Our Budget Travel Tips

Budget traveling is something you will learn while doing it. But, there are some budget travel tips you need to consider before you go. Most of them seem obvious, but we learned how important they are. Never think that you can skip a rule, or you will be punished for it!!

Learn the exchange rates

Arriving in new countries is always a bit of a struggle. A new currency to learn, and you need to learn it fast, since you want to exchange money right away. The people at the borders, airports, or harbors exchanging money all benefit from ignorant travelers. If one is very eager on a deal, it most certainly is a bad deal for you. We have seen many happy travelers, thinking they made a good deal, but finding out later that it wasn’t. So learn the exchange rate upfront. You can follow all budget travel tips, but if you miss this one, you're money will quickly be gone.

Learn the going rates

Once you know the exchange rate, you also know what people are charging you. But, be sure not to compare them too much with the prices from the country you came from. Even between neighboring countries, the differences can be huge. As an example, pricing in Indonesia is very different from pricing in its neighbor Malaysia, let alone Singapore.

Negotiate up front

So, before you buy anything, be sure to negotiate. The only guarantee that you pay a good price is when the vendor isn’t too happy with the deal. When you feel sorry for the vendor, realize that the price you negotiate probably still is higher than what locals would pay. And the more disappointed the vendor is, the happier other locals are that you didn’t screw up the market prices.

We would like to put some extra emphasis on negotiating upfront. We have learned this golden rule the hard way. Longing for a hot cup of tea in a cold Beijing, we were very glad to get offered one. But, only asked for the costs after sipping from it. Wrong!! There was no possibility of negotiating anymore, since we already “bought” the tea. We ended up paying the equivalent of a three course meal for a simple cup of tea…

Local tours

After settling in you will plan on visiting the attractions of the region. Obviously, you can visit them all by yourself. But most of the hotels will also offer you tours to different sights. Before you turn those offers down, consider what they are offering. Compare the offer with what it would cost you going there by yourself. Very often (especially with the offerings from backpacker hostels) the deals are very good. Add that to the time and trouble you will save by not having to find it out by yourself, and then make your decision.

There is always the possibility not to visit the expensive attractions in the region. But, consider that you will probably not come here again. And if you do, entrance fees will not have decreased. So, Maybe this one doesn't belong among the budget travel tips, but do not save money by not doing things you would actually like to do. And doing them on a local tour often is great fun.


Many local tours have originated from the idea of sharing transport to the local attractions. So if there are no organized tours, you can still decide to share the transport you arrange yourself. But in fact, you can share anything, while traveling. In many hostels, people are cooking their own food. That may be a hassle, but the hassle reduces when you share your meal, and get a meal in return. And, when the only lodging available is a double room, share one with someone else. And there are probably other things you can share too. Before you do, however, make sure you can trust the person you are sharing with.

Take your time

The last tip we will give you is to take your time. Traveling fast is much more expensive than taking it slow. Of course, you will visit less destinations while traveling slow, but you will see much more from the destinations you do visit. You will spend less on transportation, you will learn where to get the best value for money, and you will find out about the off the beaten track attractions.

Although we regret very little we did on our world journey, we do regret not to stay a bit longer on some fantastic destinations.

So, there you have it. Our budget travel tips collected during our travels. There are probably many more tips to be given, but if you stick to these, you will probably be fine. And there will be plenty more budget travel tips for you to find out yourself.

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