traveling on budget
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Figuring out your travel budget is one of the hardest – and most unpleasant – things about traveling. Even before taking off on your adventure, you have to roughly figure out how much you will need to spend and on what. But, as they say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. The enemy, in this case, being overspending and poor planning.

You can never be completely sure that there won’t come along an unexpected museum you just have to visit, a delicious restaurant you have to try out, or that your friends won’t insist you go out to another nightclub. But what you can do – is minimize these sorts of situations through carefully outlining your activities and devising a budget you know you can stick to.

Here are a couple of useful tips and tricks for traveling on a budget.

Google Is Your Friend

Never, ever, go anyplace without taking at least an hour or two of thorough research on Google. This way, you won’t just learn about all the sights the location has to offer, but also vital information such as:

– Which are the bad parts of town to avoid,

– The cultural faux pas tourists inadvertently commit,

– The general price range of accommodation, food, beverages, and other groceries there.

The reviews are also a fantastic resource of the pros and cons you will need to know beforehand. While there will always be hairsplitting ones (“Everything was awesome, but the tap water was a tad too cold. Two stars!!”), you can easily get a great sense of the general atmosphere, and warning signs such as bad service, and additional or hidden fees for things such as cutlery, using the bathroom, or drink refills.

Avoid Tourist Traps

Cafes, restaurants, and shops around historic landmarks and town centers – where tourists are most likely to mingle – usually have prices that are exorbitantly higher than the rest. If a tourist doesn’t know any better, they can quickly find themselves paying several times more for a simple cup of coffee.

Because you don’t want to get taken advantage of, it always pays off to venture off the beaten path and explore the less crowded streets and outer parts of town. There, you might just discover places that offer services that are just as good – often better – than the well-known tourist spots, at just a fraction of the price.

Keep a List of Money Spent

Realizing you’ve spent much more than you intended and, worse yet, not knowing on what exactly – is one of the most undesirable situations you can find yourselves in; especially if abroad. To combat this, jot down every last cent you’ve spent, regardless of what you’ve spent it on. You’ll soon start to see that it all adds up, and fast – the meal you had at a street vendor’s, the round of drinks you bought last night – everything takes a bite out of your finances.

By keeping this in mind, you will soon train yourself to seek out better options. Staying in a hostel instead of a 4-star hotel. Buying fresh produce at a local market and preparing a meal yourself, instead of eating out. Going to museums, theatres, art galleries when there’s a discount, instead of buying tickets full price.

Related: Top 7 European Beaches You Must Visit on Your Next Travel