How to save money travelling by TOPCOOPER
So you have saved up some dough, dusted off the old knapsack and hit the road on your next big adventure. The question is, how long can that bag of cash last before you have to get back to saving again? Over the years of being stringent penny counters and budget backpackers, we picked up a few tricks to stretch every penny. Here are some of our money saving tips for life on the road!
Research the City
The most important thing you can do before arriving in a new destination, even if it is just a quick google on the train there, is research about the city. What are the best FREE activities? What is the cheapest way to get around? Where are the cheapest restaurants? Etc Etc. With all of this knowledge now noted down, you don’t need to worry about arriving somewhere and panic buying the most expensive train ticket because you don’t know the best option. It can also help you decide on the best location of where to stay and maximise your route around the city, to nail all the cheap sights!
Here’s a basic guide to getting around Berlin https://highlands2hammocks.co.uk/a-basic-guide-to-getting-around-berlin/
Free Walking Tours
The first thing we do when we arrive at a new city is hit up the free walking tours. Although they are technically not “free” (they expect a small tip at the end, which is fair enough!), they do give an excellent insight into the city, from the eyes of a local. As you explore the history of the town, get your bearings on where to go to and what to see when the tour ends. Ask the tour guide where THEIR favourite restaurants or bars are, and where THEY would go to for a nice coffee. You will often find that these are actually nowhere near the bustling streets in the centre, but are more into the suburbs. You will also find that the drinks are half the price. KACHING!
Plan your Meals!
There is really nothing worse than being on an awesome day out in the town, exploring the streets and soaking up the culture, when all of a sudden, the “hanger” hits. You need to get some food in you pronto, but all you can find are expensive and boring tourist traps. NIGHTMARE! This can be easily avoided by simply planning ahead with your meals and buying yourself a packed lunch to enjoy on the go! We always make up a sandwich or pack some hummus and bread to keep us ticking along, saving us a considerable amount of money. Plus, when you bring your own lunch you pick your own view!
Find the Cheap Local Shops
When you are researching the city, it helps to also check out what the budget shops are called. When I arrived in Nancy to begin studying there, little did I know that the first shop I visited turned out to be the most up-market shop in the city! A huge shopping bill and a teary pillow later, I heard that the discount shops lay slightly further from the city centre. Find out what these shops are called and where they are to avoid any après-shop regrets like mine!
Free Bicycle Hire
Across Northern Europe, cycling is a hugely popular means of commuting. It also happens to be free (aside from any rental costs). Keep fit on your adventure and save the planet by cycling around the city centre, instead of paying for public transport. In certain cities, such as Zurich, you can even find completely free bicycle rental! Keep your eyes peeled!
Check out our cycling adventure here https://highlands2hammocks.co.uk/our-adventures/our-italian-cycling-adventure/
Use a Good International Bank Card
The dreaded “withdrawal fee”. Paying someone else for the privilege of accessing your own money. Scandalous! Fear not however, there are solutions out there! For our journey across Europe, we started accounts with two large, international bank cards; Starling and Monzo. These cards provide free international card payments and cash withdrawals*, all with an incredibly easy, online app to monitor your spending. Problem solved! Find out which bank card we prefer in this comparison article.
Check out a more detailed blog about the best bank accounts for backpacker here https://highlands2hammocks.co.uk/best-bank-accounts-for-backpackers-starling-vs-monzo/
One more tip to save on any robbing banks is to ALWAYS withdraw your money “in the foreign currency”. This means that the bank will use the current rate of conversion on the World Market, which can fluctuate and is therefore unsteady. The ATM will try to talk you out of this option, saying that it is uncertain but DON’T LISTEN. Whenever I have compared the rate they offer to the one I get, the latter is always about 5-10% better! So, with these tricks under your belt, we hope you can stretch your next adventure out as long as possible, (possibly forever?). The cheaper the trip is, the longer you can explore this beautiful planet for, so always go budget!
If you found the tips here helpful, make sure you check out all of our other Travel Tips and Destination Guides on our website. Catch up with us on social media and don’t forget to share this with your friends! https://highlands2hammocks.co.uk/handy-money-saving-tips/
Hopefully these tips will help you to budget better and travel cheaply. Follow Gemma and Campbell’s adventures for more inspiration and advice. You can check out their website at https://highlands2hammocks.co.uk/ or follow them on Instagram at highlands2hammocks
Happy budget travels!