GROW YOUR NETWORK
The reason I was able to book that flight to Tokyo is because I knew I had someone out there to stay with. Having friends around the world has been a huge factor in the amount I’ve been able to travel. Keep your own home open and stay in touch with everyone you meet on the road. Eventually you’ll end up with a huge network of friends with homes you can visit, all around the world.
GUEST OF HONOUR
Be an amazing guest. If you’re lucky enough to stay with a friend for free then leave the house way cleaner then you found it. If you’re staying with someone for five days or a week then put aside $100 of your travel budget to buy them groceries or take them out for a nice meal. It will alleviate your guilt, provide a chance to experience the local food culture, and make your host much more likely to welcome you back.
USE TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY
If you don’t have anyone to stay with then Air BnB is always the best way to go. I once got the most amazing apartment in Paris for $60 a night, all to myself. I also use Priceline to bid on hotel rooms – in the past, I’ve managed to get 4* rooms for $100 by going in with a lowball offer - it’s worth a try! The Hotel Tonight app is also great for getting great, cheap, last-minute rooms, although I generally only use it as a last resort.
PACK YOUR BREAKFAST (OR LUNCH)
Buy a box of granola bars and put them in your suitcase. Seriously! I’ve just started doing this – I took a tiny carry-on bag to London for two weeks this summer and stuffed 20 granola bars in it! We laughed about it, but doing that saved me £10 on breakfast or lunch every single day. So buy high-protein granola bars before you travel and pack them wherever you go. They’re easy to carry, light, non-perishable and they will save you the price of at least one meal a day.
BRING A BOTTLE
Water is always so expensive, especially in airports, so I don’t leave the house without a reusable water bottle in my bag. It’s just a lightweight plastic sports bottle but it will save you $5 every time you go to the airport and half that when you’re out and about. [Editor’s Note: I use a bottle with an inbuilt filter that renders even gross airport fountain water drinkable.]
GET YOUR VITAMIN B
Take your vitamins, specifically Vitamin B. Here’s why: trying out new restaurants when I travel is a huge thing for me, but eating out can get expensive. Vitamin B gives you energy and supposedly suppresses appetite, so you can go out to eat without feeling the urge to order a huge (expensive) meal. Similarly, if you’re walking around a city and you get hungry you can easily waste €10 on a little pastry and a coffee, so you’ll save a lot of money if you’re carrying vitamins and snacks on you! Vitamin B in an energy stimulator, so it’s also great for jetlag while also being a lot safer than getting crazy-buzzed on caffeine.
ASK A LOCAL
Ask around for tips on cheap eats – sometimes you just can’t find out that stuff on the internet. Tokyo is so expensive, maybe the most expensive place I’ve ever been, and I went there with $400 to last two weeks! You can easily spend that on one meal in Tokyo, but the friend I was staying with told me he lived off these amazing onigiri (rice wraps) from the local 7 Eleven. They were about a $1, so I literally survived on them for my whole trip.
STASH A FLASK
Buy a bottle of alcohol in duty free, and carry a hip flask with you at all times. You might be so broke that you can barely afford to buy a piece of pizza but if you go out and get drunk then you’ll be pulling out your credit card and acting reckless before you know it.
Stay tuned for part 3 (Logistics and Luxuries), coming soon…