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How to save money when traveling or backpacking
If you are traveling for a long period of time, especially if you are backpacking, you are likely to be trying to save money when possible. For backpackers it is often the case that the more you save, then longer you can travel for. Here are some money saving tips.
- Go for the local food and drinks - the local food and drink is always cheaper than imported or toursit aimed goods. This is also one of the best ways of having a true experience of your host country. For example, in Nepal a cup of tea costs NRS10 (US$0.14 / £0.08), whereas a 650ml bottle of beer, which is considered a tourist product costs a whopping NRS190 (US$2.70 / £1.50).
- Shop around for accommodation - the price a hotel sets for a room for the night is an indication of it's quality, but often there are equally good hotel rooms for half the price. Look around and check your guide book.
- Buy train and bus tickets from operators directly - many travel agents and guest houses offer to book and arrange transport tickets, but they always add a commission. You can save money by buying your tickets directly from the operator at the railway or bus station. You may need to arrange transport to the station the day before to book tickets on busy routes, so factor this in.
- Barter with taxi drivers - negotiate a good rate before the taxi sets off. If there is a meter you can try and insist it is used, or get out.
- Wash your own clothes - not only do you save money, but you can wash your clothes straight after wearing them rather than waiting for a load of washing to accumulate or be washed. In hot countries you clothes will dry in half a day, which means you need fewer clothes and can travel lighter.
- Share accommodation and taxis - if you find someone like minded to travel with try sharing accommodation with them. In Asia and other places you'll normally pay a price fort the room, rather than the number of people it in. Ask people at taxi stops if they are going to the same place as you, or at least nearby.
- Use ATM's - Using an ATM to get cash normal costs a small fee from your bank (some banks don't charge) and is cheaper than the commission you'll pay with travelers cheques or a credit card cash advance. But if there is not ATM and you have to get a credit card cash advance...
- Compare credit card cash advance commission rates - if you are getting cash from your credit card using cash advances shop around for the rate. Some companies charge as much as 10%! Draw out large amounts if the fee is fixed rather than a percentage.