So I’m feeling like after one month, I know a few tips and tricks to travelling on a super tight budget while still enjoying the places you’re at.
A few disclaimers:
This is by no means a super comfortable lifestyle, nor is it sustainable long term or healthy or easy all the time.
So for most people budget travel through Europe means staying in a hostel or cheap hotels, buying meals that are around €10 and finding accommodation that is under €50 a night. For me, budget travel is couchsurfing to cut accommodation costs, or finding really cheap accommodation, no more than €15 a night, spending €10 or less a day on food and exploring by foot rather than even using public transport sometimes.
Couchsurfing. Obviously hostels are great for meeting other Australians because we are everywhere and apparently all of us can only afford a 12-bed mix dorm. If you want to sleep in a real house with a kitchen a pretty much private bathroom and all of that good stuff then check out couchsurfing. I haven’t done it THAT much so far but when I did I had an amazing time, not an issue. Locals who are on it, really want to share their city, country and culture with you, so why not let them and the ripe old price of FREE. Of course you want to help them out with things and clean up after yourself because they are giving up their home for you. If you can’t find somewhere to couch surf, give booking.com a go. Agoda.com is also good; although I find it hard to get free cancellation hostels on there, the pricing is usually cheaper. Date flexibility will also help with cheaper pricing. If you’re in Europe during the summer, spend your weekends in cheaper places because it could be a Monday night and the clubs will still be going, the weekends will just cost you more for the same thing.
Now so far I’ve only really been in Greece and so I’ll have a blog post up about travelling cheap in Greece soon but just in general, the tricks are fairly easy. I drank a lot of juice, not the crap sugary stuff but natural juice, which in Greece is actually fairly cheap. Also if you love orange juice and you’re there in the summer that’s great. Also if you have a kitchen, rice and pasta are great. For the last month I have really gotten around bread as well. Bread is seriously under rated. Go to dinner with friends you make (because you’re travelling solo) and just get side dishes instead of mains, or even just eat the bread and then it only costs you €1 or sometimes 90 cents.
Tourist attractions, sights, water sports and whatever else you can think of. I’m not saying don’t go to the Eiffel Tower or don’t get a quad bike for the day, but just think wisely. Maybe you can go to the Eiffel Tower and not go up it (trust me the view is very hazy anyway and it’s the same as any other view of any other city, why not walk up a hill instead). Maybe you can make a friend and share a quad bike so you can half the price (I did this and we needed up paying less than €15 euro for the whole day and that was everything we did – including petrol!). Do your research, weigh your options and before you impulsively jump into something, think about whether that activity will make your trip amazing or if you can live without it and still have a good day. From personal experience, most sights worth seeing are better from the outside for free anyway.
If you do decide to do something, be wary of add on prices. Be wary of tourism traps and check out what the internet says first because the internet is always right, right? Avoiding high costing mishaps is also important, i.e. don’t lose your phone, don’t break your things, lock your bag (I need to tart taking your advice), get travel insurance. The more street smart you are, the less likely you are to be pick pocketed (especially in Europe). I have spoken to so many people who had their phones stolen, wallets stolen, or at least had attempts and they caught them. Just be aware of your things, zip your bags on the same side every time so you know if something’s up. Also plan in advance, but have fluidity. I’m really bad at this and sometimes it works out for me but planning ahead can save you a lot of money. Booking last minute accommodation and flights especially during the European summer gets expensive fast. Get out a calendar and sort yourself out early on if you can. That being said, getting flexible flights or free cancellation accommodation can save you if you meet some cool people or don’t like a place as much as you thought you would. Keep that in mind, I know it’s a juxtaposition.
Basically what travelling super cheap comes down to is doing research, staying smart, being friendly to everyone (you never know who has something you might need one day) and not being impulsive. It is hard in the beginning but eventually you’ll pick it up.
I’ll be writing and posting a Greece ultimate budget travel guide in the next week or so while I am in Bulgaria (very exciting!) and I’ll give you tips on cheap islands, cheap food, cheap accommodation, and all sorts of things.
Jax Goes OUT.
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