Monthly Archives: May 2011

Budget Travel Tips: 21 Ways to Save Money on the Road

Backpackers heading out on a trip around the world are often working to a tight budget and want to see as much of the world for as little money as possible. It’s amazing how far you can get around the globe on a shoestring if you plan out what you want to do with the money you have available, and that doesn’t mean sacrificing the activities you want to do.

On trips that last 6 months, a year or longer, you can make huge savings through small, everyday changes, leaving plenty of your budget available to do the things you want to do and see the places you want to see.

Below are 21 tips to make small savings along the way and leave your travel budget available for the stunning sights and breathtaking experiences:

Thai Street Food - Pad ThaiFOOD & DRINK

  • Skip lunch – eat late breakfast late and dinner early
  • Stay at hostels with inclusive breakfast
  • Cook your own dinners
  • Lay off the booze – we all like a drink but it’s an expensive game and can really eat into your budget. 1 less a day/night can really help your bank account.

TRANSPORT

  • Travel by public transport
  • Avoid taxis where possible, barter when you do use them for the best deal
  • Take night buses and trains and save on accomodation
  • Choose flights which take slightly longer but are much cheaper
  • Walk – it’s not always as far as you think and you’ll see so much more. Getting lost is often the best way to discover the true face of a destination.

TUK TUK, Budget Transport options
ACCOMODATION

  • Go couchsurfing
  • Stay outside the tourist zone – you don’t have to go far and you’ll save a lot
  • Don’t book too far ahead – if your plans change then you’ll end up wasting money on deposits.

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Find the free things to do in your destination
  • Look for deals on the expensive activities you want to do. You can often find deals on entry fees if you go at off-peak times.

MONEY

  • Find a bank that has a good ATM withdrawal rate, ideally one that doesn’t charge you for withdrawing abroad.
  • Always be aware of the exchange rate – this can get really confusing if you move quickly through countries so it’s important to stay on top of it.

SAFETY

  • Keep your belongings safe! Losing documents/cameras/bags can result in spending a large slice of your budget simply replacing what you already had.

LANGUAGE

  • Learn some of the local lingo – it will open up many saving opportunities that you’d never discover through hand signals

DESTINATIONS

  • Choose your destinations wisely – if your budget is limited you’re better travelling where your money will go further. 3 months in Thailand will cost less than 3 months in France.
  • Take shorter trips close to home.
  • Do your research. You’ll spend money on the things you want to do and will waste less on disappointments

Hopefully these budget travel tips will help you spend less on the road and allow you to do everything you want to whilst travelling. These are just a snippet of the tips out there, it would be great to hear some more in the comments!

This post is sponsored by Holiday Extras who provide budget hotels near Heathrow

The Ruins of Ephesus, A Photo Diary: Selçuk, Turkey

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 7/10

The ruins at Ephesus are the remains of an ancient Greek city which now sit on the outskirts of the modern town of Selçuk and prove a true tourist attraction which draw in hoards of visitors on a daily basis.

Rain Time!

Unfortunately, the day i visited coincided with the day British summer time hit Turkey and the rain fell hard! It was still easy to appreciate the amazing spectacle on show at Ephesus though, which has been so well preserved that it allows you to gain a real insight into how life was lived so long ago. I’d recommend getting a guide (human or audio) so you can understand some of the stories that go alongside the ruins on show and how life was lived when Ephesus was a busy, active town in its own right.

You can read the history lesson on any number of sites across the web, so i’ll let the pictures do the talking here. It’s certainly a beautiful place and well worth a visit if you’re travelling in Turkey – Click on the photos for a closer look!

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

Ephesus Ruins, Turkey

For more information on destinations in Turkey check out the Europe page or see the Top Backpacking Destinations Facebook page.

Fethiye, Turkey: Backpacking Photo of the Week

The west coast of Turkey is littered with fantastic beach destinations with crystal clear waters and stunning mountain backdrops. The city of Fethiye is in amongst them with its stunning harbour, array of restaurants and tombs hidden in the cliffs that loom over it.

It is a fantastic place to spend some time relaxing, eating nice food and taking a break if you’re backpacking around Turkey. You could easily keep yourself busy wandering the streets, stopping for coffee and people watching, but it’s also an excellent base to head out on visits to other places. Beautiful beaches are just a short bus ride away, namely the famous Oludeniz, where paragliding is a must if you want to enjoy the horseshoe bay and crystal clear waters from above. You can also set out on tours to the nearby islands which also have their own allure reminiscent of Thai islands like Ko Phi Phi.

However, i found myself just strolling along the harbour, enjoying the boats, the food and the incredible views like the sunset below:

Sunset in Fethiye, Turkey

Check out more from the Backpacking Photo of the Week series here…

Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia: Göreme, Turkey

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 8.5/10

Cappadocia is a magical place with its main tourist town, Göreme, sitting right at the heart of it. It is a unique destination, and as you approach on the bus and creep over the hill leading into the town you see the beauty of the fairy chimneys and breathtaking landscape stretch out in front of you. I’ve never seen anything like it and felt the goosepimples when i was presented with the view.

Whilst it is fantastic viewed from the ground, Cappadocia is famed for its hot air balloon rides and the sterling views of the landscape they provide. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia is a must, with many people suggesting that there is nowhere better in the world to do it.

Rain Rain, Go Away…
I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip during my time in Cappadocia and can certainly vouch that it is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately the weather on the day wasn’t ideal (we were woken in the night by thunderstorms!) and when we arrived the rain was falling. The trips set off early in the morning so you can enjoy sunrise over the lurching fairy chimneys and begin another day in this fairytale land. Due to the rain our take off was delayed, though we eventually got into the air around 7am and rose above Göreme, with the fire blazing above us and warming our slightly chilly limbs!

hot air balloon silhouetteStunning Vistas
The ride itself was fantastic; we were the first of many hot air balloons to take flight and as we flew over and away from Göreme we could see the rest of the balloons rising in our wake. The views were incredible, fairy chimneys and rock formations for miles into the distance and about 30 hot air balloons jockeying for position in amongst the stone hills. We flowed up and down in the balloon, coming within inches of trees and chimneys, before rising to about 800 metres as we headed towards Avanos.

Landing Positions!
Half an hour into the ride our pilot pullled a bottle of champagne out and we all enjoyed a refreshing 8am celebration! Then, with glasses just emptied, it was time for landing and we started out descent into one of the fields below. The pilot told us to take our ‘landing positions’ (a slight squat into the balloon basket), though we couldn’t have guessed how important it was. The wind had started to grow during the ride and we were approaching the ground at quite a pace. We hit the floor with a firm thud, at which point i was ready to jump out and head home. But then we were dragged for about 8 more bumps as the wind caught the balloon and dragged us along the floor! We were safely tucked away in the basket, but it certainly got the adrenaline pumping and woke us all up!

hot air ballon landing, cappadocia

Celebration Drinks and Muddy Feet
As we emerged from the overturned basket I realised we were in the middle of a muddy field and i was foolishly in my flip flops (it was holiday after all, whatever the weather!). Before long the flip flops were clogged with mud and i was making my way across the field barefoot, where another glass of champagne was waiting to end a beautiful, exciting and memorable morning. Drinks finished, we jumped in the bus and headed back to Göreme for breakfast and feet washing!

I left Cappadocia with memories of an amazing hot air balloon ride, stunning landscapes and a magical destination. If you’re visiting Turkey then it’s a must, if you’re not then it’s time to start planning to!

5 Things Not to Miss in Cappadocia:

  • Hot Air Ballon Ride
  • ‘Love Valley’
  • A visit to an Underground City (we did the one in Kaymakli)
  • Walk in the Ilhara Valley
  • Go to Göreme Open Air Museum

For info on more great destinations in Europe check out the Europe page and the Top Backpacking Destinations Facebook page

Our Hot Air Balloon Ride was provided courtesy of the fantastic guys at Adelphia Tours, if you’re travelling in Turkey then look them up!