Updated: May 26
MAXIMISING YOUR MONEY ABROAD
Danielle and I started with a simple goal 4 years ago...save enough money to travel for as long as possible. We've been together for several years and discovered our mutual love of travel during our very first trip together. That was a city break to Prague in 2016. Since then our love of travel is something that has remained constant throughout our relationship. That first trip led to holidays, city breaks and recently the adventure of travelling full-time.
Now we are living out of backpacks, it is more important than ever for us to spend our money wisely. Here are some tips we've found which have helped us so far.
STICK TO A BUDGET
We wrote about this previously in our blog on saving money to travel, and it's still something we use now. The last thing we want is to live too lavishly early on and end up running out of money too quickly. No one wants to find themselves counting pennies to buy packet noodles to survive!
We have separate budgets for food, accommodation and activities to make sure we don't overindulge and cut our trip short. There are particular experiences we can't offset, such as the PADI courses in Koh Tao recently. We are here to experience life after all, so it's okay to dip into savings for one-off wonders. Just don't keep dipping in to eat out at fancy restaurants every night.
If you could use a helping hand when it comes to budgeting then check out our handy guide here.
USE A TRAVEL-FRIENDLY BANK
It all adds up when you combine ATM, transaction and exchange charges. That's money that could be much better spent elsewhere, so make sure to think about which bank you use. Monzo is good for paying by card when abroad, but not so great for taking physical cash out of ATMs. Their £500 monthly withdrawal limit would have cost us a great deal in Indonesia where we relied heavily on cash. We chose Starling instead, which has no charges for transactions, exchanges or cash withdrawals. We've heard that Revolut is also a good option, but we haven't used them personally.
Travel within your means. That doesn't mean you can't get away, but think about where you want to go to. Some countries are more expensive than others, so don't overextend yourself or get into debt to visit somewhere. Instead of Paris check out Lisbon, instead of Santorini try Crete. It might be a bit different, but there are cheaper places out there which are incredible to visit. If you have your heart set on visiting somewhere outside of your price range, then reduce the number of days you stay there.
If you're travelling long-term then you can also think tactically about the order in which you do things. We flew to South East Asia first, before heading to Australia. This meant we could live for a lot cheaper at first while we made efforts to become more self-sustaining. Then when we get to Australia, and things are much more expensive, we will have some income from remote work. Everything we do is to give us the best chance of travelling for as long as possible.
RESEARCH YOUR ACTIVITIES
When you know where you want to go you can start thinking about the things you want to do when you get there. I regretted not getting my PADI qualification when I was in Thailand previously, so now was my chance again! Koh Tao is known as one of the cheapest places in the world to get this qualification. Rather than get it in England, or wait until we get to Australia I made sure we had enough time to do these courses in Thailand. Save somewhere like Australia for the things you can only do or find in Australia!
You'd be surprised by how much you can save by eating vegetarian more often. Even in some of the most remote places we've been we have found everywhere has vegetarian options...and they're usually the cheapest thing on the menu. If you're a long-standing meat-eater (like I was) then start eating veggie a few times a week at first. Not only will it help save money, but it's much better for the environment too!
EVERY LITTLE EXTRA HELPS
The best way to maximise your savings is to dip into them as little as possible. While this is something much easier said than done, it is still achievable for anyone. As a couple currently travelling the world we aim to use our savings as little as possible. So far we have managed to generate multiple revenue streams which help support our lifestyle and keep us out of our savings. Our day-to-day living is covered by working remotely as freelancers, renting a property back home out and various opportunities that come from growing our @couplesquest_ Instagram account. Our savings are reserved for particular activities and trips we want to do while we are out here.
IT'S DOWN TO YOU
There are more ways than I can count for anyone to make money on the move. I covered some here, but there are still a tonne more you can look into. With some time and effort, you can start to build something that can make you more money or even replace your current income. With so much choice out there I am certain that there is a money-making method that suits everyone. Some things like dropshipping require a little start-up money, whereas picking up freelance work off Fiverr or UpWork doesn't.
It's all down to you.