First off I want to preface this article by saying this is totally possible and in fact pretty easy to do. I know this because we’ve been travelling around the world for nearly 3 years now on exactly this budget. From Argentina to China and Spain to Vietnam, travelling the world on £25 per day is entirely doable. Here’s how we manage it.
If you’ve not done much travelling before it can be easy to be put off by the idea of eating your lunch on the street. But that’s only because it’s not so common in the west. It’s definitely not any less hygienic than a restaurant with a kitchen you can’t see and is nearly always where the tastiest grub is at. So keep your food costs low by searching out the busy places where the locals eat and plonk yourself down on a plastic stool.
Another way to keep costs low food wise if you are travelling in a country that doesn’t have a decent street food culture is to cook for yourself. Local markets are the best places to pick up cheap groceries. So if you’re not the best chef, do your pocket a favour and pick up a few culinary skills before you set off on your adventure.
We budget £5 each per day for food. This includes alcohol. If you like to party a lot you are going to need to be particularly savvy with this part of your budget.
The biggest budget killer you’ll face while travelling is the cost of transport. If you’re on the move every few days, bouncing between places trying to see the whole of a country it will come at a cost. Our advice - take it nice and slow. Cut down the amount of places you want to visit in favour of staying longer in some places. You don’t have to plan this in advance, and if you don’t like a place you don’t have to stay.
Keeping a lid on transport costs will also significantly reduce your spending average. As will walking. Walk everywhere that it’s possible to. Not only will you get to see more of the place you’re in, your budget will thank you for it.
We budget £7 each per day for transport. Of course we don’t spend any of this most days, it just stays in our travel fund pot for our next long distance bus journey or flight.
Depending on whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or in a group, there are going to be different types of accommodation that are the most cost-effective for you. For solo travels, you can’t generally go wrong with a bed in a hostel dorm room. For couples or groups, we find Airbnb to usually be the most favourable. Especially when saying places for at least week, you can get some decent discounts.
Always scan different booking agents too as they often have different prices advertised, Hostelworld, Booking and Airbnb are our go-to ones. We budget £9 each per day for accommodation, but be sure to thoroughly check reviews because cheap accommodation does not have to mean bad accommodation.
Before you arrive somewhere, do your research. Plenty of attractions have certain days of the week when entry is free, or free walking tours on specific days of the month. Also only hire a guide if it’s necessary for your safety or will greatly enhance your experience. We take very few tours because with a little bit of research you can usually find your way to places independently and still experience the best of a country. An example? Making our own way to the Great Wall of China.
We budget £4 each per day for activities. If we want to do something that’s relatively expensive like scuba diving or bungee jumping for example, we save up our daily £4’s or cut back on another budget element to top it up.
Take advantage of cheaper countries
By this I don’t mean where the beers cheap, drink twice as much, or where accommodation is a bargain, splash out on a swank place. Of course you could, but we’d recommend using these days to keep a little back in your travel fund for the countries where the cost of living is higher. For example, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy Thailand on just £15 per day to give you £35 per day in Japan.
Track your spending
Now this might all sound like a lot of hard work keeping track of every expense on your travels but it’s absolutely necessary if you are going to travel on a tight budget. And there is an easy way. We use and recommend an app called ‘Trail Wallet’. It’s free and super easy to use, allowing you to set a daily budget and track your spending with categories.
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