The gtg’s top 10 tips to save cash when travelling

Being a terrible saver myself I have tried to think about a number of things that have helped me and people I know to get further for their dime. This is by no means an exclusive list and many people could happily add another ten to these tips but if you can get any benefit from them then GTG has in some way been a success. The ‘top ten’ are as follows:

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1. Explore supermarkets for less major meals

This may sound like an obvious option but cash isn’t the only benefit here. You will gain an insight into the local food/food- shopping culture, save time, and allow yourself more money for when you splash out on a restaurant. It will also come in handy for those awkward times when only crazy travellers such as ourselves are up and about.

2. Work in a hostel 

If you are stuck for somewhere to stay, low on cash or just want to be sensible then many hostels will offer free accommodation for as little as a couple of hours cleaning or bar work per day. Always a good idea to organise it ahead as many other keen beans may have had the same idea.

3. Minimise cash withdrawals and/or currency exchanges

You may or may not be paying ridiculously high fees for your international transactions but any cash you can save is more you can spend on other things and you will likely find that bigger gaps between infusions to your cash flow lead you to be more frugal.

4. Eat/drink where, what and when the locals do whenever possible

My favourite textbook example of this is calimocho in Spain. It is one of the cheapest party drinks going, a combination between the cheapest red wine and cheapest cola with lots of ice. Not only do you end up feeling more cultured, but you win out big time on value for money. As a side note, if meals are included in the price of your accommodation then do take advantage when suitable but also make sure to venture further afield.

5. Don’t take too much

With extortionate prices for excess baggage per kilogram, money is not the only object here. Packing as light as possible will allow you to shop more for things you can’t find at home, and in places where commuting is less luggage friendly you will have an easier time (Peak hour in Tokyo trains or the trams in Eastern Europe come to mind).

6. Go places out of peak  tourist season

This will give you a larger selection and cheaper options of places to see, things to do, whilst also giving you a more genuine feel for the place you are visiting.

7. Think in proportion of your hourly wage

When seeing prices in a foreign currency, it’s easy to get an inaccurate perception of how much something is costing you to buy. If you earned your money in another currency then try and spend it that way (at least in your mind). At times you may be pleasantly surprised but this is designed to save you from any nasty shocks.

8. Have a flexible daily budget allowance

This will allow you to see when you are doing well and can afford to treat yourself to that fancy night out with seafood and nice wine while also showing you where you need to pull the belt in a few notches. This can be extended to a weekly/monthly saving plan if living somewhere overseas for a longer period.

9. Stay with friends/family/connections

Sure this won’t work the whole time you’re away, and be sure to treat your hosts well (grateful guests are always welcome back) but definitely milk this one. There are plenty of other benefits like having a local guide, a greater level of familiarity than you can get in public accommodation and just a golden opportunity to catch up with people.

10. Carry water and some basic snacks with you

Especially on a hot day, if you are a cold-drink fiend like me, that is the first way you will lose unnecessary cash. By all means enjoy as many local and other drinks/snackage as you like but being prepared will save your cash for higher priority occasions.

Now the gtg is keen to hear any of the nifty secrets of your travelling trade. Please comment with any useful tips you have found to pound-stretch or save a buck whilst on the move.

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