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So, You’ve Blown Your Travel Budget. What Now?

Ah, the mistakes of a young traveller. You’ve saved your travel budget, set off into the great unknown to travel around the world on a three-month journey. You’ve been having a grand old time seeing as many sights as you possibly can, enjoying every last minute of freedom, shouting rounds of jägerbombs to the group of Aussies you just met at the hostel bar (and no, they did not return the favour).

Before you know it, you realise you’ve gone way over your travel budget and now have half as much money as you planned to at this point of your trip. Welcome to the harsh reality of backpacking my friend, this type of holiday ain’t no all inclusive resort in Cancun.

Now before you send a SOS signal to Mum and Dad, here are some top tips for living your best nomadic life and saving a whole bunch of cash. Get that travel budget back on track!

Get savvy about your snacking

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Eating gelato in Italy is a fun experience to tick off the bucket list. Hey, eating gelato in any country is pretty damn great. But maybe think twice about eating gelato every day. Or twice a day (… guilty). Yeah, snacks are fun, but if you choose to indulge in every new and exciting flavour that comes your way, you’ll burn through your dosh pretty damn quick.

Get basic with your breakfast (and lunch)

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Of course, you should be enjoying meals out. But should every meal be eaten out? No way! This might come as a surprise, but the same rules as the real world do apply when you’re travelling – eating out all the time is expensive, and it just ain’t good for you either.

Most hostels offer a free, basic breakfast, so make sure you take advantage of it (perfect for a shoestring travel budget). Squirrel away some bread rolls for lunch if you can get away with it. And if your hostel has a kitchen, take the time to impress your new traveller friends by offering to cook a big meal where everyone chips in a little money rather than going out to a restaurant. And bonus points if you can find produce at a local market.

Bunk up for the night

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Did your awesome culinary skills happen to impress the likes of a fellow travel hobo? Has this led to a short term travel romance, much to the despair of the rest of your dorm? Well why are you paying for two dorm beds then?! Some hostels will let you share a bed for a small fee, otherwise do everyone else a favour and look into a private dorm or a guesthouse. Sometimes you can find private rooms that are cheaper than the cost of two bunk beds (or three, whatever floats your boat guys).

Walk everywhere!

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And I mean everywhere. Apart from the fact you will save a bunch of cash on public transport and taxis, there’s a fat chance (excuse my pun) that the remains of all the money you just blew on booze and extravagant meals has reincarnated on your body as “travel fat”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shame in gaining some weight when you travel – you’re probably also glowing with happiness! But a little bit of exercise won’t just keep you healthy, it will make you feel amazing too.

Volunteer your time

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Regardless of whether you’re travelling on a budget, volunteering is a great way to have a truly unique experience for either a little or no money contribution. There are many different ways you can volunteer while travelling;

  • Volunteer at a hostel for free board
  • Volunteer at a bar for free food and drinks
  • Volunteer with a local school, organisation or charity – don’t be afraid to reach out directly to ask about your options
  • Volunteer on an organic farm through WWOOF

And whatever you do, please keep your integrity. Do you know what’s worse than having your possessions stolen when you travel? Having your possessions stolen by another traveller! Be a responsible backpacker by being friendly, helpful and treating other travellers the way you would like to be treated.

Check out Qantas flights to begin your next adventure.

(Lead image: Paulette Wooten / Unsplash)