Just because you are travelling that doesn’t mean you should be a spendthrift. On the contrary, travelling requires a certain level of financial management so that you do not end up grounded in foreign lands. Saving money when travelling also allows you to have extra for your next trip. So here are ten things to always remember while on the road, to help you rescue that extra penny from being unnecessarily spent.
Eliminate agents where possible
Travel agents are a crucial part of the travel industry. However, when you are travelling on a budget, you might need to cut off the middleman and do all the heavy lifting. This means booking flights, finding accommodation and sorting transportation. That might end up taking a lot of your time and energy, but at least you will have saved some cash.
Book connecting flights
Direct flights are always more expensive than connecting ones because they save you the time of having to wait at a layover. However, if you are not attending to an emergency, having a layover is not all bad. In fact, it is a blessing in disguise because if your layover is long enough, you can go explore the new country. You just have to make sure your luggage is safe and that you are back in time for your check in and flight.
Buses over flights
If you are travelling to a place accessible by road such as Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and most African countries, then choose to go by road than flying. Granted you will end up spending a lot of time on the road, but you will also save a lot of money (upto $100) and you will get to see beautiful scenery as a bonus.
Always use public transport
If you are travelling alone, always opt for public transport to get from one place to the other. These can be in the form of cabs, motorbikes, tuktuks or even public boats. Cost sharing with strangers is better than footing an overwhelming bill just because of comfort.
AirBnB/ Hostels/Couchsurfing/Camping over Hotels
In fact, unless your trip is being fully sponsored or you are celebrating a special occasion, you should always go for the cheaper accommodation options listed above. If you have a friend in your destination the better because then you won’t have to worry about accommodation costs. You will have to sacrifice privacy and comfort while on the road, but it is all for a good cause. Staying at communal spaces will allow you make new friends and learn new things on top of saving money.
Cook or eat local
Eating out in restaurants, you will find, will soon cripple your wallet unless you are eating street food. The latter is only advisable for those with a brave and strong stomach. Otherwise, ask about cooking options where you will be staying. Then buy your groceries from a market instead of a supermarket which are always more expensive.
Look for local guides
Instead of paying for a tour or trip, make friends with a local and ask them to take you around. Most will require monetary compensation but we are willing to bet that they will not be as expensive as a paid tour. Hostel receptionists, cab drivers and security guards at your sleeping quarters are the best people to ask about local tour arrangements.
Avoid touristy areas
All tourist areas will have hiked prices for non-residents. So unless the site is a must-see such as the Egyptian pyramids or Eifel tower, then focus on the less treaded sectors of the destination. These can be festivals, museums, nature walks, public beaches, local eateries or even traditional displays.
Avoid peak seasons
There are places with peak seasons, for example, the coastal area of Kenya has its peak seasons in December, April, August and September. The Maasai Mara has August and September as the busiest and thus most expensive months. And this is true for different places. During peak seasons the prices can be triple the normal amount and you will end up spending most of your money simply securing a place to sleep. Instead, plan your trip around the quiet months such as March, May, and June. Not only will the places be cheaper, but they will also be decongested and peaceful.
Always go for offers
There are applications and websites that announce the availability of offers on safaris, hotels, flights and camps. Always go for these offers even if they are in a different destination from the one you were planning for. The logic is, the destinations will always be there, but the offers are sparse and rare.