Today’s post is a guest post by NZ Muse, a writer from Auckland who’s just completed a six-month trip around the world. She blogs about money, travel, food, and generally bumbling through Gen Y adulthood.
Think you can’t afford to travel? Saving dosh while traveling isn’t much different than saving dosh in your day-to-day life. It’s all about weighing your priorities and cutting back in some areas so you can spend more freely on what matters to you.
You can fly from point A to B – or you could catch a bus, or even hitchhike. You can eat in Michelin restaurants – or you could seek out hole-in-the-wall joints, street food, or supermarkets. You can stay comfortably in resorts – or you could try budget motels, dorms, Airbnb or couchsurfing.
The thing is, sometimes trying to save a buck actually backfires on you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling the world for six months, it’s the importance of making smart financial decisions, often on the fly. Here’s a few times that scrimping has ended up costing us…
Hop aboard. Go to sleep in one city. Wake up in another. Save on a night’s accommodation in the process. Brilliant, right?
In theory, sure. But while you might save a few dollars by bedding down on a sleeper bus, the odds of actually getting enough shuteye is pretty low. You might end up eating into valuable time later catching up on sleep.
Just don’t do it. The whole experience is horrible, they’ll nickel and dime you to death, their airports are all way out of the way, and it’ll cost you an arm and a leg to get into the city. By the time you account for all the associated costs, you may well be worse off than if you’d gone with a slightly more expensive base fare on another airline. Beware the budget carriers – they can indeed save you big time, but don’t automatically assume that’s the case.
Paying a little more for accommodation that includes breakfast
This is always a bit of a crap shoot. We’ve enjoyed amazing spreads in Siem Reap, Hanoi, Munich, and Bologna, for example, but we’ve also had too many ‘we got up early for this?!’ moments.
You can check out the guest reviews online for any mention of breakfast, but take them with a grain of salt, since there’s no pleasing some people.
Ultimately, there’s no way to know if breakfast is worth it at any establishment except trial and error. You’ll never know until you rock up that first morning, but truthfully, I’ve been let down far more than I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Booking a cheap room with a ceiling fan, rather than one with A/C
Oh boy. If you’re lucky, you’ll only pay for this in sweat and a restless slumber. Or, if you’re us, it might land you in a Bangkok hospital – after your husband has a close encounter with a blade (or two) of the ceiling fan. Talk about the mother of all expensive mistakes! Luckily, the medical bill only added up to about $250, barely enough to even make an insurance claim for.
Have you ever tried to save money and had it backfire on you?