This is the first in a new series of money tips I’ll be giving based on my travels and experiences travelling and working over the last few years. Bear in mind these are personal money tips that have helped me through the years and you may not agree with me or wish to use them!! I get annoyed about people asking me for tips on saving money when they travel yet they send me a message from an iPhone, or they are in a restaurant eating dinner at the time. The price of their phone alone was the same as my two week trip to Taiwan in 2009! And their dinner bill was the same as my entire week’s shopping!
Part 1 – STOP Buying Luxuries!!!!
It sound obvious but I can’t stress this enough. If you really want a lifestyle of travel – then you have to give up buying luxuries. You really have to – unless you’re lucky enough to be rich. Most people I meet when I travel they own or buy what I class as luxuries at some point. My only real “luxuries” are beer and football shirts by the way, they are the most expensive things I buy – apart from flights and travel tours which I don’t count as luxuries but travel essential costs . Here’s FIVE luxuries to avoid buying when and before you travel or move countries. You don’t need them, believe me.
1. “Designer” or Expensive Clothes.
I don’t buy “designer” clothes, I never have and I never will. It doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Your clothes are going to get worn and ruined, who cares if it says Paul Smith on a shirt? I’d rather pay $2 for a T-shirt that says Hong Kong on it! Apart from football shirts and souvenir t-shirts, I haven’t bought any clothes for travel in about 4-5 years. My most expensive item of clothing is my Northern Ireland football shirt. The above pictured shirt I got free by spending money on alcohol – one of my luxuries. People might think that cutting out designer goods means I don’t care about image – but I do care about image, I have my own style of image. Normally my football shirt or travel t-shirt of choice.
If this isn’t your style though, another smart way to save money and still get the look you’re after is by using coupons and rebate sites. This East Dane promotional code is a good example.
2. Expensive and bulky electronic equipment.
I don’t own a TV (television) and I never have done (I did use my parents television before, years ago in case you ask). I don’t own a fridge or washing machine. I make sure each flat I stay at has these two things. I don’t own an iron, a kettle or a microwave oven. In my flat I have two main items of electronic equipment: my laptop (essential for me as I blog a lot, book trips and keep up to date with football); a toaster (my girlfriend bought me it as she knows how much I miss a peanut butter sandwich!)
3. “Smart” phones! These annoy me.
Who travels the world with a “smart” phone? (whatever that is) I spent 4 months in South America without a phone – didn’t need or want one. I used my laptop to stay online at various points and my camera to take photos and make videos. I also spent 6 months living in Australia without a phone. I currently have a phone which I got for free through my girlfriend signing up for a credit card. The phone can text and call. It can’t do anything else. Nor should it – it’s only a phone!
Every now and then you will stay in a hostel or hotel with free soap, shower gel and shampoo. These are the times to stock up on them and take advantage. I carry normally just a bar of soap (rough cost is 20 US cents??), and my latest toiletries bag contains only 3 items I bought in shops (my roll-on deodorant, my toothbrush and toothpaste – please also note that when you travel in places like China, a lot of hotels/hostels provide toothpaste and toothbrushes for free). Why travel the world with brand name shower gel when the next day you’re hiking a mountain? Also another great thing about stocking up on free toiletries is they last a long time, Iv’e gone months without buying a single toiletry item. AND what’s more they are normally under 100 ml each, so if you are getting on a flight you also don’t need to worry about getting them confiscated.
I try NEVER to get a taxi unless I’m in a country where they are cheap and I get stuck. I spent almost two years living in Australia and I got taxis twice (once work paid for it – the other time I wanted to walk home but my two mates offered to pay if we got a taxi so I was coerced into getting one). Plus, I find you get less culture and sightseeing from taxis and their drivers, who are often only after your money. On my travels, I’d estimate that I’ve avoided taxis of any type in at least 40 of the countries I’ve been to. (I don’t count tuk tuks and hostel pick ups as taxis by the way). The only things that ever change this opinion of mine are peer pressure (I have a few mates in Hong Kong who ALWAYS get taxis – so I end up getting them sometimes) and illness (health reasons).
SO there’s a start for you. Cut out these luxuries and you’ll be saving the pennies for your next adventure!!!!