The do's and don'ts of budget travel

Published January 11th, 2013

Looking to travel a lot this year? Well unless you’re a trust fund baby, you’re going to need to budget to make it happen. And in this day and age of cheap airlines, trendy hostels and budget apps, there’s never been a better time to travel on the cheap. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind on your next budget holiday.


Surfing in KutaDO keep to a daily budget: The key to being a good budget traveller is to think like an accountant. Cross your I’s, dot your T’s and keep your phone’s calculator at the ready for daily deductions. Whether you’re turned-on by an excel spreadsheet or like the old fashioned written-down sum, keep track of your budget while travelling and work out how much you can afford to spend each day.

DON’T get confused by exchange rates: If you’re not careful – they’ll get ya. Just knowing that the Australian dollar is worth roughly more or less than another country’s currency isn’t going to cut it when you’re travelling on a budget. Load a currency converter app to your phone to make life, and keeping to a budget, easier.


DO book your trip early: They say the early bird get the worm. In the case of travel, the early bird gets the cheap flights.

DON’T travel during the peak season: And by peak season we mean summer time in Europe, winter on the ski fields and Christmas time in the South Pacific. Basically if you can avoid travelling during the school holidays, you’ll be able to save quite a lot on accommodation and flights.


DO stay at a central location: While you may be able to skimp on luxuries, sometimes it’s worth spending a couple dollars extra on accommodation in a central area. A great area means you’ll be able to wander everywhere on foot, saving you both time and transport money.

DON’T always go for the cheapest option: The crack-den hostel on knife-fight avenue may be the cheapest place to stay in town – but is it really worth it? If you’re going to skimp on anything, make it the little things. When it comes to accommodation, it’s worth it to spend a few dollars more for a safe night’s sleep. To find the perfect place for you, check out our blog on how to pick the right hostel.


Travel in numbersDO skip the souvenir shops: Do you REEEELLLY need that plastic Eiffel Tower key chain being sold illegally at the Tuileries? Or that crappy and overpriced German beer stein that is destined to collect dust in your kitchen. Keep your pennies in your pocket and steer clear of the tourist traps. 

DON’T skip getting travel insurance to save a buck: This is one thing you can’t afford to skip. It may seem like an excessive cost at the time, but boy is it worth it when things go wrong. And they can, so don’t get caught without it.


DO shop at local supermarkets: Just because you haven’t got a kitchen at your hotel doesn’t mean you can’t shop local. Buy as much as you can from the local supermarket, from sweet snacks to instant noodle meals and bottles of water. It will all be far cheaper than purchasing it from a convenience store or café.

DON’T underestimate a breakfast buffet: Nothing screams value for money quite like a breakfast buffet. Even if you’re not a breakfast person (what's wrong with you!), try and fill up as much as you can and bring a bag with you to nab some muffins and fruit for later.


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.