How to Travel on a Shoestring Budget: 5 Easy Tips

This post is brought to you in partnership with Cover-More Travel Insurance, cheap travel insurance for travellers on a budget.

Travel is a rewarding way to nourish yourself and there are so many benefits to enjoy. First and foremost, travel gets you away from the stresses of your daily life so you can enjoy some well-earned rest. Travel also allows you to experience new surroundings and activities which can give you a chance to live in the present and slow your usual pace down. We can all enjoy exercise, good food, quality time with loved ones and getting back to nature when we travel. Though, travel can sometimes be expensive and put a dent in our budgets.

There are ways that you can travel without spending a fortune and it can be done if you're travelling with a budget in place. Here are my five easy tips on making travel happen within your means.

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Set a realistic budget and determine your expenses in advance
It's sometimes easy for travellers to fall into the trap of over-spending while on holidays. To keep your expenses on-track, set up a travel budget in advance. Try to account for as many expenses as you can, such as transport, estimate for meals, accommodation and local currency. Be on the look-out for discounted transport and accommodation months before you leave so you can gather quotes and secure a good deal. For example, think about signing up to e-alerts from airlines so you can be notified about upcoming deals or recurring discount days. Also, add a line to your budget where you can allocate funds to incidentals such as day-trip activities.  

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Accumulate frequent flyer points and cash them in
If you travel often, it might be worthwhile starting up an alliance with a frequent flyer program. Consider signing up to a program with a credit card so you can accumulate points faster when you spend money on your every-day expenses. Choose your destination and determine how many points you need. Be prepared to make your frequent flyer booking well in advance as availability for frequent flyer spots can be limited. If you're travelling with your partner and you each don't have enough points to cover both your of your flights, then ask your frequent flyer program provider if you can transfer the points from one account to another. You can then cash in on a free flight for one person. This will still save you money in the long-run.


Cover yourself for unexpected expenses so you're prepared for emergencies
Some thrifty travellers believe that travel insurance is a waste of money. Yet, imagine for a moment that if something did happen. You could end up forking out huge amounts of money for medical care or an earlier return flight home. You could end up in debt as well as regretting not spending the money on travel insurance. It’s not a positive thought when you should be holidaying! Travellers have access to many travel insurance providers, such as Cover-More Travel Insurance. You just need to do your research and find a policy that’s right for you.

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Discover free things to do at your destination
One way to keep your travel budget under control is discovering free things to do at your destination. If it's a capital city you're travelling to, chances are there's a plethora of free things to try. To discover them, all it takes is a little know-how. Before departure, research your destination online. Start with websites for visitor centres or local information sites where you'll find a wealth of knowledge. Uncover fun things to do for free like walking tours, free exhibitions at local galleries, free community festivals and free access to parks. Also, does your destination offer a free newspaper or local information guide? These freebies can also give you insider knowledge about where local venues might be hosting free live band nights, community markets and one-off events while you're in town. 

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Plan to keep your food expenses down
One of the main expenses that will accumulate quickly is food and beverages. After you factor in three meals a day, ad-hoc snacks, bottles of water and other beverages, then you'll rack up quite an amount by the end of your trip. There are some easy ways you can cut down on your food bill. If you're staying at the one location, then book your accommodation including breakfast each day and/or a meal voucher to spend where you're staying. You don't always have to eat at the hotel, though an included daily breakfast will help keep food costs down.

If you're within the vicinity of a quality supermarket or food store, consider buying a few picnic items and enjoy a lazy picnic lunch in a leafy, local park. If your room is equipped with a kitchen, then perhaps buy some fresh, local ingredients and a bottle of wine to cook up a night-in feast; one way you can get uber-local and discover the produce. If you're travelling to a destination where you can drink the tap water, then a refillable water bottle in your bag will be a great money-saver.


Do you have a sure-fire tip for travelling on a shoestring? Or, do you have a fabulous money-saving story you'd like to share from your travels? Leave a comment and share your knowledge in the comments below!