Monday, 18 April 2016

Travelling on a budget

I'm actually amazed at how little I spent when I was in Sri Lanka. So much so, that I am kind of upset by how expensive everything in the UK is!

£3.20 for a meal deal?! I've been spending 50p maximum on lunch, for the past 3 months..

However, I also realised that it's very easy to be conned into paying more than you should, even if it's already cheap. The locals can take one look at a Westerner and bump up the price of anything, knowing full well that if we are naive, we will pay it regardless. And you know, that's fine if you have money to splash, but when you're a traveller, you're looking to save as much as you can so you can fit more adventures in.

So here's some little tips for future travellers..

1. Eat local food. £5-£10 for a western meal, compared to £1 for a local meal. No brainer, right? Ok, so sometimes you will want pasta or chips, and I'm not saying never eat those things. But for the majority of the time, it's so much cheaper to eat what the locals eat and chances are, it's going to taste so much better! It's not been imported and you're experiencing their culture a hell of a lot more by doing so.

2. Take public transport. I can only speak for Sri Lanka here, but public transport is definitely not a luxurious experience. However, it is FAR cheaper that taking a taxi everywhere. Public buses and trains are the way to go if you want to save money getting around.

3. Consider a travel card. If you're spending a good amount of time out of the country, then you are going to need to withdraw cash. I have a travel credit card from Halifax, which is really good for paying for things (not withdrawing cash!) but there are travel credit cards which are designed specifically for withdrawing money at ATM's, free of charge. Just make sure you know exactly what the card does before you go for it! The educational website, Credit Card Insider has a travel credit cards page that helps people to understand what travel credit card is right for them!

4. Stay in hostels. Do you really need a five star hotel, with bed and breakfast and a swimming pool? Hostels are basic, providing a bed, shower and sometimes breakfast, but what more do you really need? I used websites like hostelworld and managed to find places to stay for as little as £3 a night! My advice would be to ring up though, rather than booking online, because then you can explain that you are a student/volunteer, and you're more likely to get a discount.

5. Haggle! Something that doesn't really come naturally to us westerners, but you really should haggle when you're in Asia. And it can actually be kind of fun! Decide on a price you're willing to pay, and start lower than that. Sometimes pretending to walk away does the trick, as it's highly likely that you'll get called back for the sale!

1 comment

A Lychee a Day said...

I think you are right when you say good is stupidly expensive in the UK. I'm glad you saved lots of money with your different budgeting ideas :)

Ayesha xxx

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