How to travel on a budget

The most frequent question I receive is how I can afford to travel while working on minimum wage.The key is planning. Seriously. Planning is the means that will transform your desire to travel into reality. In the guide below, I will show you a few smart ways to save money without damaging your wallet. 

Even if you're not the most organized person, these tips are foolproof. Trust me on that. Most of the text is a repost of the article I had written a while back for an other blog, enriched with new tips and tricks I learnt in the meantime. I will separate this post into two pieces; one for regular tourist travelling, which abides in both cases, and one for show travelling with specific details on the subject.

Let's begin!

Tourist travelling

  • First of all, do research beforehand. Research consists of finding the city center on a map, scouting for convenient hotel locations and public transport connections, as well as checking on the internet about places to avoid at nightfall.
  • Book plane tickets in advance. Keep in mind that trips on Fridays and the weekend are pricier than on weekdays. 
  • Same with flight itineraries. In my experience, early morning and late night flights tend to be cheaper. 
  • Subscribe to a mile rewarding program. In Europe, most major airlines operate within the same corporation so it's easier to redeem miles.
  • Use a website like instead of booking straight from the airlines, unless we're talking about low-fare companies such as Ryanair and Easyjet.
  • When you prepare for a roadtrip, check the gas and toll prices, as well as special conditions on the highway. In Austria, for instance, there's no tolls, just a vignette that goes on the windshield and costs around €10,50 for 10 days. If you get caught, you can't get away with tourist excuses. Rental cars are provided with a yearly vignette.
  • Sometimes, buses are your best option, as they're cheaper and on occasion thay can take less time than trains to reach their destination. A bus from Eindhoven to Dusseldorf, for example, will cost you around €9 for a direct journey of 1 hour and 20 minutes, contrary to the train, that costs €35 and has a change-over.
  • Some hotels have a policy of paying upon arrival. That's good! It gives you time to save money as you prepare for the trip. Also, subscribe to a website They will mail you with special offers and discounts. 
  • When traveling by train, check if you're entitled to a discount card (a youth card most likely).
  • Check public transportation fares. Usually, a day ticket is a great investment if you plan to be on the move all day. Also note that in some countries, like Germany, there are short trip tickets, which cost about 30% less than regular fare tickets, and are ideal if you're travelling less than four stops.
  • If traveling with a group of friends, book a hostel instead of a hotel.
  • Set a goal of daily expenses that you can't and WON'T Surpass. {However, always keep some extra money on you. You never know}. 
    Parkway Drive (The Unbreakable Tour 2017)
  • Pro tip: Whilst planning or booking the trip, make a travel fund. Try to put away 2 euros/pounds/the-equivalent-of-whatever-your-currency-is every single night. At the time, it won't make a difference in your wallet; however, when you're about to leave, you'll have a sufficient budget for your daily expenses.
  • Check the weather. Buying new clothes in order to adapt to the weather is costly and will make you lose time from doing something you'd really like.
  • Check online for museums and attractions without admission fees. Berlin, for example, offers great free walking tours.
  • Make a rough plan ahead for every day. That way, you won't waste time on the road deciding where to go.
  • Check for alternative ways to get out of the city in case of emergency, say a strike of air traffic controllers.
  • Visit multiple travel forums to check the average price level. If the city is expensive, buy food from a supermarket and make sandwiches for the next day. Water too!

Concert Travelling
  • If you travel for shows, especially if you're likely to be traveling alone, the first thing you have to do is finding the venue location on the map. The next step is to check if there are any hotels in the general vicinity, and the accessibility via public transportation.
  • If you decide to book accommodation far from the venue, look up the night bus and train itineraries.
  • Tours are usually announced 3 to 5 months prior, which gives you enough time to plan a trip efficiently and at a low cost. What I like to do is finding multiple tours and check if they pass from the same city around the same time. The booking agents' websites or the venue program are a good place to start.
  • If you want to just see the show, you can always skip accommodation by booking the first flight back, which is usually at around 6AM. 
    The Word Alive (European Chaos Tour 2017)
  • Buy concert tickets on presale and choose the e-ticket option at check-out. You may not get the physical, technicolor piece of paper (mail delivery can cost twice the ticket price) but you're still getting in. If you decide to get a ticket at the box office but the show sells out, usually the promoter will release some more tickets on the day of the show. Be in the venue super early to get them!
  • Keep in mind that big venues will not allow you to go inside with a GoPro or a DSLR or any interchangeable lens camera for that matter. Smaller venues don't have strict policies regarding photo equipment. 
  • Also keep in mind that most venues don't allow you to walk out of the premises during the event. They have a smoking lounge or an atrium for smokers, but as soon as you step out of the venue, you can't go back inside. This ultimately means that, if you plan on buying merch and having drinks, make sure to have enough money on you as finding an ATM is not an option.
  • You may be tempted to buy weed from someone around the venue. Always be aware that those sellers might actually be undercover cops.

And a few BetterSafeThanSorry tips: 
  • When traveling alone (like I usually do), always let someone back home know your itinerary. Give them your flight numbers, let them know you have boarded on the plane, where you plan on going the night, and text them as soon as you get back to the ho(s)tel.
  • If traveling for a show, look for a hotel close to the venue. You don't want to be walking by yourself in a foreign city late at night. If you meet someone, say from the band you never knowand they invite you to hang wherever, see tip above.
  • ALWAYS look out for your drink and make sure to ask at the ho(s)tel for a reliable taxi company number.
  • Look out for pickpockets in public transportation and/or crowded places, even in the pit. Lately I keep reading about phones and wallets getting stolen at shows.
  • Finally, listen to your gut. I can't stress this enough. If something seems odd, it probably is. Avoid doing it and walk away.

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