Guides

Smart Ways To Spend When You’re Travelling On A Budget

So you can spend your hard-earned cash on the important things, like gelato.

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Look, there’s no getting around it – to travel, you’re going to have to spend money. Sure, your dollars may go further in your chosen destination than they would back home, covering a night at a hostel for the same amount you’d shell out for an avo smash, but regardless of that, when you’ve got flights and accommodation covered, you’ll still most likely end up spending much more on your trip than in your everyday life.

There are a few tips and tricks, however, that can lessen some of those expenses so you can spend your hard-earned cash on the important things, like gelato.

#1 Rent Out Your Room

Stylish bedroom

Image: Christopher Jolly / Unsplash

While renting out your room isn’t exactly a smarter way to spend on your holiday, it is a way to scrape together a little more to spend on it. Of course, it’s not an option for everyone, but if you can, it’s an easy way to a far more affordable holiday.

Thanks to services like Airbnb, you should have no problem finding someone willing to cover the rent while you’re away. Just be sure to get the go-ahead from any housemates, do as much of a background check as you can (which is why you should stick to legit platforms like Airbnb), and always ask for a security deposit.


#2 Time Your Exchanges Right

Travel budget

Image: Rawpixel / Unsplash

If you’re travelling internationally, you’ll need to exchange money. To ensure you’re getting more bang for your buck, there are two rules to bear in mind: the first is that it’s generally always cheaper to exchange money at your destination as opposed to in your home country. The second is that airports typically always have the worst exchange rates in the country.

At the airport, exchange only what you’ll need for the first 24 hours and wait until you’re in town to do the rest. If you don’t feel comfortable arriving without any local currency at all, exchange a minimal amount before heading over.

You may also want to consider putting most of your expenses on a travel card so you don’t need to carry cash. They’re a much better alternative to everyday debit or credit cards as local currencies can be loaded onto them, meaning you won’t pay domestic ATM fees. Plus, if you load your currency onto Qantas Travel Money, you’ll earn 1.5 points for every AU$1 spent on foreign currency. It’s the only travel money card to earn Qantas Points. Win!


#3 Look For Free Activities

People looking at a map

Image: Sebastian Hietsch / Unsplash

The cost of activities can add up when you’re travelling. A museum ticket there, a day tour there. Do some research beforehand, but bear in mind that you might find better – or free – deals when you get there. In big cities, there are usually free walking tours and, if not, you can download an online guide (try Pocket app) and a map (use Maps.me) that are available offline.

Also, many museums and tourist sites offer free visiting hours and discounted admissions at certain times of the day or week, so check online to see if anything might be relevant to you.


#4 Dine Away From Tourist Spots

Diner

Image: Angelo Pantazis / Unsplash

Generally speaking, the restaurants and bars situated in or around tourist attractions are the least authentic and the most expensive. While this isn’t always the case, it’s certainly something to keep in the back of your mind. After sightseeing, wander a few streets away from it and you should find that menu prices drop dramatically.

Another dining trap to be wary of is hotel breakfast. Unless it’s included in your room rate, they tend to be pricey and incredibly inauthentic. In saying that, some hotels offer lavish buffet spreads with enough food to keep you filled until late afternoon. Poke your head in to see if that’s the case, because if it is, it just might work within your budget.

(Lead image: Anete Lusina)

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