Or to put it more precisely: How not to waste money.
You can save money by looking for a cheaper flight. But you can avoid wasting money in many ways. It’s a thin line:
– eat like a local: You go to Bolivia where they have amazing and fresh food and you go eat pizza in a touristy hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You pay ten times more than what a delicious local meal at a local restaurant or the market would have cost you. But why? You can have pizza when you go to Italy (where it is actually good pizza) and in Bolivia you eat quinoa. That’s the beauty of traveling.
– stop drinking. Alcohol I mean. It is expensive virtually everywhere and it makes you sick and tired. If you travel just to party, fair enough! But if you want to see and do stuff, alcohol will definitely ruin many days and your budget as well.
– drink water – especially if you didn’t listen to me and you still drink alcohol. Water is good for you and you should drink plenty in hot climates. Tea, coffee and coke actually dehydrate you further. Fruit juices tend to be expensive (except for in India, yum!). If that is the case, buy the actual fruit from the market and eat it. It is just as good.
– Don’t buy unncessary souvenirs. Your bag is too heavy as it is anyway.
– Don’t buy branded clothes/footwear. Yeah, it’s cooler to wear Havaianas than some cheap flip flops, but the difference in price can be enormous and there is a real chance of losing them or the ocean stealing them from the beach. Thongs for $1? Bring them on! I can buy a new pair every week. Same goes for shirts and pants that get stained very easily or damaged/lost in laundry shops.
– Handwash your clothes. Laundry services in some otherwise economical countries can cost a fortune because locals usually handwash their clothes. So do as the Romans and handwash. Saving money is not an excuse for not washing your clothes altogether!!!
– Hitchhike. OK this could be more in the “savings” category. A bus ticket is not necessarily a waste of money and in fact a super cheap promotional bus (or even plane) ticket can end up being cheaper than hitchhiking a longer distance where you will have to get out of cities by public transportation, eat at gas stations or even sleep in a motel. Hitchhiking is however a lot of fun and if you are not in a hurry, it is the best way to travel. Check out my Hitchhiker’s guide to …
– Couchsurf. That’s another one in the “savings” category I guess. Don’t couchsurf at any rate. It is bad manners and there are plenty of creeps out there too. Although most people are a lot of fun and with some common sense you will have a great experience. Warning! If your host lives far from the city or wants to show off their city by bringing you to an expensive restaurant instead of eating yummy street food, it might end up more expensive than getting a dorm bed.