During our past travels, we haven’t really worried about budgeting. In fact, we were probably doing the exact opposite – saving up a shitload of cash in the lead-up to our holidays and then blowing it all like it was going out of fashion.
We treated ourselves to 4-5 star hotels in South East Asia (and even a couple in the USA) just because they were affordable in comparison to what you’d pay in Australia. We also spent big on activities – segway tours in San Francisco, elephant rides in Bali and the like.
Looking back, we realize just how much fat we could have trimmed from our travel budgets. The equation is pretty simple:
Less spending while traveling = more time on the road.
Don’t get us wrong – we’re all for spending money on those once-in-a-lifetime activities like swimming and interacting with beluga whales (you don’t want to regret missing out on these later!). But as for expensive hotels, eating every meal in a restaurant, etc, these are nothing more than an unnecessary luxury and a big drain on the finances.
Now that we’ve embarked on long-term travel, our mindset towards these things has changed considerably. The two major ways we’re making the savings are on our accommodation and what we eat and drink.
Instead of those 4-5 star hotels, we’re opting to stay in hostels or will utilize cheaper accommodation options such as Airbnb. We’re writing this post in a studio apartment in Honolulu overlooking Waikiki Marina, all for well under $100/night! It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy Waikiki but still within walking distance to the world-famous beach as well as other great attractions such as Ala Moana Beach Park and Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Unless you’re in a country where the food is cheap, always look for accommodation with some kind of kitchen facility. Whether it’s a shared kitchen in a hostel or your own mini-kitchen (or even just a microwave!), the savings you can make quickly add up! Just take our last two dinners as an example:
- Last Night – Panda Express Takeaway (2 serves)
2 x Panda Bowl + Shared Large Coke
$17.52 ($8.76 per meal)
- Tonight – Homecooked Spaghetti Bolognese (4 serves)
Angel Hair Spaghetti, 2lb Ground Beef, Ragu Sauce
$14.65 ($3.66 per meal)
As you can see, cooking for yourself where possible can help you make some major savings! Another tip is to never buy breakfast while traveling – it’s crazy just how much those bacon and eggs (or even a continental breakfast in some places) will set you back.
Have you changed your traveling habits to save money? Share your best tips with us!