Budget Keeping Tips
- Know approximately how much you want to spend each day. Try to keep below that number consistently, and now and then splurge on something more costly.
- If you’re budget traveling, really try to avoid going out every night drinking. Alcohol really puts a huge dent in a budget. In some countries, bringing in alcohol from the Duty Free store is very much worth it.
- Buy things in the country you are traveling. Chances are they are cheaper there than bringing things from the US.
- Lower your standard of living. Stay in dorms, choose the rooms without air conditioning, don’t go for the hostel breakfast special.
- Eat street food.
Backing up Photos – Always back up your photos (and maybe even journal). Use small memory cards (I used 2 GB micro SD cards) and ship them back home when they are full. You can also copy each SD card to a main backup one and keep that until you get confirmation that your shipment home has arrived.
Journal – I highly recommend keeping a log of your travels, but don’t try to keep a fully detailed journal. You won’t have time for that. Either update once every few days or try to keep an outline of each day so you can fill it in later.
Rituals – While traveling, your life will be in chaos. Things will be changing every single day along with the scenery, your friends, and who you interact with. It’s nice to have something standard, like:
- Making tea in the morning
- Writing in your journal during a particular time
- Unpacking and repacking your backpack
- Buying a particular souvenir
- Learning to count in the local language
Habits to Avoid Forgetting Things – You will forget things. This will be hard to accept because it’s such a stupid mistake to make, but it will happen. The best thing is to get in the habit of checking the common Bermuda Triangles of lost items. The most common items/places to forget are usually:
- Towels or anything that is out drying
- Toothbrushes, soap, shampoo in the bathroom
- Shoes under the bed
- Cameras, iPhones, Electronics that are charging
- Chargers – Also chargers lent to other travelers
- Things that are stashed away, like wallets, passports, important things – Sometimes these are kept in a safe at the front desk
- Books on desks
Also it may seem a bit ridiculous, but a great habit is to pat your pockets each time you get up to go somewhere. Check for your wallet and passport and iPhone. I actually keep just a number count of the things I usually have with me, usually those three, and if I can count three things in my pocket then I’m fine.
Tickets – Similar to the previous tip, tickets are very easy to lose. The best thing is to mentally designated a specific pocket for your tickets and important documents that you’ll need on the next leg of your journey. I will usually choose the left breast pocket on my jacket, especially since it’s near impossible for anything to slip out of there or be pick-pocketed.
Beggars – You might have to learn to be cold and heartless when it comes to beggars and touts. They’ll take as much as you can give and then ask for more without any gratitude. Some of them are not actually beggar, but rather con artists who don’t need the money as much as other more legitimate beggars. If you want a compromise, maybe ask them if they use any particular NGO services or charity service and donate money in their name to that organization. Maybe I’m a bit Republican on this topic, but I would much rather donate to an organization that systematically helps the poor than an individual I can’t trust.