Hi you! So in the previous year, I’ve lived in Bali, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam with my boyfriend Markus and per month our travel costs have been less than 500€ per person. Before our next trip (starting in October), I wanted to write down some pretty good hacks that help us easily cut the costs. We actually discovered these points pretty randomly while discussing the subject the other day. These work for us, so I’m sure these will help you too!
Before jumping into the secrets, I’ll quickly let you know our normal living standard.
What’s our normal living standard while travelling?
So I’ll take Bali for the example, where we stayed for 3 months at the end of 2018. You can see the exact costs here. In Bali we rented a new private house with the craziest view to the fields (the rent included cleaning twice per week, drinking water, internet, etc), had a scooter for all of this time, ate out at least once a day, drank coffees out almost every day, had massages a couple of times per week and I also went to a yoga class 2-3 times per week. And this ALL for one person cost us less than 500€ / month.
If you are wondering how to even find a house in Bali, I wrote all about it here.
So what’s the secret to travelling so cheap?
#1 Not eating meat
Shocker, I know (haha), but we didn’t at first even think about it. Meat usually costs twice as much as vegetarian food. So basically every day we can have lunch for 2 people for around 4-5€. When we would eat meat this would be already 8-10€. And monthly it would make kind of a difference. Also, with vegetarian food it’s hard to go wrong (but trust me it IS possible), so we also go to budget-friendly places. Usually fried rice tastes kind of the same, so it’s no point to pay 5€ for it on the main tourist street if you can get it for 1.5€ on the next street. PS! Not eating meat is also good for the environment. So my tip: eat less meat and avoid the touristic places.
#2 Travelling together
This is also obvious, but something we didn’t think about before we met solo backpackers. They have to pay for everything by themselves and we divide everything by two. Okay not EVERYTHING, but the biggest costs usually are accommodation and transportation (which we always split). So if we pay 10€ for a room, this means 5€ per person for us, but the solo traveller has to pay 10€ per person. Same with renting a scooter – when we did a road trip in Northern Vietnam, we paid 40€ for the scooter, helmets, and insurance. But for us it meant 20€ per person. This sharing the travel costs applies to smaller things as well like eating out – Sri Lanka had such big portions that we often shared food. AND when you go together, you can often ask for discounts on massages, tattoos, etc. So to cut costs, travel with someone.
#3 Staying long term
I think one bonus of slow travelling is that when you stay longer in places you get discounts. For example, we got a discount of 2 million rupees (125€) on our Bali house just because we rented it for 3 months straight. And gyms often also have cheaper monthly prices if you take it for a longer period of time. Same with motorcycle rentals etc. And I think when you are in the “living” mode, not “travelling” mode, you cook more at home and know your way around (which usually means you can find cheaper whatever items).
#4 Travelling only with backpacks
Which means as much as I like all the handcraft bowls and candles and other home decor items (lol I don’t even have a home) there is NO WAY I want to carry these things around with me. And it would be such a hustle to fit all of these in my backpack. Same with clothes, I’ve seen oh so many gorgeous bags, shoes, and clothes, but I’ve left them ALL in the store, because I know I don’t really need them and thinking about having to fit another thing in my backpack gives me anxiety.
So these are the main tips we’ve discovered how easily cut the travel costs and I hope that these tips help some of you abroad as well! Let me know in the comments if you have your own secrets to share!