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Posted on: Monday, 17 September 2012

Travelling On A Shoe-String

Posted to: Travelling Tips
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Shoestring Budget

Shoe-string Budget

Being a little short on cash should never hold you back from seeing the world. Granted, you will still have to save money to travel, but you can certainly explore other countries while only spending the bare minimum. Here’s how:

  1. Travel in off-peak times of the year. Summers are usually the most expensive time to travel, depending on the destination. Most accommodation spots, activities and attractions offer special rates during their off-peak periods.
  2. Share your costs with one or more other traveller(s). If you can split the costs of transport and accommodation, you will be guaranteed to save plenty of money. Try to rope in some good friends for a really memorable experience.
  3. Book your tickets as long in advance as possible to benefit from early booking rates.
  4. Do plenty of research ahead of time so that you can plan well and not have nasty surprises that will cost a lot to rectify (such as realising that you have forgotten to organise
    transport from the airport and having to fork out a handful for a taxi).
Research, Research, Research!

Do Your Research!

  1. Fly during the week, as weekend rates are usually considerably more expensive than between Monday and Friday.
  2. Consider going to a destination that is not a typical tourist hotspot, but that offers the same type of holiday. For instance, staying at a resort in Mozambique may be just as romantic and have the same exotic appeal as the Seychelles, but will certainly be far cheaper.
  3. Some insurance companies offer travel and / or car insurance as part of their package. Check if you can benefit from this instead of taking out separate insurance at extra cost.
  4. Rather than travelling independently, book a package tour or a deal that includes a number of different activities as part of the package plan.
  5. Make your own food, especially when doing longer day trips but also at the place at which you’re staying, instead of having to buy food or eat out.
  6. Do a bit of investigation so that you exchange your money at the best possible rate and
    get the most for your currency.
Take A Packed Lunch

Take A Packed Lunch

  1. Consider hiring a hybrid vehicle to cut down on travel costs. Don’t use air-conditioning unless it is absolutely essential.
  2. Use public transport wherever possible. Season tickets or multi-use tickets may apply for buses, tubes or subways and will almost certainly be cheaper than buying a new ticket for every trip.
  3. If you are travelling extensively within just one or two places, think about taking your bicycle along and seeing the countryside at your own pace. If possible, walk from one place to the next. Even longer distances may be relaxing when you’re enjoying the sights and sounds of a new place.
  4. In terms of accommodation, camping or staying in a dormitory or backpackers is going to save you a lot of money when compared to Bed & Breakfasts, guesthouses and hotels. If applicable, you could do an accommodation exchange, which means that you stay at a local’s home and then open your home to them when they visit your country.
Who Needs Hotels

Who Needs Hotels

  1. If you want to buy food and refreshments, the cheapest places that these are available are usually in markets and at street vendors. Depending on your destination, you may need to be quite careful about finding food that will not upset your stomach.
  2. Some tourist attractions are free, such as various museums, monuments and art galleries. Take advantage of these to get a real taste of the destination without spending huge amounts of money on popular tourist hotspots.
  3. Try to avoid buying food, refreshments and curios at popular tourist spots. These places are designed for travellers with spending money.
  4. For an extended holiday, try to find somewhere to work during your time at the destination. Au pairing, waitressing and teaching English are all good opportunities.

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Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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