Travel tips for saving money on the road.
We have been on a budget ever since we left Australia in Jan 2015 to extend our trip as much as possible and thought sharing our money saving tips (which have worked for us)might be useful to anyone reading our blog.
Staying in a hostel in a big city for 30-40 euro each compared to camping for 10 euro or even nothing is a big difference! Of course it is different being able to experience the city as well as other areas which may not be on the tourist map but should be! Like experiencing the Lac de Serre-Poncon. Camping does mean you need gear so it’s important to think about what type of trip you want, and how many things you can carry!!!
This is such an amazing website. Ah, we love it!!! It’s a touring cyclists’ dream after a long day riding to be welcomed to a nice bed, sometimes even a nourishing meal, some great conversations with new people, breakfast in the morning for another great start to the day! The cost of this? Priceless!!! We have met some amazing people through warmshowers. You can read more about it here.
Workaway is our life saver and some of our best experiences to date are because of it. Plucking tea leaves in a remote village in Nepal, teaching English to rural kids who can’t afford education in Cambodia, to living with a family in the Faroe Islands to working at a hotel in a small town on the East Coast of Iceland. You can meet amazing hosts, amazing other Workawayers (if you get the chance to go to one that have other volunteers staying is always nice) and you never know who you might meet through Workaway just like the Johanessen family from the Faroes, Kulung family from Nepal and our Icelandic family who are now part of our ‘world wide family’ too.
We have extended our family through the people we’ve met through workaway as well as making lifelong friends. A few of the people we met while in Cambodia teaching, we stayed in Europe in their home towns (Nadia and Rasmus), as well as Guillaume who we met in Nepal while plucking tea!
It is really is a great experience and gives you the chance to experience more than just tourist sites of a country. You are fully immersed into the culture and for us that is what travelling is all about!
There is a small fee to join which gives you access for 2 years. I highly recommend it to anyone – even families can join.
Since workaway is an exchange of work (max 25 hours per week) for food and accommodation, there will be people who abuse the website! To avoid this, be sure to read the whole workaway profile, ask as many questions as you can so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into!
Couch surfing is like warm showers but for backpackers! We haven’t done it as we’ve stuck with warm showers while cycletouring but have spoken to many people who have used it to travel around. It’s a great way to meet people as well as getting accommodation. Usually couch surfing hosts, if they have time, will take their guests out/do activities and show them around so it is a great alternative to hostels where you can actually meet locals instead of other backpackers – which is good too of course, just a different experience.
House sitting is another great option to extend your time in a country since you are just paying for your own food. It’s great to be able to have a home instead of just another hostel. We haven’t done it yet but have read many travel blogs of others who have. Perhaps there was an opportunity to work in a certain place and we could house sit, House sitting would be a great option!
Something as simple as talking to family friends or friends of friends or people you meet along the way who might say ‘ oh when you’re in X let me know and you can stay at my place’ – take them up on their offer 🙂
A couple of examples –
While we were on a train in India, we sat next to a French guy who lived in Paris. We spent two days with him and when we said our goodbyes he offered for us to stay with him if we ever came to Paris. 3 months later we were approaching Paris and sent him a message over Facebook. He let us stay with him for 1 week! We’d only met him for 2 days in India. We’re close friends now and still keep in contact.
I went on a school trip to France in year 9 and made friends with one of the French students. We kept in contact on Facebook over the years. When my French friend saw that we were in France near his parents place, he messaged us and offered for us to stay with his parents. Of course, we took the offer and stayed with his parents. We formed such a good relationship with his parents that when the time came to leave them, the parents said we were welcome to stay with their other children who were in different locations of France. Even their house cleaner said we have a place to stay if we visit Portugal. Unfortunately our route didn’t take us to those places but might in the future 🙂 Now, we hold the Basset family very close to our hearts, all because of networking.
Shopping at second hand shops
This is an absolute money saver when it comes to finding yourself in a different season! It is very hard to carry clothes for any season whether it’s backpacking or bikepacking – and to have more than one option 😉 We had 8 months of summer from the start of our trip, but as we were getting further north, temperatures started to fall and we needed warm clothes. Kel found a Jack Wolfskin jacket in perfect condition in a small town in Germany for only 40 euro. Brand new ones cost around 200 euro. Woohoo! We also scored quality thermals for less than half the price in outdoor stores. Second hand shops are also great for finding more dressy clothes when the occasion arises to dress up – you never know when this might happen! It’s always great to find a nice dress for a couple of euro to pretend you don’t just own daggy clothes haha.
Buying groceries and cooking
This one really depends on the country. In parts of South East Asia, we’d get a full plate of food for $1.20, sometimes even 60 cents in Nepal and it would’ve cost us more to buy ingredients to make a meal. Compare this to Western Europe, however, and you can definitely save lots!! We carry a MSR whisperlite stove which is so compact but also great for cooking. Read more about our gear here.