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08 Jun
2009

How to Travel on a Budget | Part 1

piggy bank

The current financial crisis may be putting people off going on holiday or even taking their gap year (OE for you people Down Under!), but it really shouldn't. This article will give you lots of advice on how to travel on a budget to make sure you get the most out of your travels. Some money saving tips are obvious and others you may not have considered. If you've got any tips you'd like to share, make sure you let us all know by making a comment at the end of the article...

Tip Number One for traveling on a budget - Avoid Tourist Traps.

cheap Thai food

There's lots of destinations that are pretty cheap to travel around.

For example, travelling to South East Asia has always been a great option for students and backpackers. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are all popular destinations but you can do it even cheaper than most people if you stick to a few simple rules... Stay away from the most popular tourist meccas. Instead of heading to Bangkok, why not visit one of the lesser known towns in Thailand. You'll probably have to fly into Bangkok, but get a night bus to somewhere else when you've arrived and you'll be paying much less for your accommodation and food.

BUT... Don't completely avoid places like this though, they're visited often because more often than not, they're worth a look. So you could use this tip in a slightly different way. Khao San Road is the huge backpacker area in Bangkok, but if you walk a couple of blocks you can get much better and much cheaper food (Pad Thai bought on Khao San Road was 3 times more expensive than a few streets away when I was there!)

(Also read this article on How to Avoid Tourist Traps)

Tip Number Two for traveling on a budget - Find Cheap Flights

cheap flight

This tip totally depends on what your trip is all about. If it's a two week holiday you're going on, your best bet is either to book months and months in advance or leave it right until the very last minute... I personally like to leave it until the last minute because I've managed to nab some unbelievably good deals on flights on that way.

BUT... Of course this can sometimes be risky, the last minute deals won't always be cheaper than if you'd booked months in advance, and you may have to be a bit flexible with your travel dates. Try and leave mid-week, flights are normally most expensive on a Friday or a Monday so bear that in mind when booking your hols! For yearly trips it's definitely worth looking into getting yourself a round the world ticket...

BUT... make sure you look into the separate flights for yourself because it may work out cheaper. Buying a round the world ticket also leaves you with no option to change your plans. You might find buying tickets as you go is cheaper in the long run BUT make sure you know the visa requirements for the places you want to go. Sometimes you have to apply for your visa before you leave your country of residence, and some places (like Vietnam) require you to specify the dates you'll be arriving.

Tip Number Three for traveling on a budget - Stay in Cheap / Budget Accommodation

There are a number of ways of finding somewhere cheap to rest your head for a night or two... These do tend to depend on what your minimum level of comfort is though...

camping budget accommodation

Camping Always a popular option and this doesn't have to be an option only for the more adventurous of us. Camping generally works out cheap no matter what continent you're on and campsites are a lot more advanced now than they used to be. Even if you don't have a tent you can normally stay in one that's already been put up (and sometimes they even have power points). If you're not a "champagne camper" and you like to pitch your tent wherever takes your fancy you'll probably find it's alot cheaper (Free!!!)

BUT... check the law about free camping in the country you're visiting. In many places it's illegal to camp unless you're in a managed campsite or licensed area. Camping in the wilderness sounds good but the reality may be different - where are the power showers??? ALWAYS think about your own safety. DON'T camp somewhere where grizzly bears are known to hang out for example!

hostel accommodation dorm room

Backpackers Hostels Staying in a backpackers hostel isn't as nasty as some people imagine. Firstly they tend not to be called youth hostels anymore because people of all ages are welcome to stay. Secondly, hostels aren't necessarily filthy, infested with bed bugs or full of drunk travellers causing such a noise you can't sleep. Backpackers Hostels have improved greatly over the last couple of years what with the growth in "flashpacker travel". What's a flashpacker? Well this term tends to describe those backpackers who can't travel without their i-pod, mobile phone or even their laptop. These backpackers expect more from a hostel, sometimes a bit too much, but nevertheless the hostels have responded to this growing market by improving their facilities and services. When travelling through Australia and New Zealand for example, you'll find that nearly all hostels offer the following as standard:

  1. Free linen and blankets (gone are the days of lugging around a sleep sheet and/or sleeping bag)
  2. Internet facilities (and even Wireless in a lot of places)
  3. 24 hour reception / check-in (never be locked out again - 24 hour reception /check-in tends to be available in cities only)
  4. Safes and / or lockers (don't worry about that dodgy looking fella in your room taking your valuables)
  5. Female only dorms (being a female travelling alone is sometimes a little daunting, if you don't feel up to sharing your room with boys, request a single sex room)

Staying in backpackers hostels is now a pleasant experience and the standard of accommodation (especially in private rooms) is near hotel quality, but you get communal areas to meet other backpackers and it tends to be a lot cheaper than a hotel!

Make sure you read Part 2 of How to Travel on a Budget


Nomads Hostels

Australia / NZ / Fiji
Australia
Adelaide
Adelaide Travellers Inn
Agnes Water - Town of 1770
1770 Southern Cross
Airlie Beach
Nomads Airlie Beach
Alice Springs
Toddys
Arrawarra
Spot X Surf
Brisbane
Bunk
Byron Bay
Arts Factory Lodge
Nomads Byron Bay
Cairns
Nomads Cairns
Cape Tribulation
Pk's Jungle Village
Coffs Harbour
Plantation Backpackers
Hobart
Tassie Backpackers
Melbourne
Nomads Melbourne
Nomads All Nations
Coffee Palace Backpackers
Noosa
Nomads Noosa
Perth
Billabong
Port Douglas
Parrot Fish Lodge
Surfers Paradise
Islander Backpackers
Sleeping Inn
Sydney
Nomads Westend
Funkhouse
New Zealand
Abel Tasman
Kaiteri Lodge
Auckland
Nomads Auckland
Nomads Fat Camel
Paihia
Bay Adventurer Apartments
Dunedin
On Top Backpackers
Queenstown
Nomads Queenstown
Rotorua
Crash Palace
Taupo
Taupo Urban Retreat
Waitomo
Kiwi paka
Wellington
Nomads Capital
Fiji
Beachcomber Island
Beachcomber Island Resort
Coral Coast
Beachouse Backpackers
Malolo Island
The Funky Fish Beach Resort
Nadi
Nadi Bay Hotel
Pacific Harbour
Uprising Beach Resort
Yasawa Islands
Mantaray Island Resort
Asia
Thailand
Bangkok
Saphaipae Hostel
Back Home Backpackers
Chiang Mai
Nomads Eco Resort
Koh Phangan
Sarana Bungalows
Koh Tao
Nomads Coral Grand
Phuket
Chill Patong Hotel
Dfeel Hostel
Europe
Spain
Barcelona
Urbany Hostel
Equity Point Centric
Equity Point Gothic
Equity Point Sea
Girona
Equity Point
Portugal
Lisbon
Equity Point
Germany
Berlin
One80º Hostel
UK
Birmingham
Hatters Hostel
Liverpool
Hatters Hostel
London
Clink261 Hostel
Clink78 Hostel
Equity Point London
Manchester
Hatters at Hilton Chambers
Hatters on Newton St
Edinburgh
Smartcityhostels
North America
USA
Las Vegas
Las Vegas Hostel
Los Angeles
Orange Drive Manor Hostel
USA Hostels Hollywood
Samesun LA
Maui
Lahaina's Last Resort
The Tiki Hale
New York
Equity Point
San Diego
Lucky D's
USA Hostels San Diego
San Francisco
USA Hostels San Francisco
Canada
Banff
Samesun Banff
Kelowna
Samesun Kelowna
Revelstoke
Samesun Revelstoke
Vancouver
Samesun Vancouver
Vernon
Silverstar Samesun Ski Lodge
South America
Peru
Cusco
Milhouse
Brazil
Botafogo
El Misti Hostel & Pousada
Buzios
El Misti Hostel Yellow
El Misti Hostel
Copacabana
El Misti Rooms
El Misti Hostel
El Misti House
Ilha Grande
El Misti Hostel
Paraty
El Misti Chill
Rio de Janeiro
El Misti Hostel
Salvador
El Misti Hostel
Argentina
Buenos Aires
Milhouse Avenue
Milhouse Hostel
Africa
South Africa
Cape Town
33 South Boutique
Penthouse On Long
Morocco
Marrakech
Equity Point