One way that we can extend our journey abroad is by being smarter with our money and expenses. As a self-proclaimed expert on minimalism and international traveler, I am overly qualified to teach you all about spending your hard-earned cash on what’s important, on what we really need to get by and survive. Believe me, we only need a few basic things and in this post, I’ll explain to you what to buy and what we can leave behind.
You may not be able to apply all of these tips to your personal journey so just use whichever ones are beneficial to you.
Here We Go Then!
1. Take Advantage of Free WIFI Service
WIFI is available in many different places for free. Instead of paying for internet and phone services while traveling you can connect your devices to free WIFI in hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, buses, airplanes, hostels, or at your new friends’ homes. This way you’re spending less money on the internet and more money on what’s important, like buying tasty snacks, going out on Hot Dates or paragliding off of the side of skyscrapers (if you are the adventurous type).
Besides free WIFI, you should always keep your eyes peeled for other free stuff during your travels. Like free rides, coffee, fruit, clothes, parties or whatever!
2. Stop Drinking Booze
I know, this one sucks but if you really want to save a ton of money then you could stop drinking and going out to nightclubs, which are usually overpriced and filled with many people that live morally questionable lifestyles anyways. Of course, it’s fun to go out once in a while but if you think about how much money you’ll save, not to mention how much healthier you’ll be if you stay out of the clubs and go to bed at a normal hour then the benefits of not partying become crystal clear.
When I was backpacking in Miami, I stayed in a hostel and went out to the clubs once or twice because the South Beach nightlife scene is legendary. Most of the backpackers there woke up after 1pm, check out was at 10:30am. So every hungover sucker that slept in had to automatically pay for another night.
Ask yourself: Do you want to be a day or a night person?
You say, “Night person!”
Then you should shoot down to Miami where the beaches are gorgeous. The music is off the chain and dope as fck. You’ll meet beautiful people from every corner of the world and you can dance the night away till the break of dawn. Just make sure to carry around plenty of extra dollars in your pockets so you can really enjoy your time there. Miami is not a cheap city!
3. Stay out of the Really Touristy Areas
Does Disneyland, Paris, NYC, Machu Picchu, or the Taj Mahal really need more visitors? Why not visit the road less traveled and explore new environments? Places that haven’t already been photographed by millions and millions of tourists. Everyone is basically aligning their selfie sticks at the precise angle and taking the same exact selfie with the same picturesque background behind them.
Switch things up and go someplace different. Not only will you save money by going to less traveled locals but you’ll also be helping to boost the local economy and improving the lives of the locals. “But where do you recommend going, Charles?” Anyplace that isn’t very famous, popular or a big ass city will be a significant amount of money cheaper. I dare you to go out and explore. Get off the beaten track and go to the backwoods, to the mysterious lands outside of the trendy resorts and off the well-paved tourist trail which is usually a big rip-off anyways.
4. Buy Groceries in the Store
Another way to save cash is by buying groceries at the store or buying street food. Restaurants have a higher overhead because they have to pay rent, utility bills, employees and so forth. If you buy your food at a store or on the side of the road and eat at a park it will be cheaper. Of course, you may want to try the local cuisine in certain countries. Food is actually one of the areas where I sometimes splurge because I have a huge appetite and I like to eat well and experience new exotic foods.
I’ve seen really cheap people save money in restaurants by doing the following:
- Not giving tips to the waiters
- Not buying drinks, appetizers or desserts
- Two (or three) people sharing one main meal
- Inventing excuses, reasons, and scandals to not pay for their order
- Obtaining free ice water, packs of sugar and lemon slices to make their own freaking lemonade
I don’t recommend that you do any of these things. If you can’t afford a nice dinner in a restaurant then maybe you should cook a cheap meal at the hostel or save some extra cash before you embark on your big trip.
This Tripoart Blog Post has some amazing cooking tips and recipes for travelers!
5. Stay Away from Tours
Do you really need to bore yourself by paying someone to walk you around the city and explain things to you as if you were a little kid on a school field trip?
Or can you do your own explorations by wandering around and talking and engaging with the locals, who probably know more than the tour guides themselves? Remember, you have to pay extra for their time and services. Why not save some money and make new friends, invite them out for a coffee or a tea and let them explain to you the realities of living in their city?
6. Sleep in the Woods
If you don’t mind roughing it for a while, you can live in the woods like an old-fashioned caveman. Bath in a river or a lake. Cook your own grub over an open fire. Sleep in a cave or in a tent and enjoy the beauty of nature in the new country your visiting. You can stay out there for free for as long as you want and do whatever you like.
Just be careful that local bandits don’t find you and rob you or do something terrible like that. Make sure you are in a safe area. Besides the people, be careful with wild animals, like lions if you’re in Africa, polar bears in Alaska, gators in Alabama, hyenas in Angola, and deadly great white sharks and poisonous jellyfish along the pristine beaches of the Australian coast.
7. Don’t Buy Worthless Souvenirs
Most souvenirs nowadays are made in China, so it’s not like your even buying a locally made product. Your purchasing something that is mass produced in a factory by underpaid people from thousands of miles away, and shipped to wherever you are with the name of the country your in stamped on it. Does that little metallic Chinese-made Tour Eiffel displayed in a Parisian gift shop really need to sit and collect dust on your living room shelf back home?
Besides the added cost of buying gifts and souvenirs, they also add unnecessary weight to your gear which can become cumbersome during an extended journey abroad.
8. Buy Quality Products
Quality products will last many times longer than buying cheap crap and in the long run, will save you lots of money because you won’t always have to replace your gear after a little wear and tear. A high-quality backpack or pocket knife can last for a decade or longer. Even good quality boots can last a lot longer than cheap junk. There’s nothing worse than having the soles of your shoes flopping off while you are out on a hike in the middle of the wilderness or the strap of your backpack ripping off after you yanked on the thing a little too hard.
I still use some of the same stuff that I bought many years ago because I paid a little extra and I take care of my gear. Also; I didn’t accidentally fall off of mountains or do anything crazy like that, thank goodness!
9. Go Solo
When traveling with your wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, children or whoever, you will more than likely have to pay their way as well. That means buying more tickets, food, hotel rooms, and all that jazz that accompanies your traveling expenses. If you don’t mind being alone then travel solo. Just hop on a plane or a bus and go wherever you like. You can eat in crappy restaurants and stay in cheap hotels and no one will even know or complain about it!
This is beneficial because you decide your own itinerary and go and do whatever you feel like doing. If you do get bored and lonely at some point then you can mingle with the locals or with other travelers which is always fun and interesting.
Other Money Saving Posts:
I hope these little tips help you to save some hard-earned coins the next time you go on your journey. Be frugal with your money and travel “slower”. The more time you spend in a country the more you’ll learn about its culture and history. Want to spend two grand being pampered at a fancy resort for a week on some isle or spend two months in a new fascinating land for the same amount of money? The choice is up to you my friends!