• 15 September 2020

We all know that travel is a rewarding experience. No matter where you go, you will always learn something new and grow as a person. The main reason why most people don’t travel very often is that it can be quite expensive. Plane tickets are pricey, and accommodation can be as well. However, it all depends on how you travel. Over the years, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about savvy adventuring. Having gone around the block, we have found some really interesting ways to make things more affordable.

Here are a few shoestring travel tips that will help you to save a bundle, no matter where you travel:

Get smart with your food & drinks 

Get a refillable water bottle. In Venice, for instance, they have made a big push since 2009 to reduce trash. This is after they found tourists are generating a lot of trash – most of it plastic water bottles. Now they encourage visitors to fill their water bottles from the Venice aqueduct. This water source holds exactly the same water that is bottled under the San Benedetto label. Not only will you save a lot of money each day, but you will also be travelling responsibly. Do take note: not all cities have potable tap water. Check with your travel guide or a local before you drink from the tap.

If you do want to enjoy a restaurant experience in major cities, be clever. The further away from the big attractions that you eat, the cheaper it will be. For instance, in Rome, don’t try to dine close to the Roman Forum or Trevi Fountain. Take a stroll, get a little lost in the back alleys and find a place where the locals eat. It will not only be cheaper, but it will also be a lot tastier!

Travel tip: Avoid restaurants that feature English-language menus outside the establishment. This is a sure sign of a tourist trap with inflated prices.

If you’re fine eating on the fly, you can cut down your daily costs dramatically. Grab some street food and eat it somewhere where you can watch the locals go by. You will get a taste of local cuisine and local culture. Or have a picnic in a park! Find a supermarket and get some cheese, bread and fruit, and you’re sorted.

Never buy wine by the glass. Instead, buy it by the bottle. Per glass rates are greatly inflated. You can always take the bottle of wine with you to enjoy later at your accommodation. Going on a bus or train journey? Buy snacks before you leave. The price of in-transit food and drink are always much higher.

Keep an eye out to avoid scammers

Don’t take photos with people dressed as characters from local lore. E.g. a gladiator in Rome. You will often be charged a very steep price once you have the picture. Wiggling out of it causes a scene. This is why many travellers end up paying crazy prices.

Look for deals when choosing transport options 

If at all possible at your destination, rent a bicycle to get around. Places like Amsterdam are a cyclist’s dream. The entire city is planned to allow for convenient biking. This way you won’t have to pay any cab or bus fare. As a bonus, it’s also good for your body and the environment! If you are spending a long time in one city, look around for transport deals. You could find specials on small group train tickets, or buy one, get one free. Sometimes you can pay as much as 10% if you book your transport tickets online.

Be savvy with your day to day expenses

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money, or just to make your travels a little more convenient. For instance, when you need the restroom, public facilities can be a little disappointing. In that case, it’s worth it to get a coffee at a nice restaurant. Sit, order, and rather use the facilities there. Everything is bound to be cleaner and a lot more pleasant.

Also, plan your outings ahead of time. This way you can take advantage of ‘free days’ at museums and other places of interest. Booking certain excursions online also reduces the price of entry tickets. If you’re travelling in a group and your itinerary is not part of a set package, look into buying ticket bundles. Often, when you buy more than 10 entry tickets to a certain attraction, the price per head is reduced.

Travel tip: Don’t ever try to get on a bus/trolley without paying the fare. The fine is much worse than the upfront fare. As is the embarrassment.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can save some cash on your travels. When you hit the road with Expat Explore, you can rest assured that we have your back when it comes to savvy spending. Your tour guide is always on hand to recommend affordable eateries and places of interest. But even if you set out on your own, there are many ways to keep it affordable. It can even become fun to find inventive ways to stick to a daily budget. Here’s to trotting the globe without breaking the bank! See you out there…

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