We all know travelling can put a cannonball through your pocket, most of us save for months only to blow it off in a week. But honestly, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just few weeks ago, I met a backpacker who travelled around Hong Kong but decided to skip Macao entirely because he thought it would leave him broke! Well, it might be hard to imagine a city that thrives on Casinos and Luxury Watches can be budget friendly but trust me, it can be done. It’s not entirely about the place, it’s about how smart you can be when you’re out in the streets.

So I decided to put together 7 practices that I try to do that really worked for me and I’m sure it will for you too!

Be Realistic.

Don’t expect to go to London and pay £20 for a mid-range hotel just because you paid that much in Bali. Remember, no 2 cities are alike. Do your research well in advance, check what the prices are like during the season before you set out on your adventure.

Challenge #1: Pick a place you want to travel to. Research about it, find out the most expensive and cheapest areas. List out the best budget restaurants in the city. Figure out the cheapest way to travel around. Explore one area at a time. See how far your money can go.


If you haven’t checked-in in a hostel before, you’re missing a whole lot of adventure and of course, burning a lot of bills. A friend of mine recently went on a solo-trip but he was really skeptical about hostels and he gave it a pass. In the end, he swore on never going solo again.

I don’t know why people immediately assume hostels = invasion of privacy. While it might be true to an extent (sharing a room), people who have enjoyed hostels like me can easily debunk that. Some hostels offer your own cabin complete with a curtain and personal charging stations and sometimes even your own room. In exchange, you’re going to save tons of money!

Challenge #2: Start with Hostelworld.com and book a shared room. If you think you’re not ready yet, go for the private room in a hostel of your choice. 

Hostel Vs. Hotel

Make Friends.

You might be wondering why would you make friends when it only means more drinks and hence, more money. 😛 It’s an entirely different concept with travelling and also why I would point back to #2 Hostels. The more friends you make, the more people you can split the bills with.

I travelled to Gili Trawangan in Indonesia and shared a room with 2 friends I met in Bali. Instead of paying for the whole room, I paid 1/3. The same goes for other things like group tours!

Challlenge #3: Share a pizza with a new friend you made while travelling. Or have breakfast together!

Pack Light.

How is your luggage related to your wallet? I’ll tell you. There’s a reason why backpackers only carry a backpack. You don’t have to be a backpacker, you can follow the same concept with one suitcase instead of 3! Only pack what you will need.

  1. You won’t have to pay excess baggage.
  2. Budget Airlines usually charge extra for check in baggages.
  3. You don’t have to take a cab just for your bags.

And the list goes on…

Challenge #4: Pack one 7kg hand carry baggage for a 1 week trip.


Avoid Cards.

Credit cards are the main culprits why so many people have a long list of debts. First, you overestimate the amount you can spend on the basis of your credit limit. For example: Instead of buying a £12 steak, you assume you still have £200 to max out your credit and spend £30 on steak instead.

Second, I noticed that I can keep better tap on my expenses when I use cash. Also, say goodbye to overseas extra charges.

Challenge #5: Set a budget for the week and only withdraw that much. Keep your card aside until next week! 

Buy Good Walking Shoes.

Yes, splurge. Splurge on this one thing because it can save you a lot of money in the future. Walk to places if you can and you’ll see by the end of your trip how much you’ve saved on transport!

Challenge #5: Go on a 30 minutes walk to your destination. You can do it! 

Eat Local Food.

Obviously, seafood would be cheaper in Philippines than in Scotland. Similarly, steak would be cheaper in London than in India (yes, you get steaks in India). If you want to save money, don’t be choosy. Truly explore their culture and indulge into different flavours.

Challenge #6: Pick a random dish from the local food section in the menu!

Carry Your Own Bottle.

You’ll be surprised on how much you can actually waste just by buying water bottles. I’d only recommend buying bottles in Asian countries because chances are, the tap water isn’t drinkable. But if you’re staying at a hotel/hostel, you can always refill your bottles there anyway.

I remember travelling to Bali and constantly forgetting to bring my own bottle so I ended up spending at least £5 per week. It’s almost nothing but if you think of it, that’s almost the average price of a hostel in Bali or 3 meals at a local Warung!

Challenge #7: Refill your water bottle twice/thrice today!

THAT’S ALL FOLKS! Trust me, if you follow at least 4 challenges from the 7 above, you will notice a change in your spending pattern and your expenses would be significantly reduced. Most importantly, be street smart always. Experience is the best teacher after all!

That wasn’t so hard, was it?! Thank me later! 😉😉


Mandy xx