budget will be very personal to you. In spite of that, here are a few tips to help you on your way to spreading your money out so it lasts you longer on the road.
As many of our regular readers will know, we spend the vast majority of our travels taking part in housesitting. Along with so many other benefits to housesitting, one major pro is that it saves us an absolute tonne of money and reduces our travel budget immensely. Traveling without money is actually possible when you house sit. If you’re not spending any money whatsoever on accommodation, then you have more money to spend elsewhere and it takes so much pressure off of our long term plans. We never would have been able to travel for as long, and to half the places, if it weren’t for our housesitting assignments.
Aside from cheap hostel accommodation that you might consider, we would recommend taking a look into something like AirB&B. Short term sublets like you find on websites like that are perfect for travelers looking to stay in one place, either just for a few days or even months at a time, on a budget. If you’re traveling as a couple or with someone else, it can be even more cost-effective because you can split the pricing, making it exceptionally cheap and in some cases even cheaper than budget accommodation in the area. Affordable accommodation and your own space? Yes please!
If you have access to a kitchen, your food budget is going to go right down when you’re traveling. In countries dotted around Asia or Central/South America where the cost of food is very low this is even more of a bonus, and you can cook very cheap meals that are tasty and to your own liking. Food markets are a budget travelers best friend, and the benefit of these are the local and fresh produce that you can find at many of them.
If you don’t have your own kitchen, then food bills are admittedly going to be higher. However, always make sure you make the most of the closest local available to you. Whether it be the receptionist in your hotel or local tour guide, these people are going to know exactly where the cheap eats in your destination are and be able to guide you to them. Recommendations from locals are invaluable, so don’t underestimate them or let them go unused. Also once you get over your fear of eating street food then you will save a bundle. And a lot of it is great tasting!
Aside from the locals, if you have a smart phone make sure you search for local travel apps that tell you the best places in your surroundings to eat at. Many of these come with pricing guides, so you can look for the spots with the lower number of dollar signs and head straight for them.
No kitchen and not enough money to eat out? If you’re in a hot country then take advantage of any green space around you and make yourself a picnic! You might be in the busiest of concrete jungles, but after all’s said and done, New York City still has Central Park, doesn’t it? Head to your local market to stock up on tasty treats and go lounge in the sun.
Forking out for activities and excursions is something that will inevitably cost you money. It’s one of those love/hate relationships travelers have – you don’t want to miss out on these things if you’re just a visitor and may never see them again, but sometimes entrance fees can be a huge expense, and pain in the butt.
Always go to the website for whatever activity you’re looking at doing and see if they have any set days when visiting is free. For example, the Louvre in Paris is free on the first Sunday of every month. Whilst you might not have planned to be there then, with a little bit of organization ahead of time you could figure out your travel to makes sure these things don’t cost you a penny. Other websites might also offer discounts. 90% of the time you can find an offer online that will be cheaper than buying at the door.
The more popular tourist spots are of course more popular for a reason, but sometimes finding cheaper alternatives can lead to a more authentic experience and almost undoubtedly a cheaper one. The biggest art galleries in a city sometimes display the best pieces, but often you’ll find some fantastic exhibitions in smaller galleries which will cost you nothing. Do your research, and you could see a hidden side to the city without being surrounded by tourists.
The biggest point to remember here is that there are going to be occasions when you have to spend more money. The trick with these though is to figure it out ahead of time and balance out your budget elsewhere to make up for it. If you’re going to be shelling out a fortune visiting Paris for example (which really can be very expensive), then make sure the rest of your week or fortnight is a cheaper one with free accommodation or cheap food from markets in order for your money to even out down the line.
Most of all – enjoy it. Don’t let money be the thing you’re constantly stressing about because you should be focused on having the time of your life and not constantly checking your bank balance. To really do it does take a certain amount of organization, but as long as you have that then you’ll be trekking the globe for a very long time.