As much as we love to travel, it can get pricey. Other times, your biggest expense is the flight and the rest of the way you’re in the clear. Today we’ll give you some tips to help save money on countries that aren’t as budget friendly as Thailand, where a meal will cost you $2. It’s not easy to travel to expensive places on a budget, but if you follow the advice from this article you will be able to experience a pricey country, without feeling like your missing out on anything along the way.
NO FOMO (fear of missing out)!
For me, Scandinavia has a magical allure. Something about their design, impeccably clean streets, and kind people make me never want to leave (even for the winter!). Unfortunately, as a student, I can barely pay for a couple of $10 beers without feeling regret and wondering how I can afford to see everything, taste the local cuisine and keep a roof over my head for the entire trip. After a couple of learning experiences, I have cracked the code. Although we all have different travel styles and are willing to cut costs in certain areas, there’s hope for everyone’s budget.
Also Read: Why Eastern Europe is a Backpackers Paradise
Somethings Gotta Give
Unfortunately, the most obvious way to save is by not spending money or giving up some things. When traveling to expensive countries here are some of the best things to avoid if you want to save money:
Food and Drinks
If you love to experience the nightlife in a country you’re visiting, it may be hard for you to cut alcohol out of the budget. Unfortunately, alcohol can really do some damage to your pocket. If you are looking to try the local adult beverages, check out the supermarkets for more affordable prices on local beers, wines, and liquors. You can also check out the duty-free shops on your way out!
Eating out at restaurants, for me, is something that is nearly impossible to give up when traveling. If you absolutely can’t give up dining out, your best option is to do some research before you head out. Sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp are perfect for this. Most user comments include pictures of menus or their bills, which can give you a solid idea if the restaurant has prices that you can afford.
Last week, I visited Iceland with my boyfriend. We did our research and found this AMAZING hotdog stand that was not only a delicious local spot but CHEAP! Moments like this make the experience even more memorable, even if you do have to eat standing up!
In addition to doing some restaurant research, cooking your meals is always an efficient way to save a couple bucks. One of the best ways to experience a new place like a local is to go grocery shopping! You can get a glimpse of all the local flavors and see unique foods/ingredients that you might not even see on a menu in a restaurant! Take the chance to browse around and buy snacks ahead of time. Even if you aren’t looking to cook a meal at home, stocking up on some fruits or granola bars can keep everyone going between meals.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, going on a shopping spree would be one of the top 5 things I would do after receiving the prize money. Unfortunately, I haven’t won the lottery and my chances of that happening are very slim. It pains me to admit that shopping is an unnecessary expense. When traveling to expensive countries make sure to keep the shopping at windows-length. Buying things, especially when you are dealing with foreign currencies, can add up quickly! Better to keep your souvenirs limited to the traditional postcards, magnets or whatever affordable little trinket you collect from your trips.
Transportation, in general, is a difficult expense to reduce in your budget. Walking, of course, is always a great way to save money if you have the time. Renting bikes to get around the city is also a great way to save money.
Depending on your destination, renting a car can save you loads of little transportation fares. If you are a group or family, this can be a great idea if you feel comfortable driving in a foreign country. Most budget rentals cost about $70- $80 dollars per day. If you have far distances you want to cover on your vacation, I highly recommend renting a car.
Public transportation can add up. Particularly in places like London where a one-way ticket from the airport to the city center can cost you at least 15 pounds. Purchasing public transportation tickets from the machines can be overwhelming, especially when there is a line of impatient customers waiting behind you. Take a second to ask an employee if they offer a day or week pass for the public transport. These ticket passes often are a huge money saver as opposed to the alternative to buying single use tickets.
Without a doubt, taxis are costly. Regardless of the costs in a specific country, I am always wary of hopping into a traditional cab. I have personally been the victim of cabbies taking advantage of my foreign-ness one too many times. When arriving in a new city, take the chance to check Uber quickly. You can check the estimated cost of the fare, free of charge before requesting a driver to pick you up. Uber for me has been a travel lifesaver. And, if you are in a country that doesn’t support Uber, you still have options. Lyft or GrabCar are gaining popularity worldwide.
Save On Accommodation
Apart from flights, accommodation usually creates the largest expense on a trip. Hotels are typically high priced and out of my budget. I am also not as willing to sleep in a hostel dorm with 10 bunk beds to a room, even though I have had my fair share of fun experiences doing it. Airbnb is a great alternative to finding affordable accommodation without sacrificing any comfort. Depending on your group size, you can rent an entire home to share and split the price between the group. This is better than paying per bed in a hostel or sandwiching as many people as possible into a small hotel room. Some Airbnb’s do have added charges for groups over a certain number so make sure to look out for that.
Airbnb also offers the option to rent a private room in someone’s house or even a shared room. Thus far, I have only personally experienced either renting the private home or renting a private room in a shared apartment. The latter alternative is a great way to meet a local, and get some advice on places to eat, sights to see and general knowledge about the city you are visiting. An alternative to a hotel’s concierge, an Airbnb’s host can be just as informative, if not more!
Traveling can be a costly expense, but only if you let it! Don’t be deterred from expensive countries if you are on a tight budget. Taking a little extra time to research and plan will not only help you save money but feel accomplished and organized! Traveling to different places all present their own unique challenges. Conquering these challenges makes traveling an even more rewarding experience.
What are your money-saving travel tips? Comment below!