So, we’re nearing the end of my #Thailandtravelseries posts! – I really hope you’ve enjoyed them all (there’s still 3 more left don’t worry) and it’s given you lots of advice and tips if you’re thinking of planning a trip to Thailand. I wanted to do a more general post on travelling and thought it would be nice to share my tips on how to travel on a budget, everybody wants to visit beautiful places but sometimes the price tags can be scary so I’m sharing some advice on how to make it affordable!…
1.) Saving money before your trip: One of the key things to travelling is saving before you set off, even right up until the last minute you want to take as much as you can with you (it’s always better to bring leftover money home rather than not have enough). Our trip this time around was quite last minute but luckily I’d had some freelance jobs just before we booked it so my finances just stretched to cover our trip but last time we went to Thailand for six weeks and we started saving around 5/6 months before we left.
If you know the dates you’ve booked to go then try to set monthly targets of how much you can save i.e £100 a month. Keep the money in savings so it’s not likely to get eaten up by bills (or shopping) from your current account. There are plenty of ways of making money and the internet is a great way to start! Go through your wardrobes/rooms and sell any unwanted items on eBay, Depop or if you’re a blogger then why not have a blog sale? If the weathers nice then do a car bootsale, I usually do two or three a year and tend to make between £80 and £150 on each one. When you’re saving try to keep your disposable income to a minimum, when out shopping buy necessities and items that you need rather than want. Also, if you’re a big socialite then try to keep nights/meals out to birthday or evenings that you would like to attend rather than just going out on a whim and spending money unnecessarily.
Also, when changing up your money don’t leave this right until the last minute as it’s great to compare rates and get the best deal. I always check the likes of the Post Office, Tesco and Thomas Cook when changing up money and take your time to make sure you’re getting the most from your money, event if it’s only £10-£20 difference, in somewhere like Thailand that will buy you a meal so it all counts. Both times that we have been to thailand me and Rob have both chosen to use a Thomas Cook cash passport card, the cards always have a great exhange rate when you load money onto them and if you have any money left on it when you get home you will get the same exchange rate which is great. It’s like a debit card so you will have a pin and if you loose it you can just report it lost or stolen and they will re-send another one for you. It’s also great in case you run out of money as you can give your parents your details and they can load money onto it (this is what happened to me and Rob the first time around!) You get given a pin number but this can be changed at an ATM in case you want to keep it the same as your normal debit card.
2.) Booking to suit your budget: Depending on where you are travelling but for most far away destinations the flight will be your main cost as its a long haul flight. You can search around for deals on the internet and we have booked with both DialAFlight and the Flight Centre, our flights cost £470 this time around as we booked last minute but when we booked in advance before we managed to get them for £400 return. Both of our flights to Thailand have been indirect and we stopped at both India and Abu Dhabi, the stopover times are normally quite good and were between 1-3 hours for us. It’s quite nice to get off the plane and stretch your legs too – although if we could afford it we’d much rather travel direct and just get there but it depends what suits your budget.
The flight will be your big outlay but try to book that far in advance so it gives you a chance to recuperate some funds, once in Thailand we spent around £350/£400 each for 17 days which is pretty good considering that was all of our meals, day trips, alcohol (and a few cheeky nights out). We pre-booked our accommodation and internal flights (which you can get from around £30 if you book in advance with Bangkok Airways & Air Asia) so hopefully that gives you a rough idea of the cost of living. If you aren’t travelling to Thailand then just google ‘cheap flights to…’ and always have a look at search comparison websites such as ebookers and skyscanner.
When it comes to hotels and booking accommodation I would say that Expedia and Booking are my go-to sites as you can tailor the price range and they always have such a wide choice of places to look through. If you’re staying in one place for a long amount of time then maybe check Trip adviser for reviews. If you are going to book your travel as you go (we did this the first time around) then all I would advise is that you pre-book your first night and make sure it’s near the airport as the first thing you’ll want when you get off the plane is a bed! We found accomadation from as little as £7 a night for a couple and it can range up to as much as you want to spend but it’s a great place for budget.
3.) Working to a budget whilst travelling: I think this point is quite important but make sure you use it as a rough guideline and aren’t too strict on yourself. This trip to Thailand me and Rob put our money together and divided it by the number of days we travelled which left us with a budget of around £44 a day which in Thailand will get you relatively far! Aim to spend under your budget each day, so on a typical day me and Rob would eat some cheap street food for dinner and have a couple of beers on the beach, then for lunch we’d grab a giant corn on the cob from the beach which kept our day cheap. Then if we fancied a night out/nice meal or a day trip we’d have extra money in our budget for that.
Always make sure you have a back up debit/credit card for any emergencies or if you run out of cash, and as I mentioned before it’s always handy giving your travel money card details to a parent or someone who can pay extra money in should you need it.
I really hope this post has helped anyone planning a trip away and helps you to save some money somewhere along the way! What are your top tips for travelling on a budget?