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Top Money Saving Tips

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Travel is a hugely rewarding experience; however, it can also be an expensive one. No matter how you go about planning or carrying out your trip, there is often a time during your travels when funds run low.

Unless you are plastic happy or have very generous family, you're going to need to learn how to save money whenever possible, especially when staying in more expensive countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (USA).

Whether you have overspent or are simply looking to travel on a budget, here is some top money saving tips to ensure you have enough cash to get by.

Accommodation is one of the most money-intensive aspects of travelling, but there are ways of getting a bed for the night on the cheap:

Stay in hostels - a hotel is great for a two-week holiday in Spain; however, such accommodation is way too luxurious and expensive for the backpacking lifestyle. Always try to stay in hostels. Sharing dorms and bathrooms with other travellers keeps the cost down and is a great way to meet new people. If no beds are available in hostels, look for a guesthouse with shared bathrooms. Whilst perhaps not the right fit for a family heading abroad, this option can be great for groups of friends or individual travellers.
Book a room in advance - beds and rooms can be hard to find during high season and those that are available are priced at a premium rate. Consider booking in advance online and grabbing a tidy discount.
Haggle - if you are staying somewhere for more than two nights, try haggling with the management for a discount. And remember - any saving is a good saving!
Travelling often involves a lot of public or private transport if you are looking to head off the beaten path, not only between towns and cities but also in some cases between countries.

Find out how much transport costs - tourists can often be scammed by transport providers, so make sure to check with hotels/hostels to find out how much you should typically be paying to get around.
Take the bus - buses are generally the cheapest way of getting around and present a great way of getting to see a country and meet locals.
Travel on the night train - if you are travelling a considerable distance, consider the night train. This can often save you money when compared to flying, and it will mean not paying for accommodation for a night - so can be ideal for certain types of travel!
Use bikes - bikes can be hired on the cheap and present a great way of travelling around the local area and keeping fit at the same time.
Food and Drinks
Your three meals a day and snacks in between will demand a significant chunk of your cash; however, it is possible to keep calories up without overspending.

Avoid restaurants (especially fast food ones) - restaurants offer great food, but while a fine Italian dish or a Big Mac meal is wonderfully enjoyable, such meals are way too expensive to eat regularly. Instead, try to buy dinner from street vendors. If you do need your fill of fast food, make sure to stock up on your condiments - grab some sauces, salt and pepper, sugar, milk and napkins as you can use these at a later date. Fast food can be cheap although did you really travel half way around the world just to try something you could have at home?
Buy from family stores - snacks, fruit, and other bits can be cheaper at local family shops than franchise supermarkets. Even if they aren't, you get a far more authentic experience.
Purchase large bottles of water - drinking water is cheap, but make sure to buy large bottles to keep the cost down. In many developed countries, you'll be able to drink the tap water - but it's always worth checking whether you can in advance, before you take a sip.
Eat as a group - try eating with a group of other travellers. That way you can order/cook fewer dishes and share the food around to make a saving. This can actually work well for families as well - if you befriend a fellow family on holiday, cooking for two broods is just as easy as one, and if you are Self Catering it can save you a lot of time in the kitchen to enjoy your holiday.
It's always nice to do a bit of shopping now and again, and with a bit of scouting around you can get what you need on the cheap:

Shop with the locals - try to stick to the areas where locals do their shopping, as stores will often be much cheaper than similar outlets in tourist areas.
Trade - if you have just finished a book, head to a second-hand bookstore and trade it in for new one. You should get some money off your purchase. Alternatively, trading books with other travellers is a great way not to get weighed down with more than a couple at a time.
Sell things you do not need - if you have travel gear you no longer need, try selling it at a street shop.
Buy washing powder - rather than use the laundrette to wash your clothes, buy some washing powder from a local store, and wash your clothes yourself. You'll be surprised how easy it is!
Keeping in touch
Although it is nice to keep in regular contact with family and friends on your travels, doing so can be a huge drain on finances, especially when making international calls. Keep costs down by doing the following:

Avoid making international calls on your mobile - use Skype, FaceTime, payphones, emailing, whatever - just don't phone home on your mobile!
Get a local SIM card - if you are making calls to travel companions, get yourself a local SIM card. This will keep the cost of calls down and you may even get free calls if your friend is on the same network.
Excursion tours can be great fun, but they are also pretty expensive. Instead of spending money on an official tour, think about hiring a bike or taking a bus and exploring the area for yourself. This will help save money and allow you to see exactly what you want to see.

Other ways to save money on excursions and tours include:

Buying a diving mask - if you are visiting Asia and Australia, you may partake in more than one spot of snorkelling. If this is the case, buying a diving mask will be cheaper than hiring one every time.
Do not buy travel books - tour providers often ask you to buy official books and guides. Don't bother; all of the information can usually be downloaded from the internet for free. (for example, on wonderful sites like this!)

As these tips show, travelling can be done on a budget and, as long as you are not too fussy and prepared to adapt, you may even get through your trip with a few pennies to spare!