- Buy food in supermarkets and marketplaces and cook meals in hostel kitchens
This saves a ridiculous amount of money, even if you just buy groceries for breakfast and lunch and eat dinner out.
- Street food – it’s risky but deliciously cheap and deliciously tasty
Judge on a case-by-case basis. Avoid salads that are probably washed with local water. I ate street food every day and didn’t get sick, and it was always at least half the price of restaurant food.
- Be prepared when you pack
Don’t get there and realise you need to buy a jumper, hiking boots, adaptor, whatever. You’ll most likely be in such dire need for certain items that you’ll pay much more than you would back home.
- Talk to other travellers
Everywhere you go, you’ll meet travellers that are going to the same places you’ve already been to or coming from the places you’re going to. The best way to get tips on which places to visit, stay and eat is to chat to other travellers.
- Shared dorms
Accommodation is amongst the biggest money sappers. The more people you share a dorm with in hostels, the cheaper your fare. Often, if you show up on the day, most big dorms will be filled and you’ll be forced to take a smaller room. Book a few days ahead of time to avoid missing out.
- Book accommodation ahead of time
Showing up to hostels is convenient and easy, but it can cause major issues when they’re full, which is common during peak season. A cab fare to a hostel that’s full is wasted money, and the next closest hostel might be significantly more expensive. It takes a few seconds to book online the day before, and many places don’t even require a deposit.
- Make a budget
It doesn’t have to be finite, but create a guideline for your daily expenditures on food, accommodation and leisure activities based on how much you intend to spend overall. It’s hard to budget for big activities and tours ahead of time unless you’re certain what you want to do, so I generally just set aside a sum at the beginning and exclude this from the total amount I want to spend on day-to-day expenses.
- Buy drinks from bottle shops
Drinks at hostel bars are cheap, but still significantly more expensive than just a bottle of spirits. A great deal of money can be saved just by starting your night with drinks bought externally, before making your way to the hostel bar. This usually isn’t allowed so make sure you’re sly!