Updated: Feb 7
Save Money on Food
Cook more, eat less out
In most countries it is more expensive to eat out than to cook your own meals. So depending on your location (in Asia it's generally pretty cheap to eat out) cook your own meals and prep for a few days.
When we lived in Australia we mostly cooked our own food and made sure to cook enough for a few days. This alone saved us some money, but we also bought lots of dried foods such as rice, pasta, and lentils and canned goods such as beans, chickpeas and chopped tomatoes which saved us lots of money. Sometimes we bought frozen vegetables such as green beans, broccoli or bags of mixed veggies for cooking stir fries or similar dishes.
If you think twice you can cook really cheap meals whilst traveling and save lots of money for other, more exciting things!
Shop seasonal foods at local stores and markets
It's cheaper to buy food that are in season as it obviously costs more to import food from other countries, so we usually try to find fruits and veggies that are in season when we are traveling.
Shopping at local stores and markets can also be cheaper than buying your groceries from a big chain. When we were in Cairns, Australia, we bought lots of fresh fruit and veggies from a local market and it was cheaper than buying it from one of the big grocery stores in town. So we definitely recommend looking for local markets.
We also try to shop locally grown produce which is basically just food grown, produced and sold within the same area so that makes it a cheaper option.
More plants, less meat
When we first started travelling we weren't plant based, but when we changed our lifestyle we experienced that we spend less money on food. Generally animal products are quite expensive where vegetables and fruits aren't. So we would definitely recommend cutting down on animal products and instead put your money in dried foods, canned goods and vegetables because that will save you lots of money!
Share meals with other travellers
This is probably one of our favourites! Throughout our travels in Australia we shared many meals with other backpackers and not only will it be more cost effective, but it will also give you the chance to connect with like-minded people and maybe even result in good friendships.
We have made friends from all over the world whom we're still in touch with because we shared meals and that lead to doing other activities together so we definitely recommend socialising over dinner!
Might be relevant:
Tap this link to get inspiration for easy, plant based recipes
Save Money on Accommodation
There are many different types of hostels and within different price ranges, but it's possible to find a place that matches your needs almost everywhere around the world. It is usually backpackers who are staying at hostels which makes sense because the essence of staying in hostels is to have a roof above your head, a bed to sleep in for the night and other people to connect and socialise with.
Throughout our travels in Australia we primarily stayed in hostels. We tried everything from 20 bed dorms to single rooms and they all have its pros and cons. The shared dorms are such a great way to save extra money as they are cheaper than single rooms, but you never know the people you're sharing room with which can be either good or bad. It can be good because it's a great way to meet new people and connect with like-minded travellers but on the other hand we've had a couple of quite unfortunate situations with people partying in the rooms or getting a little too intimate if you know what we mean.
Since we're a couple we prefer single rooms so we have more privacy and we also feel more safe leaving our stuff such as camera equipment and computers in the room.
We have stayed in really fancy hostels which were very expensive but also some of our best stays offering much more than just a bed to sleep in. We have also stayed in very inexpensive hostels and we experienced that the quality of our stay were either on a decent/average level which we found okay but we also stayed in inexpensive hostels that weren't worth it. We recommend looking at reviews from other backpackers to get an idea of what you can expect if you stay there.
PRO TIP: Hostelworld is the app we use to find accommodation when looking for a hostel. When you search for hostels on the app you put in a particular area or city, the dates you will be arriving and leaving and how many guests you are booking for. Then your search will provide you with all the hostels in that given area or city depending on what's available. You can click on every hostel and see their ratings, facilities and activities. When choosing your room it will give you options depending on what rooms are available and then you can make a booking through here. You have to pay a small amount of the price for your stay through the app and then the rest upon arrival. Super easy!
You have probably already heard about Airbnb but for those of your who aren't familiar with this kind of accommodation, keep reading.
Airbnb is an app where you can search for different kinds of accommodation such as private rooms with shared spaces, hotel rooms, shared rooms or an entire place to yourself. When you enter the app you put in the desired location as well as the length of your stay and then it pops up with all the different accommodation types in that area. You can then choose to add different filters to your search such as price range. On this app you can find very inexpensive accommodation but also the opposite. Depending on your search it will find the type of accommodation that would suit you.
PRO TIP: With this app we found that it's best to book a while in advance since the accommodation is booked really fast. Might be a little different during these pandemic times.
Depending on the country you are visiting airbnb's can either be an inexpensive choice of accommodation or way over your budget. So maybe do some research and find out if this is the best option for your destination.
Couch surfing is what it sounds like - surfing from couch to couch. If you have friends or family abroad you could reach out and ask if they would mind you staying for a night or two but there is also an app called Couchsurfing. This is a way to join a community of travellers and hosts around the world. Through this app you can stay with locals as they host travellers coming to their hometown. This is a great opportunity to stay, meet and connect with locals and have an authentic experience.
Your experience will vary depending on your host. Some hosts are very social and offer to spend time with you and show you the area while other hosts just offer a place to stay, dinner and a chat. It's up to yourself to find a host that matches your preferences.
PRO TIP: We actually haven't been couch surfing more than once as we had a very weird and unpleasant experience so we would definitely recommend looking at the reviews on the app and make sure that your host is a genuine and nice person who doesn't want to charge you or make you do work for them in return for their hospitality.
We stayed with an older lady in Australia and she asked us to do several house duties while she was out and about. She was a very nice lady, welcoming and we appreciated her hospitality so much but the idea of couch surfing is to have accommodation for free and to have a local experience. Also (with all due respect) her place was such a mess, but she did cook up some dinner which was a very sweet gesture even though it was hardly edible and unfortunately her house was freezing cold so we had to sleep with our clothes on. However we would definitely consider couch surfing again and it's the absolute cheapest accommodation you can get!
Work for Accommodation
Maybe you have already heard of the principle of working for accommodation, but for those of you who hasn't this is a great way to save money on accommodation. Basically some places offer you free accommodation in return for some hours of work.
We know an app called Worldpackers where you can find work in exchange for accommodation. Basically you can volunteer in communities and social projects, help in eco projects and farms as well as work exchange in hostels and home stays. This is by far the greatest way to save money on accommodation if you ask us! Its such a great opportunity to live cheap, learn and exchange skills, connect with other cultures and communities. We haven't tried out this app yet, but we would definitely recommend checking it out!
We lived in Byron Bay, Australia, for a month without spending a $ on accommodation. Prior to arriving in Byron Bay we looked up hostels in town and send out emails asking if they could offer 10-15 hours of work in return for free accommodation and we got lucky! One hostel located 2 minutes from the beach and 5 minutes from town offered us jobs. Jonas worked in the kitchen a few times a week and I worked in the coffee shop every morning for a few hours.
This saved us money for accommodation worth a month and we had so much free time to explore the hippie town that is Byron Bay.
PRO TIP: Be mindful that some places have the audacity to exploit you. Don't agree to work more hours than what your stay is worth. We heard some stories of people working 20+ hours a week where the average salary would have been higher than the cost of their stay which wouldn't make sense. So make sure that the hours you put in equals the price you would've paid for your stay.
Might be relevant:
Tap these links to visit accommodation websites
Save Money on Free Activities
Free Tourist Attractions
Free tourist attractions is a good way to save money and be able to spend more money on other activities that might be expensive. There are always lots of free things to see and do while you travel. You can find many tourist attractions in cities or in nature that are free to explore. In some cities hostels or other types of accommodation offer free walking tours around the city. We actually did this while we were in Brisbane, Australia, which was a really nice way to explore the city with a local guide and with other backpackers. In general many hostels offer free activities or budget activities, so if you're staying at a hostel definitely check out if they have any free activities that you can join in on.
Nature is mostly free to explore so spend as much time in nature as you can. Definitely our favourite way to explore as well. In some national parks you have to pay either for parking or entry fees, but usually it isn't too expensive, but its a good idea to put aside a bit of money for those activities. Generally nature is the cheapest place to be, so do some research before heading off to your destination and check up on free activities in cities, free entries in national parks and other cool places in nature! While we were in Australia there were lots of free hiking trails, cliff pools, beaches, lighthouses, view points in national parks and walking tours in cities.
Here in Denmark we have lots of free things to see and do in Copenhagen and also beautiful places like giant sand dunes, lighthouses and nature parks that are free to explore. So we recommend looking up free activities before reaching your destination. That will give you plenty of ideas regarding how to plan your trip and how to stay within your budget!
Now you've read 3 of our tips for saving money whilst you're traveling, so once the borders open up you are ready to book that trip you've been dreaming about! Maybe you even have ideas for budget trips around your home country too!