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Budgeting

13 Effortless Tips to Save Money on Your Travel Budget

Travelling can be costly but doesn't have to break the bank. With a few small tweaks to your spending you can ensure you save money on your travel budget and spend where it counts.

The best part about travelling is preparing the travel budget… eh… said no one ever? Even myself, a self-confessed budget-oholic can feel overwhelmed trying to get the best prices and deals and attempting to not go spend-cray when we are living for the moment on holiday.

Seeing as we have just gotten back from a month in Europe I thought what better time then now to share what tips and tricks I use when travelling to stretch our travel budget. We travel reasonably often on our own as well as on band trips and that can really add up especially if you are not watching what you spend each time. If you are only travelling once every few years you can probably get away with going a bit all out on a hotel room, shopping trips and fine dining on your vacation. But that’s not going to work so well for your budget when it’s a regular gig.

The cost of travel can be significantly reduced with a little bit of planning and being selective with what you will and won’t spend on or just tweaking is so you don’t spend as much ;). Some of it starts before you have booked a thing and others are to help you maintain your goal budget once in your destination.

Check out 13 Effortless Tips to Save Money on Your Travel Budget for how you can save on your next trip!

  1. Shop around for all bookings

Shop around from the get go and consider all options when booking a holiday. Is a hotel cheaper and better value for accommodation or would an Airbnb be better? If you’re just after a bed and shower and plan to be out all day, a hostel could be a more budget friendly option. Can you be more flexible with flights days? Booking a flight the day before or after you planned to or at a less convenient time might cost you some sleep but save you hundreds of dollars per ticket. When booking hire cars get 2-3 quotes so you can make sure you are paying a reasonable rate. A little effort at the start of your holiday planning can add up to huge savings. Don’t forget to use the incognito mode in your browser in order to get the best deals on flights and accomodation!

Potential Savings: Picked Airbnb over Hotel room saving $40 a night on accomodation 

2. Book your flights and accommodation early

Book well in advance for tours, car hire, accomodation and flights. Bookings closer to the travel date means you will end up paying more or missing out on the dates or times you want. If you need a particular travel day or time you will most likely have to pay much more for the same service than you would have if you just planned ahead. A lot of accommodation sites such as Airbnb, Booking.com and some hotels offer free cancellation on bookings up to a certain time depending on their terms and conditions for the place you are booking so you can often get book accommodation in advance and change the booking dates without being hit with fees if you need more flexibility. Budget Traveller recommends booking flights on Tuesday to get the best flight deals.

Potential Savings: Flying on a 7.40am flight over 11am flight saving you $180

3. Walk or take public transport as much as possible

Where possible on your holidays walk to places to get the most out of your travel budget. You will not only save money by skipping the taxi, get some exercise and fresh air as well as get to see more this way than if you were to drive or take a train. If you can’t walk or the distance is a bit far, consider taking a bus or train over a taxi to reduce your holiday transport costs. Look into any travel passes such as 48 or 72 hour passes that are available that might be able to save you on transport costs over the duration of your stay.

Potential Savings: Taking the train or bus $4 fare over $15 per trip taxi ride

4. Find free activities and entertainment

Travelling and sight seeing can be extremely expensive, especially when you have a lot of bucket list items to tick off. We were happy to spend on activities we really wanted to do or see and the rest of the time tried to find free forms of entertainment. This could include exploring your destination city on foot, checking out a local park, spending some time in your resorts pool or at the beach, visiting a free Art Gallery or Museum, checking out some local scenery or chatting to some other travelers at a bar or cafe and swapping stories. Don’t assume everything fun or enjoyable costs money. Seek out budget friendly activities and your travel budget will go much further without you missing out on the really awesome stuff.

Potential Savings: Free museum entry over ticket entry to viewing platform $50

5. Spend your money where it counts

Following on from finding fun free activities, spend your travel budget on the things that matter to you. If you love Theatre go to a show on your trip, see a band you might not be able to see at home, do a group tour to a site on your bucket list. By being selective with where you spend your cash, you can afford to do those really important must do ones.

Potential Savings: Guilt free spendings here to do what you really want thanks to your saving efforts elsewhere 

6. Drink less

Alcohol can be very expensive in a lot of cities around the world. A single drink can set you back $10 or more, particularly if you prefer fancy fruity cocktails like myself. If you are going away for a week you can probably get away with buying a few expensive cocktails with dinner, but when you are travelling for a month that cost is going to eat away your spending money fast. On our most recent trip to Europe we limited drinking in the more expensive cities and stuck to going to bars in the more affordable destinations. There are only so many $14 Vodka and Oranges you can justify on a trip without eating away your travel budget.

Potential Savings: One less cocktail a day at $15, total saving of $105 for the week

7. Pack your lunch and cook occasionally

I actually never thought I would be saying this to anyone but here I am. A couple of weeks ago we were in the Faroe Islands and Iceland and were astounded at the price of food! We thought we lived in one of the most expensive cities in the world but this was a whole new level of expensive! On our first day in the Faroe Islands we paid $40 for two small sandwiches and two small bottles of soft drink. Ouch! We planned to stay eleven nights out of thirty in Europe in Faroe and Iceland and knew paying such hefty food bills three times a day was going to completely blow our travel budget.

Instead of forking out $50 plus per meal we grabbed some groceries to make breakfast at our accommodation each morning to save us buying one meal each day. We also grabbed a few ingredients to make up some sandwiches to take on the road for lunch a few of the days. A handful of the nights we cooked or heated up frozen meals. It’s not something you probably need to do for a short overseas trip in an affordable location but is extremely helpful when you are planning a longer stay, particularly in the more expensive destinations where eating out day to day is going to cost a lot more than you expected.

Potential Savings: Eating breakfast at your accomodation total savings $15 to $30 per day

8. Shop less

I know a lot of people who travel plan to go shopping potentially leading to Mindless consumption. I’ve never really understood this myself, I can shop any day of the week in Sydney and don’t feel spending my time on holidays stuck inside four walls at a mall is a valuable use of my time or airfare. Since I don’t shop on holidays unless I really need something, I not only save myself money when travelling but save myself time. Time that I would much rather use exploring a new city and country, not on finding stuff I can cram my home with.

That doesn’t include the nuisance of lugging around heavy, packed to the brim luggage on your flights or paying excess baggage fees which seem to be getting more and more exorbitant. Once we cut out unnecessary shopping on our holidays it meant we could afford to travel more often and didn’t need to save up a whole bunch of excess cash for spending.

Want to know how to pack minimally for your next trip. Check out these 16 Easy Tips for your next trip!

Potential Savings: Not shopping everyday $100+?

9. Be selective with souvenirs

On our first couple of overseas trips we felt the need to bring home souvenir from each place we visited. How could you show that you’d been to Thailand without a key ring to show? You name it we bought it; decorative souvenir plates, key rings, snow globes (which always seem to break :/) and a new fridge magnet from each city. That didn’t include the souvenirs we bought back for family.

Soon enough we found ourselves running out of walls and space to house them all.  And I’ve got to be honest with you, apart from a select few displayed around our home, we never really looked at the others sitting on the shelf. We realised that we probably didn’t need all these trinkets to remember our holidays and that the majority of them were really just dust collectors. We decided to limit our souvenir collection for future trips and decided to be a little bit more creative about what we did bring home.

This past trip we limited our souvenirs to coins we collected from each location, ticket stubs from places we visited on our trip, post cards for our family and a small number of post cards we picked out for ourselves. We also took many photos to remember our travels. Not buying souvenirs made travelling easier as we weren’t risking going over our weight allowance and didn’t have to worry about having breakables in our bag that might get damaged in transit. If you do find joy in souvenirs pick one or two you would love to display in your home from your destination but just keep in mind if you do love to travel these are going to add up over time.

Potential Savings: resisting going overboard with souvenirs $50-100+

10. Pack thoughtfully

By bringing what you need you can reduce the money you spend at your destination and help your travel budget. Unless you do your research, some destinations can really set you back for things you can buy affordably at home. I lost one of my gloves in Iceland and the cheapest pair I could find as a replacement was $40. I left my raincoat at home due to limited space in our luggage thinking my umbrella would be fine, and after realising that umbrellas are redundant in the European weather, the cheapest raincoat at my destination that I could find was from $150 AUD. Keeping a travel check list can help you to remember all the important things you will need for your trip and save you buying them! Packing a Capsule Wardrobe can go a long way to covering you for all your clothing needs on your holiday.

Potential Savings: The cost of buying clothes etc $20+

11. Utilise Free WIFI

Save money on your travel budget by taking advantage of free WIFI. Buying a sim at each of your destinations can add up. For most of our destinations we got away with using our Airbnb’s WIFI and Free WIFI in cafe’s. Downloading Google Maps of our destinations also really helped us to access the maps we needed whilst out and about.

Potential Savings: Staying in an airbnb and not paying the $10+ a day WIFI charge for each phone, potentially $70 per person a week

11. Keep your mind open to alternative tourist attractions

Consider alternative options, outside of main tourist areas to help your travel budget go further. In Iceland, we realised that we’d left it too late to book the Blue Lagoon Pools. We decided rather than to go at night we’d try and find another Geothermal pool on our road trip. We found one on our route that ended up only costing $80 for the both or us versus the $200 + it would have cost had we booked at the Blue Lagoon. It ended up being a good thing and meant we had saved a fair wad of cash for more adventures!

Potential Savings: Picking a lesser known tourist attraction for a similar but more affordable one without the crowds $100

12. Shop around for your travel card

Travel cards can charge a range of fees and eat into your spending money. After purchase fees, reload fees, currency conversion fees, ATM fees and the like they can quickly eat up your fun money. When shopping around be sure to compare as many options on the market. A good starting point is Choice’s Travel Money Card comparison but be sure to check the cards website before deciding to ensure you have the most up to date information.

A good starting point is to find a card that has no purchase or reload fees (fees to add money to your card), and ideally one with a low currency conversion charge or none at all and no ATM fees. I recently used the Multi-Currency Cash Passport which had limited fees mainly related to Australian ATM use. Another one I was keen on getting but ran out of time to get  was Virgin’s Velocity Frequent Flyer Card which also allows you to earn points as you spend.

Potential Savings: $5 ATM fees per withdrawal, $10 reload fees, conversion fees

13. Set a daily budget before you leave for your holiday

Don’t wait to arrive at your destination to think about the travel budget. Before we left for our trip we set a daily budget and converted that amount in each currency we needed based on how many days we were staying in each. This gave us a stopping point so we could visibly see when we were nearing the end of our budgeted spending money.

If you are budgeting $150 a day as a couple and staying somewhere for two weeks, only convert $2100 in spending money. If you need more you can always add more later, but that limit will help set you a guide day to day for whether you are within your travel budget or over and you can adjust your spending accordingly. It’s best to research the cost of local restaurants, transport etc from travel bloggers or ask a friend who has been before to get an idea of what  you should be budgeting.

Potential Savings: Sticking to your $125 a day travel budget rather than not having one and ending up spending $200 a day or $500 extra than planned over a week

How do you travel on a budget? What are your tips for stretching your dollar further whilst still having an amazing, fun holiday? Share your tips in the comments below 🙂

Want more tips on how to save money for your next trip? Check out these 10 Easy Tips to Save Money on Your Groceries! 

 

 

Minimalism

16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel

What you pack can have a huge impact on the enjoyment of your travels. Packing with less can ensure an easier, less stressful travel adventure! Photo by: STIL

I’m back! I’ve just spent an amazing month travelling around Europe. It was my second trip there and I tried to soak in every minute of it. Of course every holiday must come to an end and I was quite glad to be home after a month of hauling our bags around from destination to destination.

This trip was a bit different than past travel as we were spending the first leg of the trip with the band doing a couple of shows so had to travel with our guitars as well as our luggage to all destinations. Unfortunately sending our stuff home was not an option. Many dollars were spent on that luggage, carting it across eight flights not too mention much the difficulty of carrying around 8kg backpacks on top of our other baggage. Not to say that we packed excessively but the situation certainly wasn’t ideal.

I looked over at travellers with one small carry on bag and envied them to no end! A man caught my eye walking around at Buckingham Palace with his tiny suitcase. At the same time, I watched people in the check in lines with bag after bag of stuff trying to assess what on Earth they possibly needed to bring in all those bags. (Faroese and Icelanders you are completely exempt your prices are ouch!). I knew where I wanted to be on the packing spectrum!

I was keen to take on the challenge of fitting our stuff into one suitcase for a month in Europe to see how little I could travel with. After travelling numerous times around the world I feel like with each trip I learn to get by with less and less and definitely feel that having less is more.

Here are 16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel that have helped me keep our baggage minimal and essential.

  1. Use packing cubes to organise clothing.

I have never used these previously but was convinced after watching many packing videos that they were bound to make life on the road easier and more organised. On most trips I have found myself trying to find a sock or pajama top or something that was lost in the midst of my luggage bag, only to destroy the organisation of my bag in order to find said item. With these I could simply take them out and place them in a drawer or shelf and easily find what I needed.

These were a complete lifesaver on our trip. At one point we were over our baggage limit and facing the prospect of open our baggage and go through our unmentionables in view of the line behind us, we simply grabbed one of the larger packing cubes out to hold and voila we were under the baggage limit! They also give you a little piece of mind that if you ever had an issue with your luggage breaking you can easily grab your packing cubes and avert any huge crisis!

2. Use small containers for beauty products, creams etc. 

If you’re anything like me you have a myriad of beauty products that come with bottles of all shapes and sizes. When you are trying to pack these for a trip those large bottles can quickly add weight to your bag and take up considerable space. I love travelling but I am not going to do without my creature comforts.

For the past few trips I have been utilising small containers to help myself pack minimally and reduce the amount of products and large bottles I need to bring. These are great for storing bulky products like night creams, hand creams, moisturisers, toner, exfoliator etc.  They can be found at any cheap shop, grocery store, chemist or online. I particularly love the silicon squeezable tubes that are so easy to use and store a lot more of your product! I now can easily fit my different beauty needs without taking up too much valuable space.

3. Roll your clothing

Rolling your clothing can help you better organise your stuff. It can help you see what you have at a glance rather than piling everything on top of one another. It also helps to reduce your clothes from getting wrinkled. Some believe rolling your clothes creates more space but Tortuga Backpacks suggest that it only moves the space from the sides to the top of the bag. On my trip I personally felt like rolling did make it easier to fit more stuff in so would recommend it. Rolling your socks and packing them into your sneakers or shoes can save some extra space as well!

4. Pack enough clothes for seven days only 

It can be amazing how long you can survive with a small wardrobe! For Europe I packed two pairs of jeans, two other bottoms, a dress, two jackets, a pair of swimmers, two pairs of boots and a pair of thongs and about ten shirts. I thought that that would be a minimal wardrobe but when having access to a washing machine in our Airbnbs I really never got close to running out of clothes. If you have access to a launderette or washing machine or even, just hand wash your clothes as you need them you can help you get away with even less.

5. Pack a capsule wardrobe 

By packing a capsule wardrobe you can pack minimally and ensure that your outfit packing choices can mix and match and give you a range of outfits to choose from. By sticking to 2-3 main colours you can ensure most clothes can be worn with others and increase your options.

6. Review the weather of your destination before packing

On my first trip to Europe I was still new to overseas travel and really had no idea what weather I was in for. I packed a few summery items as we travelled in late September and I figured like our Autumn, it would still be reasonably warm. It wasn’t. I did not think to pack scarves, beanies, gloves or a warm enough jacket and so a lot of my packed luggage went unworn. The same thing happened for Thailand, I packed two pairs of jeans and didn’t wear them after I got off the plan and ended up having to buy a few clothes that were more weather appropriate.

I knew the next time I travelled I would be more prepared! Before you head overseas review the weather forecast for the locations you are going and research on Pinterest what to pack for your destination and the appropriate season. Don’t pack a bag full of things you won’t need and regret leaving the things you will at home.

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits of a Smaller Home

7. Limit shoes 

Where possible limit your shoe selections to 2-3 pairs including a pair of comfy walking shoes. On my first Europe trip we both ended up binning a pair of shoes we had that became increasingly uncomfortable to walk in and ended up buying new ones which isn’t the easiest when you are in a foreign country (and certainly not cheap!). Don’t get carried away trying to bring a shoe for each occasion or outfit. Ideally bring something for walking, something dressier and if necessary something activity appropriate like hiking books or things if you plan to go to the beach.

8. Download Audio and eBooks before you leave home

In the past I would often bring two books to read on a trip. One I was currently reading and another to start when I finished. Sometimes this became bothersome particularly if I didn’t end up reading much on my trip and still had to lug around a book. Give yourself some space and get the Audible or Kindle app before your trip  or OverDrive to save on valuable space without forgoing your reading.

9. Keep make-up minimal

Make up products can easily get out of hand travelling. Stick to your favourite products and avoid doubles. Bring one foundation, one eyeshadow pallete, blush and so on. Just stick to the basics. I found on my trip after bringing a small bag of make up I ended up only using about six items each day. My ideal six were; mascara, eyeliner, BB cream, blush, & an eyebrow pencil with some lucas paw paw ointment.

10. Get a travel perfume/cologne spray bottle

Bringing a bulky perfume bottle can be avoided by buying perfume travel bottles. This also avoids the risk of your bottle being damaged in transit and save you valuable space. (NB: Try and find a quality one, my $2 version leaked on the flight over :()

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out The True Cost of Our Stuff

11. Limit Hair Tools, products and accessories

Pack minimally by not going overboard with the hair stuff. If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb they will most likely provide you with a sufficient hair dryer. Bring the hair straightener if you absolutely have to. You’re on holidays leave the fancy stuff for home!

 

12. Limit your accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum, the last thing you want to worry about overseas is losing a sentimental piece of jewellery. Pick a handful of accessories to bring with you and leave the others at home. Two necklaces, one bracelet, a belt, a watch, one other pair of earrings and a pair of sunnies should be more than enough to accessorise with. Wear one piece and pack the other to limit what is in your baggage even further. I bought two necklaces, a watch, sunnies and a mix of bracelets and that was plenty for me 🙂

13. Use products that double up for other uses

Using Dr Bronners soap can give you one soap for a variety of uses. It can be used as a facial cleanser, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and hand soap to name a few. This can save you bringing many other products or buying any at your destination. Moisturiser can be used as eye make up remover as well as shaving cream. A microfibre towel can be a back up towel as well as a handy tool for drying your washing.

14. Pack clothes that are easy to dry

Where possible pack a few items that can be washed and dried easily to help your clothes dry faster. The quicker your clothes dry the quicker you can be wearing them again.

15. Downsize your handbag and wallet

Before you leave for your trip, clear out your wallet of any receipts, cards etc that you will not be needing. Only bring the essential. Leave your over-sized handbag at home as well and opt for a smaller bag that will be easier to carry day to day. Preferably an over the shoulder ones so your hands can be free.

What are your tips to pack minimally? Do you travel with the same number of clothes for each trip? Share your tips for travelling minimally below in the comments 🙂