Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tips and Tricks for Travelling on the Cheap

two backpackers on top of the hill. travelling

It’s not unusual to dream of creating memories and building an interesting life story through travel adventures overseas, but there’s one thing that gets in the way of many a well-meaning travel dream. Money can be hard to come by, especially for the young, the inexperienced, and university graduates who find themselves in an empty job market; however, there are plenty of ways to make your wallet work harder so you can get on the road sooner.

Work smart

Any job which gives you the option to fast-track your travel adventures can’t be so bad. A quick look on the Matador Network is all you’ll need to find out there are handfuls of too-good-to-be-true jobs awaiting those bitten by the travel bug, willing to do something daring like taste-testing Nutella, skiing, or drinking gin. For those kind souls who would rather spend their lives helping others, but also wouldn’t mind a holiday, there are even opportunities to fund your travel adventures by delivering lost luggage back to its owner. These are the kind of gigs you’ll be telling your grandchildren about, and it sure beats blowing two years’ worth of savings on a month in Europe and coming home to an empty bank account.

Lighten up

Taking your entire life on holiday with you can prove very costly when you’re paying additional baggage fees on every flight. The ten tips in Traveller’s piece on packing light range from basic ideas like “take less” to more drastic measures such as buying a wheelless suitcase so that the task of carrying your luggage forces you to pack less. The bottom line is that you probably won’t need your hiking boots in Greece, nor will you need your favourite swimming costume when you’re busy surviving the English winter chill. Pack smart.

Choose wisely

Your destination will have a significant impact on the cost of your holiday, so do your research before taking off. Goats On The Road lists Indonesia, Mexico, and India amongst the best spots for stretching your dollar, although you should be prepared to swap luxury for experiential value.  There’s something to that old adage, “you get what you pay for”, but at the same time, one of the great things about travelling is that you often get more for your money than you would at home.

Road pointers, travelling

Hit the road

Skipping hotels and hiring a camper van is a great way to cut costs; in fact, the humble road trip is such a time-honoured rite of passage that countless listicles have been written in its name. This one by The Outbound Collective features the likes of Canada, South Africa, Iceland and Scotland as a reminder that you don’t need to go to Europe for a great travel experience. If you’re not set on escaping the country for your travel fix, you can save the cost of a plane ticket by taking a car or van. There are so many incredible road trip options across Australia that you might never need another plane ticket.

If you’re currently lacking a sweet set of wheels, yet still unable to ignore the siren call of that road trip to the Great Barrier Reef, it might be time to investigate your options. According to Carzoos, reliability, price, and mileage are the most important criteria for a majority of car buyers, and as long as you’re not picky about colour, you’ll find a good match from a used-car dealer in no time.

Take to the couch

It may not come as a surprise that accommodation is one of the biggest expenses any traveller has to include in their budget. It may also not surprise you, then, that couch surfing is an increasingly popular form of accommodation amongst thrifty drifters. According to Nomadic Matt, Couch-surfing and its many copycat alternatives allow travellers to connect with and befriend locals, adapt their lifestyles, and, of course, save money. This is a cheap option, but it obviously involves some risk, so always read the reviews of a potential host, and keep your wits about you.

Localise

Besides food and over-priced souvenirs, one of the most expensive aspects of a holiday is the cost of getting around. In the interest of keeping your costs down, don’t be afraid to hang around in one place for a while – not only will you save money on travel, but you’re more likely to create a more authentic experience from your visit. Just ask Laura Yan from Thrillist: slowing down will give you the opportunity to live as the locals do. You could learn their language, make friends, or earn regular-customer status at that great bar within walking distance of your hotel.

Then again, if you’re more of a ‘places to go, people to see’ type, it could be worth looking into affordable travel options such as catching public transport or renting a bicycle.