How to make your travel money last

The longer you stay in a place, the less you’ll spend.

I know it sounds ridiculous to you, when you look back at your last holiday and remember you spent €1,500 in just a week.  Do you know why that is?

You were in hotels. You did all the shopping possible because you finally had the time to spend hours in shops, then filled a suitcase and hoped the airline would not notice it’s past the weight limit. You only had that week of holiday from work and so tried to fit in all the activities and meals possible.

You indulged because you were time limited and you were trying to make the most of it.

travel money
Chilling at the place I call home in Nepal – Namaste Lodge, Pokhara

When you’re on the road for longer though, you’re time-rich.  You don’t have to rush into doing everything in a week.  You can enjoy walking to that place, instead of jumping into a taxi and running from one spot to the other, to try and fit as many activities possible in the little time you have.

When you have saved up and know you can be around for a few months, that rush stress dissolves.

You can do the tourist things in the first week you arrive somewhere, then just settle in and savour the place really for what it is.  Walk the streets, start making the faces of the shopkeepers familiar.  You start nodding a good morning to them and they start nodding back in recognition.

Here’s how you can spend less, when staying longer in a place:

Negotiate your room price

Walk into small guesthouses or hostels and ask them how much the price for a room is.  The smaller they are, the bigger the possibility that it’s run by the owner, who can negotiate. Once you have the price per night, tell them you’d be staying 14 days, for example, or a month even, however long you intend to stay. They’re bound to give you a discount for it.

sapa, vietnam, room
Tourists usually stay in Sapa, Vietnam no longer than 2 days. So I managed to negotiate a price for a room with a great view and turned it into my happy office, working for hours on end on my novel.

House-sit or volunteer

Believe it or not, there are ways of having accommodation for free.

On Mind My House, you swap free lodging with house-sitting for people , taking care of their pets and sometimes even feed a couple of chickens.

On other sites you can exchange your time and energy to help out on a project or helping out someone with their home gardening for example, for accommodation and food.

Here’s 2 exchange sites you can use: was founded by a guy who started developing a land with his wife, then realized he needed a couple of hands more on board.  There are a lot of backpackers in the area, so the idea sprung to mind.

Note: Hippo Help is just starting now, so the database is still building up but it’s free and map-based, making it easier for you to pick your preference of choices. you can offer to help out with a hostel’s reception desk or assist them with preparing the breakfasts for the guests, translations, marketing social media, in exchange for free accommodation.  I have tried it myself and found it very beneficial for both sides.

Check out this video to see what Workawayers had to say about their experiences:

Rent your place back home

If you have a place back home that will be stale and stagnant until your return, put it up for rent.  Box your belongings and let it pay itself by the tenants.

Money on the go

Check if you can use any of your skills to start off your online freelance business.  This scenario would be ideal, as all you need is your laptop and some place which offers WiFi and you will be making travel money on the go. Here are a couple of sites to browse to get some ideas: Upwork and Freelancer.

You might also be interested in:

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How to have the money for that backpacking trip 

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