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Frugal Traveling – How to accommodate everything into your budget

Traveling freely without letting your wallet feel a hard pinch is a real task. I speak (well, I write!) from personal experience and from that of others. It seems easier to follow a strict diet while trying to drop a few pounds but following your budget while traveling is a snowball’s chance in hell!

Useless expenses torch the wallet entirely leaving you in a cumbersome situation. A jovial attitude while managing expenses on the road can be a precarious ladder to stand on. I opt to follow some menial methods to keep myself in check. Hope they can help at least a few of my fellow travellers.

Picture by Ashwin Purohit.

Don’t give in to the “duty-free” temptation.

Many travellers burn through their budgeted capital rapidly due to this common and rather imprudent reason. When you are at a “duty-free” store, decide whether you can control your urges while window shopping. Walking in to browse and walking out with a legion of unnecessary purchases will definitely suck you dry. If it’s a need go for it, if it’s a tempting want, just walk away. Spend that money on a rope way ride, a hotel upgrade or if you can’t think of anything, a bar crawl (yes it’s completely contradictory but it is bound to give you great memories!).

Pictures and memories will express more than memorabilia.

Indulging in collecting local authentic paraphernalia can be good, but it should never be instinctive. The “oh I got to take that piece home! It’s unbelievably beautiful” attitude will always kill your travel budget. I prefer to take pictures and make memories worth reminiscing with friends and family when I’m back home. My suggestion for avid collectors would be to set aside a specific amount to spend on souvenirs. Spend no more - no less than this sum which is included in the budget.

Public transportation acts as the backbone of your budget.

Subways, Trams, Metros, Buses, trains, Tube, Rickshaws and every other local means of transport are budget friendly. The safety and security aspect of travelling on these rather than a cab can be debated until time stands still. But, if money is in question, I always prefer the former. In many countries like Prague and the U.K, you can get a “day pass” and travel to and fro to as many places you desire. In Mumbai, India, the local trains are the cheapest, fastest and the most well connected option of travel. The one-way ticket cost ranges from INR 5 to INR 30 spread across 4 routes.

Simple living high thinking.

It’s acceptable to treat yourself to a lavish stay at a resort or an incredible meal at a restaurant now and then. But if you wish to be thrift, a little abstinence is required. Hostels, homestays and couchsurfing are the optimal choices to save money on accommodation. Staying at these establishments can be awkward, uncomfortable and downright disastrous at times, but every cloud has a silver lining. The friends you make at hostels, the bonds you form with your couchsurfing or homestay hosts are everlasting. The next time you visit that destination, just drop an email or text to your friends. Even if they aren’t able to host you, they will definitely join you for a day around the city or a drink at night.

I am not a “follower of a strict backpacker-budget” kind of traveller. I vary my estimate cost after thoroughly analysing my upcoming travels. The way you plan to spend your wherewithal is up to you. After all, some people prefer luxury travel while some walk the nomadic path. Eventually, exorbitance is unfavourable to all. 

How do you budget your expenses for an adventure? 


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