We know the frustration of wanting to see the whole world but feeling that you don’t have the budget. But we also think that shouldn’t stop you from planning ahead and conquering as much as possible by being clever with your cash.
At Travel Nation, we’ve done loads of backpacking, so we’ve already figured out many money saving tricks. It’s fair to say we also know what it’s like to ‘wing it’ and end up missing out on something cool, or wasting money on something that was needlessly last-minute and therefore expensive. The key is knowing how to get the most out of the money you do have - and we're here to help you do that!
In some cases (like campervan rental) you can save money just by booking ahead. In other situations including some hostel passes and group tours, you can book ahead, but keep the dates flexible, so everything is paid for, but you choose when you do it. Here are some of the ways we find we can habitually stretch your travel budget further...
A ‘surface sector’ is any part of your trip that involves flying into one airport and out of another and making your own way in between. This way you can travel further for your money because, for example, a £1,000 multi-stop ticket with surface sectors can have almost twice as many stops as a ticket without - ask us for tips on how to build them in to your ticket.
A group tour with a small bunch of like-minded people is an off-the-radar budget saver. Firstly, consider what’s included: normally all accommodation, all local transport and some/all meals.
Secondly, you’ll benefit from the knowledge of a local guide who knows all the best places to visit and who will be a treasure-trove of local information you’re simply not going to chance upon just by leafing through your Lonely Planet and people-watching.
To calculate a tour’s value, you can divide the price by the duration to see the per-day price. Compare that to how much you’d spend on transport, accommodation and bolting on the extra activities and the value soon adds up. Plus, you’ll make friends – even better if you’re travelling solo!
Be honest - who hasn’t dreamed about a road trip in a campervan at some point? Today’s campervans might not look as iconic as that VW you’ve been day dreaming about, but the bonus is that modern budget campervans are ingeniously designed to be super-efficient, space-saving little wonder-mobiles!
You’ll be sharing the costs of all transport and accommodation between at least two people, plus you can save money by shopping at supermarkets, making your own meals and keeping your own drinks cool in the on-board fridge. Campervans quickly add up to a low-cost, highly flexible trip addition.
Another way to save money or travel for longer is to think about the cost of living in each destination. Currently, Australia is considerably more expensive than most of the destinations in South East Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Spending longer in South East Asia will stretch your budget so you can do more, or simply treat yourself to some swankier accommodation if you prefer! We’ve cherry picked a few of our favourite tours in Asia, based on the countries we love and the extra value you’ll get:
Depending on the amount of time you have you might find that working abroad is an option. You could go for a volunteering project where you're not actually paid, but you’ll get food and board, so it won’t cost you much to live.
The other option is to seek paid employment – a particularly good option if you’re including Australia in your trip. You’ll need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa and look for a job; we offer packages for 7 days’ hostel accommodation alongside access to employment advice and jobs boards, to help you find work in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. You could work for a few months and explore locally, then use the money you save to venture further afield.
Based on our experience, we can always advise you on where to stay longer and where to skip through, if you're on a budget. It pays to talk to someone who's been to the places you're headed who will make sure you never miss out on the best bits. Nobody wants to come home and feel they missed out on a highlight that they'll never get the chance to return to. Similarly, just because the guide book mentions something, it doesn't mean it's the only option - we might have something else up our sleeve!
The best way to start planning is to call one of our friendly consultants on +44 1273320580 and start talking about what's realistic. We love the planning process for these once-in-a-lifetime trips, so if you want to speak to someone who's as excited as you - drop us a line or request a quote by email!