THE BUDGET [ Part 1 / 3 ]
It’s all fun and games….until you run out of money. Don’t be that person. So unless you’ve discovered how to make money grow on trees, it is best to have a clear budget going in to any trip. It seems like a daunting task at first, but I promise you, it’s simple. The next three blog posts serve as a recommended guide to managing and saving your money. Share your own tips or ask questions in the comment section below!
It all starts with one question: What’s important to you? What is going to bring you the most happiness?
Whoops. That was two questions.
Anyway, is it important to have a clean, comfortable place to come home to after a long day sightseeing? Do you want to enjoy a nice meal for dinner? Do you prefer wandering through museums and galleries? Do you like to go to shows, such as the opera in Vienna or flamenco in Madrid? Do you live for the nightlife? Do you want to visit the “must see” spots? Is it important to stay in a central location, or are you comfortable using public transportation into the city?
Determine those one or two important things and don’t even think about compromising on them. From there, the tradeoffs begin.
There were two important “non-negotiables” for me while backpacking Europe:
1) A female-only accommodation that didn’t exceed $35 per night [ ideally $20 – $25 ]. I grew to really love hostels, which all stayed at or below my maximum per-night budget. I read the reviews on HostelWorld to ensure the female-only rooms were clean, spacious and equipped with personal lockers. I also found really nice [ and affordable ] accommodations through Airbnb.
2) An authentic, local dinner at least once in each city. Enjoying the local cuisine [ and drinks ] is one of many great ways to experience the culture. To offset the cost of dinner, we chose to dine at cheap cafes for breakfast [ or took advantage of the complimentary hostel breakfast ]. We also aimed to eat a late breakfast so we could combine lunch and dinner. Introducing, LINNER [ lunch + dinner ]! I ate a delicious dinner at a local restaurant almost every night by being conscientious of spending in other categories.
Here are some other ways to save money throughout your trip:
**Walk as much as possible and/or rent bikes. It’s not only cost effective but also an easy way to work off the delicious meals you’ll be eating!
**Take overnight trains [ that’s one night you won’t pay for a hostel/hotel/etc. ]
**Find hostels with free breakfast [ take a banana/apple/granola bar from breakfast as a snack for a later in the day ]
**EAT HEALTHY. You will stay fuller much longer. Even better, find a local supermarket to purchase healthy snacks.
**Avoid shopping. Your backpack is heavy enough! I repeat … YOUR BACKPACK IS HEAVY ENOUGH!
**Try to kick the coffee habit. Although in some places, the coffee is incredible. So if you’re in Vienna, for example, don’t skimp on the coffee!
**Go hiking! Amazing views, great workout and completely free!
**Do some pre-trip research to find out when museums give discounts/free days.
**Take tip-based walking tours. Exercise + educational + affordable = a win all around!
So tell me, what would you add to the list?
[ Follow the adventure to The Budget: Part 2 ]