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STA Travel Blog

51 Bite-size Budgeting Tips

There are myriad benefits to travelling on a budget: not least that it helps you to avoid floating above the majority of the population. If you set yourself a budget, you’re “forced” to eat like a local; sleep like a local; travel like a local; and think like a local.

As with life at home, sometimes you’ll step it up a notch (maybe grab a taxi instead of taking the bus); or wind it down (chow down on a baguette for brekkie) now and then.

You've saved all this cash; now learn how to avoid burning it | Image by aresauburn™

But how about when you’re on the road? What can you do to avoid the urge to splurge? That’s what we asked our wonderful Facebook community, and they came back with so many budgeting tips, we felt the need to share them here on the STA Travel Blog.

If you have some tips of your own, don’t miss the chance to share them — hit up the comments thread at the foot of this blog post, and share the knowledge with 1000s of travellers from around the world!

Money Saving Tips for Travellers

Take a set of hair clippers and give haircuts in exchange for food or beer x Beth Bee Goodenough

Tuna sweetcorn and pasta! Jenna Burgess

Always take a first aid kit. You never know when it’ll come in handy. Anne Farrell

Don’t over pack. It’ll cost you. Michelle Phillips

Hand sanitiser, and keep spare tissues with you! Natalie Patrick

Check internet banking as much as you can! Lou Talbot

Goon. Sarah Noyce

Definitely goon! Alex Mowbray

Arak… Paige Caulfield

Travel a dry country! Neil Hennessy

Use the loo on the long distance buses instead of paying to use the ones in the terminals! Mae Griffin

Don’t use ATMs with your card from back home… complete rip in Asia! In Oz, get on the goon. Daryl Russell

Get a Metro bank account or credit card. They don’t charge you any foreign ATM withdrawal fees. Saves me a fortune, and you don’t have to carry lots of cash at a time. Bec Clarke

Get food from local markets and cook in the hostel. Jessica Nerlich

Wild camping! Tom Davies

If you are going to be in another country for more than a week, and need to use your mobile phone for local calls or texting, it may well be cheaper to buy a bottom of the range Nokia on a PAYG tariff, than to pay your normal networks astronomical roaming charges. Also… cheaper to lose on the beach; in the river; by theft. James Bridges

Don’t try and live the expat life! Embrace the country you’re in, food is cheaper and it’s fun to try new things. And if you act as much like a local as you can, with their lifestyle, they’re less likely to rip you off x Helen Campbell

Keep tabs on the internet roaming on your phone settings Tom Millington

Lush shampoo bars are much lighter than bottles, and less liable to leak all over your clothes; and they last for ages so you don’t need to keep replacing them. Sylvi King

Get a job in a restaurant that feeds you, and look for any deals going on food and drink. Sme McErlean

Go food shopping at end of day when the fresh stuff becomes cheaper i.e bread and cooked chicken. Phillip Rayson

Don’t pay for WiFi! It’s always free: try Mcdonalds, Apple stores, or bars/pubs. Don’t be afraid to ask if thy have internet, and they will give you the password. Dacia Jones

Stock up on food from supermarkets! Sarah-Jane Wood

Blag! Use your charm to get things cheaper, for free, or gain entry to somewhere. Trust me, it works. You may have to buy a bunch of flowers as payment but if you don’t ask you don’t get! Matt Lauch

Car share, and relocation vehicles. Fran Chalmers

Work out your budget for the day and keep tabs – then if you don’t spend it, stockpile it to do the crazy expensive stuff. Cat Envis

Eat and drink with and where the locals do! Avoid over priced tourist traps x Kait Burke

Find a friendly moto/taxi driver who is recommended before you go out and get drunk. Get a number, tell them an approximate time and place, and stay safe. Christina Feilden

Couchsurfing: without a doubt the biggest money-saver, and means you get to meet locals and get tons of great recommendations. Laura Smith

Leave your mobile at home — roaming and data charges are horrendous and a pay-as-you go local SIM card is always cheaper for calls and messaging. Chloe Dickinson

Don’t pay for WiFi in the hostels, check for cafés with free WiFi. That way you get to eat with the money you would have spent on WiFi. Steve Terry
Buy local SIM cards as you go. Never pass up anything free (within reason). Go easy on the booze, more often that not it’s more expensive than your meal! Caryn Woolcock

If you stay in a hostel that offers free breakfast in the mornings, like toast and tea, steal some tea bags to use when you move on… saves buying your own! Aimee Anderson

Book into hostels that include breakfast. Fill up, eat as much as you can in the morning (and steal some food for the afternoon if you can!) Catherine McDonald

Consider value rather than price. Ian Howells

Don’t be afraid to take a risk, try new things, and do what the locals do. If the locals eat in that place, ride on that bus, or get their stuff from there, then it is probably perfectly fine and there’s no reason to think that you should have better. Amy Louise Ellice

Make friends along the way then go and visit them. They can show you the cheapest places to eat/drink and may even offer you their couch! Kate Bifield

Ask all your friends and family before you go who they know elsewhere in the world, and plan your trip around crashing at their places — no accommodation fees, just a nice smile and a thank you note will do for payment! Katherine Talbot

Chicken noodle sandwiches. Amber Grierson

Noodles! Laura-Jane Brown

If you must eat at an airport, (flying from Heathrow etc), pre-book into a Servisair lounge (from £12) and fill up on the free snacks and drinks. It’s cheaper than buying a meal with drinks in the public departures lounge, and a lot nicer too. James Bridges

Buy and cook food as a group, works out a lot cheaper than everybody individually eating. Becky Pennison-Bates

When travelling between towns and cities travel on the night buses or trains! That way, you save money by not paying for additional hostels or hotels. It’s 2 in 1: travel and accommodation for the night. Ben McCallum

Got shower gel? Hand wash your clothes. Kate Holden

Swap books. Morag Alison Murray

Write down everything you spend, if you’re away for a while it’s a good way of seeing where you’re wasting money. Also doubles up as a diary when you get back — bringing back all those memories of the time you got conned out of cash for a phonecard/taxi fare/coconut, or booked that detour via Borneo on a whim… ah, happy days. Sylvi King

Store money and valuables in wide necked twist off drinks bottles. Stephanie Wright

You meet so many people that are just sticking to bread and cheese or some other cheap and unexciting supermarket fodder… check out lunch menus instead. In Spain for example you can find three courses with wine and coffee for about 10 euros. Here in Prague you can get two courses and a small beer for 4 euros. Look out for deals. Neil Emdee Watkinson

Carry small banknotes so you won’t overpay if you can’t get change. And don’t use your credit card unless you reach an emergency spend. Nicola Edwards

Take free walking tours — they’re more informative and fun! Plus it’s up to you to tip the guide, which still cost less than an actual paid tour. Maisarah Asri

Make sure you have enough money, then have a budget plan written down justifying what you might spend the money on e.g how much would petrol roughly cost. Also bring some snacks, tinned food and drinks to save you money for a few days of your travel. Carmen Yip

Walk everywhere! Rebecca Hiscock

That should save you a fortune! For even more money saving ideas, visit the Travel Essentials page of our website for great deals on SIM cards, travel passes, and a range of discount cards! What’s your advice?
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Showing 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Happy 1st Birthday To The Blog! Here are our best bits… | STA Travel

  2. Biliie Boom Boom

    dont be an idiot, just pretend u live there, be wise, be stingey, dont get too drunk, and love life

    550 days ago
  3. Helen Bottomley

    Maybe STA could edit out the recommendations to steal stuff when abroad? Doesn’t look too great as an advert for your values or when tourist ends up in gaol and press coverage says they were following STA guidance!

    Personally if I were going to turn to crime abroad (which am not) I wouldn’t feel too clever if it were for a bread roll or tea bag!

    548 days ago
    • Nickie

      You took it personally…. When you book a hostel with breakfast, breakfast is included in the price-so you paid for it and you are allowed to eat whatever and as many as you want. They just take it for the road. Its not stealing at all!!

      512 days ago
    • Beth

      relax Helen, it’s only tea bags!

      435 days ago
    • Rose

      I totally agree, it’s not pleasant at all and doesn’t look good for STA. I run a bed and breakfast in the UK and have had to put locks on every door in the house due to people stealing. Hostels don’t make much money and being advised to steal from them – or anyone else – isn’t ok. STA where are your ethics?

      258 days ago
  4. Richard Howes

    Mind not to do a muckle stinkin kak on the buses if if you’ve trying to impress some new friends on your trip though. Could be frowned upon so probably worth a few pennies at the terminals to avoid that one! Great advice for peeing though from Mae Griffin

    422 days ago

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