Mr ESLT and I are by no means budget travellers, you will not find us staying in hostels or taking 12 hour overnight buses between cities. We are both lucky enough to have well paid full-time jobs with a high percentage of our wages each month being dedicated to travel. On the flip side we are also not five stars and champagne all of the time either, we do like to treat ourselves along the way of course but for us, we like to feel that we are getting value for money and attempt to save money where possible to ensure we can travel further or for longer. Budget-conscious travellers would be the description I would use.
Over the years we have found easy ways of saving a few quid here and there and here are our top 5 suggestions:
Book self-catering accommodation
Whether you book an Airbnb*, villa, cottage, lodge or apartment there are a number of benefits which you do not get from a traditional hotel. Whenever we travel for anything longer than a few days we always ensure we factor some self-catering accommodation into our itinerary. Eating out is great however it can become expensive, and if you are anything like us calorific, if you are doing it morning, noon and night for a prolonged time. Therefore, having a kitchen means you can make sandwiches to take on your travels for lunch and prepare and cook your own breakfasts and dinners whether it be a full Sunday roast or a simple shop bought microwave meal, which will not only save you money but also allow you to make healthier choices too.
Take a free walking tour
You will find free walking tours in most cities around the world. A quick google of ‘free walking tours in….’ usually does the trick. We have taken them all over the world from Sydney to San Francisco and have always found them very informative and entertaining. Information regarding meeting point and time are usually found on the internet; therefore all you have to do is show up and follow the tour guide who is more often than not a local who will show you all the top things and add in their local knowledge too. The majority we have taken have lasted around two hours and even though they are called free tours, the guides have given their time and do work for tips, so don’t forget to show your appreciation. It genuinely shocks me when people walk away without paying a penny!
Invest in a city card
Sometimes you have to spend money to save money and city cards and passes are a great example of that. Again, most major cities sell city cards either through their tourist boards via Tourist Information Centres and in the biggest cities i.e. New York, private companies also offer a city pass. The idea is by buying the cards or passes and visiting all or sometimes most of the attractions they offer free or discounted entry to, you will, in fact, save money. We have used city cards and passes on numerous occasions and have saved money, some of the best ones include free transportation sometimes to and from the airport is included too and discounts at restaurants and cafes sometimes up to 50%, meaning extra savings. Using them once or twice will not benefit you, therefore you need to consider how long you have in a certain place and what you plan to visit before investing in one.
Walk where possible
There are so many cities that are easily walkable yet many people will choose to pay for transportation instead, London is a prime example. The underground is a wonderful thing for going long distances, however, more often than not if your journey is a short one it actually takes less time to walk it then it does to take a tube. Therefore not only does this save you money but it also allows you to take in your surroundings and not just the sweaty, packed carriage on the underground. Obviously, if walking is not an option because of ability, duration, distance, weather, destination etc then we always choose cost-effective transportation options, we are massive fans of hop on hop off buses, which allow us to see and visit attractions and travel with ease between them and also local buses and trams where available. Taxis are always our last option unless we are in a rush to get somewhere.
Check out free attractions
Most cities have some free attractions that are worth checking out. If you live in or are visiting the UK then you must visit some museums because over here – they are ALL free. Yes from the British Library, Natural History Museum and the V&A in London to the Streetlife Museum of Transport in my hometown of Hull in Yorkshire. You can while hours, if not days, away without it costing you a penny. Some exhibitions are payable however it’s never more than a few quid and if you are watching what you spend you don’t have to visit them unless they really pique your interest. Again a quick ‘free attractions in …..’ google search normally returns a raft of places from castles and stately homes to animal sanctuaries, failing that visit the local Tourist Information Centre who can provide you with relevant information and usually an accompanying leaflet. Proving you don’t have to spend a fortune to explore the place you are visiting.
Are you a budget conscious traveller? How do you save money so you can travel for further or longer or simply splash the cash on other aspects of your trip? We’d love to hear your tips and recommendations.
* You’ll get £25 in travel credit when you sign up, and I’ll get £15 in travel credit once you complete a trip. To take advantage of this offer simply book via this link!
* Collaborative Post