Welcome to the latest installment in our "Save, Splurge, Steal" interview series. Getting great value when I travel is always such a fun challenge for me and I love to learn how other people get the best possible experience for their available time and money. I'm asking top travel bloggers to share their expertise and I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I do!
Meet Tammy from Tammy & Chris On The Move!
Tammy and Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football or 20th century history. In October 2011 they stopped pushing pens around the British Civil Service to travel the world.
1.) How do you save money in order to travel?
I actually don’t need much money to be happy. This is something I have learned since I have moved to Cambodia, but it was a bit harder when I was still living in the UK. Living in the UK is expensive, especially when you work in London. Once I knew that we would be leaving the UK and I had something to aim for, saving money wasn’t as hard as I imagined though. While my colleagues always went out for lunch and bought their afternoon coffee from Starbucks I was munching away on my homemade sandwich and drank tea I brought from home. This alone saved me a staggering 1500GBP per year.
I also stopped buying unnecessary things all the time, such as clothes or kitchen gadgets. I stopped going out as much too and only went out once a week, if at all. Rather than going to the cinema I rented films. Renting a film cost me about 3GBP ($1.50) compared to a 10GBP ($6) cinema ticket plus popcorn and drinks.
But most importantly I set myself a target and put the same amount of money aside every month and put it into a savings account so I could get some interest on it. So yes, I had to make some sacrifices, didn’t have the latest mobile phone or didn’t wear the latest fashion, but it enabled me a lifestyle of traveling, which is far more important to me than any possession in the world.
2.) Everyone needs to splurge now and then – describe a time when you blew your budget and it was worth every penny.
When we went to Ecuador we couldn’t decide for ages whether we should include a trip to the Galapagos Islands or not as it was so expensive. In the end we decided to go for it and it was the best decision I have ever made. I have never seen such a spectacular place and being able to get so close to the animals was really amazing too (sometimes too close for comfort though). Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet I think, because it can make for an unforgettable travel experience.
3.) There’s nothing like a bargain – name your favourite great steal of a deal?
I love a good bargain and when I knew I was going to leave the UK I knew I had to get quite a lot of travel gear. As I had a year to get everything I wasn’t in a huge rush though, so I could take advantage of all the different sales every few months. My biggest bargain was probably my 65l backpack though, thanks to the credit crunch in Europe. I bought it for 15GBP ($10) in a closing down sale of an outdoor shop that has gone out of business. It is from Eurohike, so is great quality. Had I bought it in any other shop it would have set me back about 75GBP ($50). I have been using it for 2 years now and it has become my most trusted travel companion (after Chris of course).
4.) What tips do you have for a traveler to get the best value for their money?
You should definitely shop around before deciding on a tour or flight ticket. Sometimes you can get great deals with last minute bookings, as tour operators etc. are desperate to fill up places. I also subscribe to newsletters from the likes of Airasia, and they always email me when they have got sales going on. This can usually save you almost half of the usual ticket price.
You can also save a lot of money by staying away from touristy restaurants that offer Western food. If you eat where the locals eat you will have a much more interesting and memorable experience.
And finally make the most of local transport. Whether that is buses, tuk tuks, mules or even camels. Tour operators usually charge you a lot for private transportation and while this might be comfortable and air-conditioned, I personally think it is not as fun as local transportation.
5.) Time is valuable too – how do you make every moment count?
Sometimes it is hard to appreciate things when you are rushing through a country to try and see as much as you can in a limited timeframe. I try to avoid doing this now though, as it is usually quite stressful. I have noticed that I am just ticking things off my list without really paying much attention to the sights. So taking it slowly is definitely the way to travel for me now.
Follow Tammy's (and Chris') latest adventures!
The Blog: www.tammyandchrisonthemove.com
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