I’ve read countless blog posts on ways to save money while travelling. I’m guessing you have too. They’re practical and logical yet essentially 97% of budget travel related articles state the same things.
Having spent time in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America over the last few years I’ve done well overall to keep expenses to a minimum.
What I’ve noticed is to not leak money, it’s mainly about the mindset and so I’ve come up with a few suggestions that are out of left field (I hope) to help you save money while travelling.
These aren’t easy to do, but that’s the point. To save money in the long term so you can keep travelling longer, it takes conscious effort
Don’t like them? Let me know! Be careful not to write them off right away though.
RELATED POST: 116 QUICK & EASY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Write Down Every Expense Everyday
I don’t have a specific daily budget, but I have a rough idea of what I’ve spent every day. From July 2015 to March 2016 I wrote down every expenditure in Trail Wallet.
What it made me realise is the amount of money I’d spend on extras that I didn’t need. Extra sauce on kebabs, topping up my phone with extra data (Wi-Fi is everywhere in Asia) and how much I donate to the Coca-Cola Empire (granted, I still do).
I also liked the reward aspect, if I don’t spend X on Y for the next five days I can do this awesome experience I normally wouldn’t think I could afford.
Post reward, you’re no worse off budget wise, but 13x better off experience wise. Great success.
Don’t think you’ll remember? Make it a habit however possible. I didn’t write down my expenses for April or May as I fell out of the habit but will take the 30 seconds to do so each night starting again in May (this is published on the May 3rd, success so far).
Monitor Your Pee Colour
You probably take a squizz anyway. Making sure no colours outside the usual spectrum are evident. But you don’t think about it that much ultimately.
Next time your stream is concentrated in a deep yellow or amber colour, there’s a good chance you are dehydrated. Especially if you’ve been rarely needing to pee.
Get some fluids (water, no more beer) into you ASAP. When your dehydrated, two common side effects are:
- You get mixed signals, your body thinks it needs food, but really you need liquid ((source)
- Tiredness. When you are tired, you often think you need food to replenish your energy (source)
Food = $$$ & Water =
$$$ Free (most of the time).
Don’t like water? You’re probably addicted to sugar. You can always add a slice of lemon or cucumber to your water to baby yourself into liking water.
It’s easy to end up dehydrated on the road without thinking twice.
Fast For 24 Hours Once A Week
Intermittent fasting is something I started doing a a year or so ago having heard of it on the Tim Ferris Show. It wasn’t easy at first. I started off with 16 hour fasts, which sounds crazy but you probably do it fairly frequently after getting wasted on a Saturday night…
I finally managed to get a 24 hour fast complete and prefer doing this rather than regular 16 hour fasts while doing seasonal work like right now.
Budget travellers have a food allowance of somewhere between $5-15/day. If you fast once a week for 24 hours, you suddenly save $40-$60/month. Good for a couple more days of travel.
Just don’t go crazy when you eat your first meal after fasting, simply eat it like you would’ve anyway.
But it’s not healthy?
When people ask why I’m not eating, they always let me know fasting isn’t healthy. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown their are plenty of benefits. I’m not a health expert, so better to refer to these links: link one, link two, link three.
It also encourages more self-discipline. This can help you stop saying yes to things that aren’t beneficial to you yet cost you a tonne in the long run.
Can’t hack 24 hours without food? Get a grip, you can and will not die.
Meditate For 5 Minutes Daily
I struggle with mediation consistently to this day, even after three years. I struggle in cities where it’s easy to get trapped in the fast paced lifestyle even when travelling.
Mediation has plenty of benefits but it can save you money on the road in two ways:
- You’re more conscious about your presence. You aren’t thinking about food in the future, which helps you stop thinking about food in the short term.
- You’re more mindful. I love impulse decisions and while impulse is all well and good, if you’re suddenly splashing out on luxury items you wouldn’t consider getting back home your funds will quickly drain.
Haven’t got five minutes to meditate? Come on mate, it’s 5 minutes of the roughly 960 minutes you’ll be awake that day. You got this!
If you want to feel inspired, check out this episode on the Tim Ferriss Show with Tara Bach.
My favourite meditation app is Calm.
Research The Cheapest Way To Get To And From The Airport
I get it, you’ve just arrived in a new country after a long flight where you didn’t sleep and are aching all over. Suck it up sunshine. Don’t just get into the taxi and pay through the roof for the 45 minute drive to/from the airport.
Taxi’s to and from the airport are one of the biggest scams around! So to are local tourism’s ‘recommended best way’ to get too and from Airports most of the time.
A Few Examples:
- Melbourne, Australia. The Sky Bus costs $18 each way. It’s possible to take public transport for less than half that.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They recommend the new airport train. By taking a bus you save a few dollars, maybe it takes a few extra minutes but you end up at the same transport station in Kuala Lumpur.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand. There’s a registered taxi service where you pay roughly 200 baht for a ride. If you go straight outside the arrivals terminal, you can grab a red songthaew for 40-60 baht that will take you to your accommodation as well (make sure you know where your accommodation is in advance or go to Thaepae Gate and wing it from there).
That’s a few ways to save money while travelling to/from airports off the top of my head. There’s no better way to dive into local culture than travelling to and from an airport as most locals do.
Just make sure you get on the right train/bus. I failed once in Bangkok, assuming I knew what way the city was from the airport so jumped on a bus. 30 minutes later I realised I was heading the wrong direction. Fun times.
If you’re too tired from the plane ride to not catch a taxi. Good luck surviving the rest of your travels.
Well there you go. Five left-field ways to save money while travelling.
What do you think?
Am I just an over the top, mediating, bubbling, hungry rebel traveller with crazy ideas….or have these ideas sparked a plug or two in your brain.
I hope the latter, but feel free to comment on either.