Saving for travel is only one part of the secret to making your overseas trip last longer. It is not only about setting savings goals and reaching them, but it is about managing that money better to let it take you further in your travels. We’ve partnered with People’s Choice Credit Union to provide you with the biggest money savers overseas: 50 ways to save every day, everywhere abroad (aka saving money while you travel, not before you travel).
It all starts as soon as you walk out the door. Second to that, your best option is public transportation. Avoid taxis where possible as this will quickly eat into your adventure fund. Eat a big breakfast, especially if it is included in your hotel or hostel room rate. That way you won’t feel hungry until lunchtime, when you can refuel with a picnic lunch on the go from a deli takeaway or even a supermarket. Speaking of supermarkets, they are always cheaper for snacks than cafes so be sure to stock up on supermarket snacks in case you feel peckish on the road. If and when offered food, say yes, freebies are a great way to save. Instead of buying expensive bottles of water (also a waste of plastic), opt for a sturdy drink bottle you can refill throughout the day. When you really want to splurge on a local delicacy (like pralines in Belgium – yum), research online where you’ll find the best the night before so you aren’t disappointed with your investment. As an alternative, research where you’ll get the cheapest that still taste great. Eat vegetarian every so often and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save. Only order a main course when you go out for dinner and opt for a street stall dessert on the way home or a tub of ice cream from the supermarket to tuck into. Always eat with the season – no matter how much you like strawberries, opting for a bag of oranges might save you a tonne! Adapt to new tastes and try new things – beer is cheaper than water in some countries!
Keep a running tally of your daily expenses and compete against yourself to keep it under a certain amount per day, getting lower wherever possible. Be aware of overseas credit/debit charges, as a $5 fee every transaction soon adds up! Also keep an eye on the exchange rate to ensure you aren’t accidentally overspending. When in a cheaper country, do more shopping; you’ll save by spending up now and not spending up big in a more expensive country. Find out about tipping customs and act accordingly – not everywhere expects tips nor is it customary to do so (except of course North America). When you leave a country, be sure to request a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund on your souvenir purchases. Consider buying multi-trip travel insurance for a 12 month period if you travel a lot. Travel faster in expensive countries and take it slow in cheaper countries. Overnight trains are another great way to save on a hotel for the night and arrive in a new city the following morning. If shipping purchases home opt for the slowest and cheapest shipping rates (it might still arrive home before you anyway!)
Always ask about saver deals when booking buses or trains, as it might mean saving a tonne of cash just by leaving an hour later or travelling for a couple of hours longer. There are great free walking tours in most major cities now, just tip the guide what you think is fair. If staying at hotels, leave the toiletries at home. Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and soap are nearly always included in your room rate. If hiring a rental car, pack your own GPS to save on the daily charge. If you’re a student, don’t forget your student ID card for endless discounts! Swap souvenirs for buying things that will actually serve a purpose and be used back at home. Find your local ethnic food neighbourhood and indulge in tasty (and nearly always cheaper) food. Avoid restaurants near popular tourist attractions as they will always be overpriced. Even more generally, avoid touristy restaurants with photos of food (this never ends well). Family-run restaurants often offer the best deals with great prices, great service and great food. Otherwise, visit markets for delicious food at great prices. Before you cross a border, spend all the coins in your possession on snacks –they will be useless for the rest of your journey.
Earn money while you travel by becoming a digital nomad and working in an online industry that pays for freelance work. Write freelance travel articles or take great photos that you can sell. Don’t buy new things before you leave – like more clothes or expensive camera gear. Use your old and faithfuls. Spend more time enjoying nature – taking long walks, visiting a beach, or looking for wildlife. Learn key words of a new language so you show a sign of respect and are less likely to be ripped off. Moreover, learn how to ask for “tap water” and avoid rip-offs on expensive bottled water at restaurants. Skip phone calls and use free Wi-Fi to stay in contact with back home. Buses are usually cheaper than trains and while a little slower, will take you to the same destination (it’s the journey that matters in the end). Cars are often a better and cheaper option for groups. If driving, be careful of where you park to avoid expensive parking tickets! Solo travel is extremely rewarding, but sadly still more expensive than travelling with others. If you can, travel with a partner. Otherwise, hostels are your cheapest bet and for a reasonable alternative, try renting someone’s room through Homestay. Need more recommendations? Follow travel blogs that align with your style of travel and read their articles for tips and tricks. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask Google. Google always knows. Look up friends and family all over the world and ask to stay a night or two – just be sure to offer to return the favour down the track!
This post was written in collaboration with People’s Choice Credit Union.