Myself and Mat came away with the intention of wanting to travel and live/work in Australia for a combined total of a year. But since coming away we have realised that we want to be able to travel for as long as we can, mainly because we will never be as free as we are right now! So as you can imagine, budgeting has become a big part of our trip, nothing thrills us like getting a bargain meal or finding a lovely accomodation for very little. Whilst we saved enough for a thousand pounds a month, the aim isn’t to spend all of that each month just for the sake of it, to instead spend as little as possible whilst still doing the trips we want, having the neccessary 3 meals a day and a few treats (diving for Mat, spa for myself) here and there. I’d say that on average we have been spending nearer to 600-700 per month, which, if you do the maths, gives us at least a few more months of traveling out of what we will have left over. We plan on being in Australia working by September/October, which gives us a lot more freedom with traveling because it will enable us to earn a bit more and then travel for longer. Full travel route blog post coming soon!
For now though, I thought I would share how we have managed to stay under budget since we have been out here and the different things we have been doing to be money savvy. We’ve learnt most of these tips along the way so they’ve been tried and tested, if you’re heading off travelling sometime soon and you have a tight budget or just want to make your money go as far as possible, then this blog post is for you! I’m currently writing this blog post from quite possibly the most dingy and dirty internet cafe out there. It’s covered in dust, half the keys on my keyboard don’t work proprly, there’s an unidentifiable object in the corner of the rooms ceiling (photo’s attached, a prize to the person who can tell me what it is), and my screen is covered in grime…but hey, it’s only 2,000 RP(11p) for an hour!
*Proof reading Megan here* as I got my phone out to take a photo of the unidentifiable object in the corner of the room, a bird flew into it! It was a nest!
- Try to avoid flying/high cost transport as much as you can. This is really where your budget will be spent. Whilst flights are inevitably more luxurious and convenient due to the time it takes to fly, you’re more than likely going to spend about two to four times the price you normally would if you were going via bus or boat. Obviously if you can’t do over land border crossings then you have to fly, but if this is the case then try and be as organised as possible, book the flights way in advance and you’ll get a much better deal. We’ve only flown twice since we have been away and it’s cost us near enough a hundred pounds each time, especially because the ‘budget friendly’ airlines often don’t include baggage in their prices!
- Eat cheap. Eat streetfood where you can and if you don’t feel like eating street food, then eat the local food. You’ll pay at least double for non-local food, as well as it never being as tasty as the local food. Researching beforehand for the cheap restaurants helps a lot here too. Also where you eat makes a difference, if you’re eating on the Main Street or in the busiest area then it’s going to be more expensive. Try walking 5-10 minutes out of the centre and you’ll find the prices drop dramatically!
- Before you leave, take double of the things you know will be expensive to buy out there. Things like deodorant, conditioner, make up and face wash will be much more expensive once you get out here than back home, they’re all small items so carrying a couple spares will definitely be worth while. The only toiletries I’ve had to rebuy out here have so far been conditioner as I stupidly forgot to pack any, as well as toothpaste which, considering I brought four out here with me, I think I lost them!
- Explore all accomodation options. Whilst hostelworld may seem the most obvious place to look for accomodation, as I mentioned in my previous blog post titled How to pick the perfect hostel for you , you’ll often find that double rooms are cheaper than two beds in a hostel dorm. We’ve also been using Air b n b and booking.com, which give you even more options, showing you peoples houses and cheap guesthouses. I have to say I think booking.com is now my prefered way to find accomodation, they don’t ask for a deposit and they seem to give the most competitive prices, doing daily offers and often giving you a 10% off bonus when booking through the booking.com mobile device.
- Stay somewhere with breakfast included. This is super useful when trying to keep costs down, the room may be 50p or £1 extra when the breakfast is included, but if you’re staying somewhere where you can confidently say that breakfast will be more than that were you to buy it from a cafe or restaurant, then it’s definitely cost effective to chooose accommodation with breakfast included.
- Do you need that beer? With the exception of Vietnam and Cambodia, alcohol is a lot more expensive out here than all the other drink options. I’m not a huge drinker anyway but I can confidently say that as lovely as the £5 cocktails sound…that’s two meals worth of money!
- Rent bikes. They really are the best way to get around, fuel is so cheap and the roads are generally so easy to navigate that almost anyone can do it! Also if you’re in places like Vietnam you can even rent / buy one for the duration of your trip and use that instead of busses. Just be aware that this means the bike is your responsibility and if anything breaks then you’re going to be the one to have to sort it out, as well as having to sell it at the end.
- If you need transport or don’t feel like you can use a bike yourself, use grab. It’s essentially Uber but infinitely cheaper, you know the price before you order and the price won’t change once you’ve ordered. You can often do grab for longer journeys too, so definitely explore that option.
- Monzo / keeping track of your spending. Monzo is great because it allows you to withdraw £200 a month without any costs from the bank which is so helpful considering we generally only use cash out here. You can also use the card for other payments free of charge (unless the restaurant or store adds a %). Monzo is also great for keeping track of your spending because you can see straight away what you’ve spent and allocate your spending / set limits for the month and it’s just so useful.
I really hope that this blog post has been interesting / useful, I’m really trying to write blogs that I’d been able to read myself. Any suggestions for things you’d like to read about then please comment or message me.
Until next time,