“You can have a Masters degree in making money, but you will still wind up broke if you have a PhD in spending it.”
It’s a great feeling when you set yourself a savings goal and then finally reach it.
You feel like a financial wizard. But the party’s not over yet.
If you truly want to take control of your finances, you need to learn how to spend your savings wisely. This especially applies if you’re planning a vacation.
We’ve put together 10 tips for spending money overseas that won’t leave you broke, allowing you to travel for longer and get the most fun out of your trip.
- 10 tips for spending less on a trip
- More ways to save money while traveling
Here we go.
10 Tips For Spending Less Money On Vacation
Becoming a master saver doesn’t stop when you buy your flights.
Knowing how to spend your money is just as important as learning how to save it. Especially when you’re on vacation.
- Create a travel budget
A well-planned travel budget can go a long way.
When you map out your expenses and save accordingly, you minimize the risk of overspending and running out of money earlier than expected.
If you’re not sure how to make a travel budget that works, don’t worry - we’ve got you covered.
Check out our Ultimate Guide To Creating Your Own Travel Budget to get started.
- Be careful where you eat
Food can be a real killer when abroad.
In some places, it may be cheaper to eat out than cook your own meals.
Compare supermarket prices with local restaurant menus to determine the cheapest option. If it’s cheaper to cook for yourself, go for ingredients that won’t go to waste or expire.
Google reviews can also give some indication of which places are the cheapest to eat at.
Bonus tip: Restaurants tend to be a little pricier when they are right next to the beach or the main plaza. Try dining a couple of roads back from the touristy areas for better deals.
- Only pack the essentials
Checked luggage prices can add significant bulk to your ticket price.
If you’re going to be taking multiple flights during your vacation, these additions can hurt your wallet.
Try to pack only what you need when going abroad.
A good rule of thumb is to bring no more than one week’s worth of clothes, a single pair of shoes, and only small accessories.
- Haggle with taxi drivers and street vendors
We understand that haggling isn’t everybody’s thing.
For many, it can feel quite uncomfortable.
In touristy places like Italy and Mexico, however, taxi drivers and merchants will often give you a price astronomically higher than what they expect you to pay.
Avoid getting ripped off by coming prepared with a counteroffer. 50-65% of the suggested price is usually a good place to start.
- Use public transport whenever possible
Renting a car or private shuttle in a foreign country can cost a fortune.
Luckily, there’s a better option.
Using public transport in foreign countries may seem daunting at first, particularly if you don’t speak the local language. But trains, buses, trams, and ferries are set up so that almost anyone can access them.
They’re a lot cheaper than private transport and can often get you to your destination a lot quicker, too.
- Be willing to sacrifice comfort
It’s nice to stay in private hotel rooms with soft pillows, room service, and a fancy ensuite.
Nice… but expensive.
Is your goal to spend less while traveling however you can?
You may need to lower your standards for accommodation.
Staying in a bunk bed in a 12-person hostel dorm room might sound a bit grim. But in most countries, it’s usually a fraction of the price of a hotel room.
And if you’re traveling solo, hostels are one of the best ways to make new friends, sign up for exciting tours, and escape loneliness.
Check out Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Airbnb to find deals on cheap accommodation.
- Avoid the swindlers
For every beautiful landmark and tourist destination, there are 500 scammers trying to make a quick buck at your expense.
These people are a natural part of travel, and they’re just doing what they can to get by.
Don’t get angry about it. Get smart.
Never buy tickets or book tours with the people hustling on the streets. (You know the kind: loud, pushy, and usually carrying a laminated card with all sorts of extortionate prices scribbled on it).
Instead, search online or speak to the staff at your place of accommodation to find the best deals on tours and activities.
- Pick up a local sim or pocket WiFi
International roaming fees tend to be pretty high with most mobile providers.
In most cases, your best bet is to simply wait until you reach your destination country and buy a sim card when you get there. Sims are often sold in airports and train stations, as well as in dedicated shops run by carrier providers.
And if you’re having trouble buying phone credit for your new sim, there are a couple of places online that allow you to buy phone credit and data plans no matter your service provider.
Check out Ding and Recharge.com to top up any phone from anywhere in the world.
In places like Japan and Europe, you can even rent portable WiFi routers, known as “pocket WiFi” pretty cheaply in many cities.
Important note: International sim cards only work with unlocked phones. Make sure yours is unlocked before you leave to make the most of this saving tip.
- Take advantage of free-admission days
Museums and art galleries might seem like a relatively cheap way to pass the time.
But not when you’re paying tourist prices for multiple entry fees.
Luckily, many of these places offer free admission once per week or once per month to anybody wishing to visit. You just need to jump online and find out when that is.
If you’re a student, remember to take your student I.D. card with you when you travel. Student discounts are another great way to save a tonne of cash on activities.
- Switch off your subscriptions
It can be easy to forget how many things you’re paying for… until you stop using them.
Count up all the services you’re subscribed to and ask yourself whether you’ll need them while you’re away.
Do you plan on watching Netflix during your trip? What about using Spotify?
If you currently have a phone plan or own something that’s on finance, speak to your service provider and see if there’s a way to put the payments on pause until you get back.
Now you have a pretty good list of hacks to save more cash during your next vacation.
Let’s take it a step further.
How To Save Even More While Abroad
Smart planning, self-discipline, and a good travel budget will help you spend less on an overseas trip.
But there are other ways to make your cash go further.
Check out these fun and effective methods for spending less while traveling longer.
Give volunteer work a go
There are people desperate for volunteers in virtually every part of the world.
In many cases, they’re willing to offer accommodation, food, and friendship in exchange for a little hard work. And there’s something for everyone.
Consider working in a hostel, lending a hand at an animal sanctuary, or teaching local children English to help lower the total cost of your trip.
These websites are a great place to find volunteering opportunities:
Alternatively, you can just show up at certain places or contact them directly to score some amazing volunteering opportunities.
Get your hands on some travel and budgeting apps
There are dozens of digital tools and apps designed to help you stay on top of your finances while traveling.
Below is a list of some of our favorites:
Although it’s not available for every city in the world, Citymapper provides maps for over 100 cities across the globe. Better yet, it works out the most efficient and least costly methods of getting around them by combining multiple modes of transport.
Maps.me allows users to download maps and use them offline. This means you won’t have to buy a coffee just to borrow some WiFi next time you’re lost in a foreign land.
Make your money go further when you join one of GoodGhosting’s savings pools. By adding a weekly or monthly savings amount to a shared pool, you’ll be able to reap higher interest rates and even win rewards for regular deposits.
There are lots of great tools to help you save money and travel smarter - but only one that does both! Flywallet is an all-in-one travel budgeting tool designed to take the stress out of saving for and planning a vacation. Sign up for free today to turn your next dream holiday into a reality.
Keen to learn more about how we’re making travel more accessible for everyone? Find out here.