Top Tips for Budgeting While Travelling
Generally speaking, money is the number one thing that holds people back from travelling to their dream part of the world, or getting involved in a life-changing volunteering opportunity. However, this does not have to be the case. Below, we have run through some of our top tips on how to budget your time away, and make travel more accessible to everyone.
Find a flat share with other volunteers:
If you are travelling or volunteering abroad, then you should always avoid living alone. One reason for this is that staying in accommodation alone in an unfamiliar location can put you in a vulnerable position for break-ins and other such things. Still, other than a safety point of view, you can save a considerable amount of money by arranging alternative accommodation, such as living with other volunteers or in a local homestay or hostel.
If you are going with an official volunteer program then it is always advisable to request to be put in contact with the other volunteers in your group well in advance of the trip, if this is not already the case. This allows you to arrange shared accommodation, share tips and tricks for packing and travel arrangements, and discuss all bringing different things that you may be able to share once there.
There are a huge number of books and blogs out there that tell people planning to travel that they ought to pack as light as possible and stick to a carry-on suitcase. But, there are also those out there who warn that you should pack heavier so that you don’t have to buy any necessities when there.
In reality, the truth lies somewhere between the two. You want to ensure that you have all of the essentials to get by while away, but it’s not realistic to suggest that you will be able to pack enough that you don’t buy anything while travelling. The best tip is to pack smart. You should have a pretty good idea of the weather before you go, and you should pack according to this.
For example, if you are looking to volunteer in Ghana during the summer months, you can safely predict that it will be warm and dry for most of your time there. So, while you might want to pack one light rain coat on the off chance of getting caught in a shower, you probably don’t need to take up valuable luggage space with long-johns or extra blankets ‘just in case’.
Make the most of local food markets:
This tip should be interpreted differently depending on where you are planning on travelling or volunteering. You should always try to eat as close to how the locals do, as they have probably found the most cost-effective way to do so.
In some places, such as parts of south-east Asia, this might mean dining out at local food markets rather than buying fresh produce and cooking for yourself. However, in other areas of the globe, this will be a lot more expensive, and you will find that locals tend to cook at home most nights and save eating out for special occasions, much like how we do here in the United Kingdom.
Acquaint yourself with local public transport:
The final, and possibly most important tip, is to quickly familiarize yourself with the local public transport situation when you arrive at a destination. If you are volunteering, and possibly staying in a more rural area, then this might not be as important and transport may be arranged through your program provider. However, if this is not the case, then the quicker you are able to start using the most cost effective, and most reliable, mode of transport in the area, the better.
As with the food situation, this may differ depending on where you are travelling, and the best way to deduce what the best option is is to assess how the local people get around the area.
When it comes to travelling, whether part of an official volunteer program, with friends, or alone, anything is possible. The key is to be smart, and to carefully plan out everything that you do beforehand. As mentioned in this post, this includes accommodation, travel, food, and much more.
All of these tips are important to keep in mind both before you travel, and while you are away. Still, it is always best to be realistic with the budget you are working with, and try to keep an emergency fund of money available for in case anything does go wrong during your trip.