Good budgeting is important to any digital nomad lifestyle. After spending a big part of my life travelling, I’ve learnt a few good ways to budget travel, and make my money stretch further.
Accommodation is one of the most expensive parts of travelling. There are a couple of easy ways to reduce this cost.
Not only is it a great way to save some cash, it is also one of the best ways to see a new place. Staying with locals means you get to experience the best parts of a town or city, have an unique experience, and avoid of the tourist traps.
A few tips for the best couchsurfing experience:
- Put effort into your profile! If you have bothered to complete a profile or include any photos, then why should you expect someone to let you stay for free in their home. Add some photos, descriptions and if you don’t have any references, try and get some from some friends or family. Hosts like to see that they are hosting people that aren’t just trying to save a few bucks, but that are looking to meet locals and experience the local culture.
- Spend time with your host and treat their home like you would your own. This means, clean up after yourself, turn lights off when you leave the room and don’t leave your shoes on in the house.
- It’s always a nice gesture to thank your host by cooking a meal or buying a small gift, such as a box of chocolates. If you’re on a really tight budget then a thank you card works as well.
- Don’t forget your host when you leave. It’s always nice for the host to receive email updates from you, or even a postcard from your hometown once you return home.
- Work Exchange
Work a couple of hours a day in exchange for room and board. There are many good sites to check out for this (helpx and workaway are two of the most popular). The same tips apply as couchsurfing – respect the place you are living. Also make sure you have an idea of what exactly is involved in the job before arriving. Work hours can range from 3-4 hours a day, to 8 hours a day.
If you want some privacy and don’t want to share accommodation, then Airbnb is a good option. Rent an entire apartment for a quarter of the cost of staying in a motel or hotel. If you are travelling with friends, then it’s also usually cheaper then staying in a hostel.
Transport can be another huge expensive, but there are a few ways you can reduce this expense.
- Take public transport
Most cities have a good public transport network. When you first arrive into a city, head to the nearest tourist information to pick up bus and train schedules and maps. Also look for accommodation that is close to a central bus or train line. Accommodation doesn’t have to be centrally located, as long as it’s well connected.
- Rent or buy a bike
A great way to explore a city is by bicycle. Most cities in developed countries have very good bicycle networks, with well-connected cycle paths. Even in less developed countries, you’ll find that the locals tend to get around on bicycle, so though there might not be designated cycle paths, it’s relatively easy to get around. If you plan on staying in a city for a few months, then instead of renting a bike, buy a cheap bike. You will soon make back the money you’ll save on public transport costs.
Sometimes public transport options can be unreliable and really slow, and you may want to look for an alternative transport option. Uber might be it! Uber is becoming an international success, and in some cases it’s actually safer and more reliable than the local taxi service. Once you set up your account online and download the app to your phone, you can use it anywhere in the world. The fare is often cheaper than the local taxi companies, and you don’t have to worry about being ripped off, as the fare is set from before you get in the taxi.
Food, tourist attractions and travel insurance are just a few of the other expenses every digital nomad will encounter.
- Eat at local restaurants
Avoid the touristy hotspot and their overpriced restaurants, and instead head to local restaurants. Not only is the food generally better, the prices will be cheaper.
- Cook your own meals
If you are staying in a hostel, airbnb or couchsurfer’s house, then most likely there will be a kitchen you can use. Instead of eating out every night, buy your food from the supermarket and cook at your accommodation. Another great option is to buy food from the market or supermarket and have a picnic.
- Travel to cheaper countries
Pick cheaper countries to travel in or spend the most time in. Not only will you save money when you are there, your travel insurance is likely to be cheaper. Countries that have expensive medical care also require the most expensive travel insurance.
- Avoid the tourist traps
Instead of visiting the tacky tourist traps, pick cheaper tourist activities. This could include, free walking tours, hiking up to view points, visiting farmer’s markets, people watching, or going to free music events or festivals. A lot of museums also have discounted or free times that you can visit their exhibitions.
Do you have any budget travel tips that you’ve picked up during your travels? If so, we’d love to hear them!.