Money-saving tips on the go

Just because it's cheap, doesn't mean it won't be good. Here are some delicious veg chowmein and momos in Nepal.
Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it won’t be good. Here are some delicious veg chowmein and momos in Nepal.

“I love your boots,” one girl tells another, on a table next to me in a cafeteria.

“Oh, thanks,” says the other girl.  She lowers her voice as if letting out a CIA secret, “I got them on sale for only €60.”

I almost choked on my coffee.  Only €60? That’s worth 20 nights’ accommodation in Nepal.

You’ll have to excuse my brain.  That’s just how it works.  I convert everything into its travel value.

To me, being careful with money, isn’t a matter of being stingy or cheap, I just know that by respecting my budget, my days on the road can be extended.  If I save €1 a day, that makes them €30 by the end of the month – making them, you guessed it – an extra 10 days’ accommodation in Nepal!

Here are my tips on stretching out your money to extend your own travels!

1. Eat local

Walk around and see where the locals eat. Street food is cheap, but even that little shop on the corner with that old woman behind the burners. You’re not just spending at least half the price of any other big restaurant, you’re also helping her business wheel turn.

That being said, don’t feel guilty if once in a while you feel like eating an overpriced apple pie, while wandering the alleys of Varanasi. Don’t make it become a weight on you, treat yourself.

2. Staying connected

Savouring the view, a good read and a homemade veg burger in Pokhara, Nepal <3
Savouring the view, a good read and a homemade veg burger in Pokhara, Nepal

Unless you need to be connected all the time, don’t buy a sim card with 3G. It’s liberating to live without a small box in your bag, vibrating every now and then, demanding your attention. Most guest houses, hostels and hotels have free WiFi.

When you’re out, take it as a full-on living the moment experience. Look around, observe people, take in that smell, smile to that child on the corner. Or simply sit down and read a book.

Golden tip #1 – If you’re in the same place for a few days, eat at various places on the way you have to take to get back ‘home’. You then have the passwords to their WiFi, and as you walk back and forth, to go here or there, you get free access on the go.

3. Freebies

Some hostels, hotels or guest houses offer free mini-shampoos and mini-soaps. Take them with you. You might not need them now, but when you run out of soap, you’ll thank me. What’s more, what will happen to that mini bar of soap, after you’ve used it only once but everyone else is disgusted to use it after a stranger? It’s gonna be wasted. So go for it!

Happy extended travels, wanderer!

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