The 1-2-3’s of Budget Travel: Planning, Getting There, and Enjoying the Stay


Getting from Australia to Southeast Asia is a short skip across the ocean and therefore popular travel itinerary. But, what if you’re going great distances? Say, from the United States to Australia? Or, Australia to Europe? These long flights, new currencies, and wildly different experiences can quickly wreck your travel budget.

Yet… it doesn’t have to be this way.

Using the 80/20 idea of optimization (where 80% of the outcome forms from the 20% effort) we can apply this mode of thinking to our travels, wherein one or two money-saving actions account for most of the savings. This lets us focus on the big picture instead of the nitty-gritty details.

Let’s dive right in.


The 1-2-3s of Travel Planning

The best way to save money is knowing how you’ll spend it. It’s about creating a manageable plan to fall back on with the uncertainty of worldly travel.

The big, 80/20 items to cover include:

  1. Set Flex Time. One missed layover or connecting ride can completely disrupt your travel plans and budget. Plan things with slow travel in mind meaning an extra day or two at your major hubs. This prevents these financial mishaps while giving you more freedom to explore the areas.
  2. Backup Finances. Set up multiple banking accounts and carry extra cash to avoid lockouts. Have a backup plan in place if you lose your wallet or purse. Services like Ria Money Transfer Australia will come in handy if your account suddenly goes to zero because of a scam or theft occurring abroad.
  3. Keep It Simple. Don’t overload your booking, trying to “do it all”, with such a short timeframe. Instead, pick just one (or two) main destinations and maximize your time there. It’ll reduce travel costs shifting around and let you assimilate with locals (a cheaper way to experience things).


The 1-2-3s of Getting There

Getting there is half the battle. The other half is allocating money so you still have some to play with once you’re checking the scene.

Do these 80/20 actions to save the most with travel expenses:

  1. Focus on Flights. The flights will be your biggest expenses. So, use flight comparison websites mixed with email alerts to score great flight deals. Add in sky miles (if you have them), or use a few flight travel hacks to skim some savings with the most expensive leg of your trip.
  2. Go Light. Believe it or not… you can buy basic items when you get there. You could skip the high checked baggage fees and use a part of those savings to pick up your basics. This is also one less piece to worry about when hopping around.
  3. Transit like a Local. Get a local travel pass to see the city via mass transit. Many cities have 3-day passes far below the cost of taxis. This will save tons since you’ll likely try to get round frequently during your stay. Apply this to using trains vs car rentals, too.


The 1-2-3s of Enjoying the Stay

You’re there, great! Now it’s time to get the most from your trip without bringing back massive debt.

Here are the 80/20 “rules” with enjoying the stay:

  1. Skirt the Beaten Path. Follow the footsteps of those that have been there. Read travel guides, watch travel shows, and ask travel peers for their advice. You don’t have to follow suggestions completely, but it this does give you an outlook on what to do and how much you’ll pay.
  2. Think Locally. The tourist trap areas will quickly burn cash because they know you’ll pay a premium for the “must have” experience. Instead, think like a local. Eat where locals eat, stay at local hostels vs hotels, and follow/join in on local, free events. This not only saves you money but also creates a unique experience unfound in your typical itinerary.
  3. Avoid the Vices. Things like shopping sprees, drinking/partying, and (really) any impulse purchase can knock your budget. Show some restraint and find cheaper alternatives. Remind yourself what you’re missing if spending money on items/vices.


There’s More To It, That’s Up To You

Of course, there’s a lot more to traveling than the big items. Things rapidly change once you’ve got off the plane. Your plans can morph daily as you experience unusual things and meet new people. 

Those actions are up to you.

Just make sure you have the 80/20 covered. This gives you the best flexibility with your travel budget. And, keeps those opportunities open without stressing while you’re out and about.

What are your biggest tips and strategies for budget travel?

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