|Esplanade des Invalides, Paris|
There are few things I love more than exploring a new city. Wandering unfamiliar streets and learning their stories is something I’ll never tire of. Of course, each trip can take its toll on your bank balance pretty quickly, so here are 6 ways I’ve picked up on my travels to make sure you’re staying on budget!
1. Don’t allow for (too much) idle time! Idle time = money spent unnecessarily! Spontaneity is good, but I’ve found the biggest wastes of money (eating out of boredom, getting conned into expensive tours) almost always happen when you’re stuck in a place with no real plan. So plan ahead, listing exactly everything you want to see. Plot it out on a map to make sure you’re not wasting money re-visiting the same areas. Having a schedule to stick to will prevent idle time.
2. Museums. With the previous point in mind, museums are great to block into your schedule. Not only is it really easy to spend hours immersing yourself in what a museum has to offer, but many European cities offer free entry. Some cities also have their museums clustered within walking distance of each other, like the Science Museum, Natural History & V&A in London or the Iéna district in Paris.
3. Research. Familiarise yourself with attraction prices before you leave. Not only will this give you an indication of what to expect when it comes to setting a daily budget, but you’ll be able to make a decision on what to avoid altogether. Getting to know prices in advance also highlights where you can save. For example, on my recent trip to Paris I made notes of all the places that charged special rates for under 25s. This not only prepared me to show my I-D (ticketing staff don’t always charge you the concession rate unless nudged!), but also helped me decide what to visit.
4. Pack small. This one’s fairly simple. Smaller suitcase = less room = you’ll think twice before bringing back 32 overpriced souvenir magnets.
5. Pre-packaged snacks are your best friend. Eating out 2/3 times a day can add up pretty quickly. Be sure to scope out the nearest supermarket to wherever you’re staying to stock up on carby fuel like pastries. This can also be a cheaper way to sample regional food, plus there’s no better way to immerse yourself in local life than by grocery shopping with alongside the locals. Keeping a stash of snacks on you can also be a good way to make friends!
6. Free Walking Tours! If you’ve visited a European city without trying one of these, you’re seriously missing out! Run by native dwellers, this is the best way to hear the backstories behind the buildings you’re strolling past as well as a less daunting way to stray off the beaten track. You only pay for what you think the value of the tour is so it’s well worth looking into. I did this tour on my recent trip to Paris & would really recommend it!
How do you save money when travelling?