Our Top 10 Picks: Ways to Save Money for Travel

To save as much as we can before we head overseas, we have been following these “rules” reasonably religiously. 

Feel free to add any of your own ideas and suggestions.

1. Live in Share Housing: 
Although not for everyone, and not without it’s annoyances sometimes, share housing can really be great! 
Rent and bills are super cheap in comparison to living alone, meaning you can save more money instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends!
2. Cook at home instead of eating out:
We’re not the best when it comes to following this rule, but we have improved immensely since we began saving. We usually eat out a couple of nights a week, but we eat cheaply (around $10 per meal) – our reasoning is that it can sometimes work out to be just as cheap to eat out, and you don’t have to wash up!
3. Shop at the markets instead of the supermarket
We hate shopping at the supermarket.
We shop at the local markets and the price difference is unbelievable. The quality and range of produce is so much better, and it’s a great experience to just wander around the bustling markets. Going towards the end of the day means there are even bigger discounts.
Every bit we save means the more we can do while overseas.
4. Stop buying coffee:
Although we haven’t stopped buying coffee out completely, we’ve cut down on it A LOT! Jake buys coffee beans and makes his own, and Em has a ‘keep-cup’ she basically carries at all times. $3.50 here and there might not seem like a lot at the time, but in the long-run it adds up to a huge amount. Making your own drinks saves you so much money, and you don’t miss out.
5. Stop buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff:
We don’t buy anything really unless we need it these days. Our “big spending” in the last 6 months has been on plane tickets, immunisations ($280 each for Japanese Encephalitis…ouch!), travel gear, visas and insurance… There’s simply not anything we need, and as our focus is travel, fancy shoes and other things don’t seem as important.
6. Go to Free events:
We live in Melbourne, which means there is ALWAYS something on that’s interesting, fun and free.
We still pay to go out to shows and gigs occasionally, but cutting down and choosing to go to a select few means we enjoy and appreciate our outings more. Going to free events means we experience things we might not have otherwise if we weren’t consciously making an effort.
7. Have a budget: 
We really are not great savers. We don’t have a weekly budget or put away a specific amount each week… But in saying that, we knew from the beginning, roughly what the bare minimum amount of money was that we could depart Australia with.
From there, we knew how much we had to work towards, and we decided to put away whatever we could each week. We’ve saved a lot more than we were aiming for already, and we’ve still enjoyed luxuries and treats like coffee and concerts along the way!
8. Know the Worth of your Dollar:
We know how far one Australian dollar can stretch in the countries we are going to be visiting… And it can stretch a bloody long way. A $5 drink is one or two nights accomodation OR meals for both of us OR transportation to another place OR a fair few beers. Knowing the worth of our dollar makes us realise that even small amounts of money we ‘waste’ can make a real difference to our trip.
9. Use what you have:
We have everything we need, really. We haven’t bought new clothes this year – last years clothing is still perfect. We are using to the stuff that has been sitting in the back of our pantry, instead of buying other foods. We use things for longer, and have also started using things we’d put away for a “rainy day.”
10. Cut down on alcohol:
We’re not big drinkers in the first place, but buying alcohol in Melbourne bars and pubs can empty your wallet really quickly! We drink very occasionally, and when we do, we usually buy it at a liquor store and take it around to a friends place. It works out so much cheaper and we still have a great evening. Our friends and us also do other things together instead, that don’t involve drinking alcohol. 
All these simple things make a bit of a difference to our savings, and combined they have allowed us to save a great deal without compromising on our lifestyle.
What we save now, we can enjoy while abroad, and in the end, that’s our main goal.

Budgets, Bookings, Backpacks and Borneo!

It’s ticked over to April and that means there is less than three months until we depart! It’s actually becoming quite daunting to think this is all happening so soon! We leave for our big trip in a mere 88 days!

There is a lot to organise, and we just gave our selves a whole lot more to plan, becuase as of today we have added Malaysia, Borneo to our itinerary! Exciting stuff!

Our new itinerary is as follows:
Melbourne – Malaysia, KL – Sri Lanka – India – Malaysia, KL (transit) – Burma – Thailand – Vietnam – Malaysia, KL (transit) – Singapore – Malaysia, Borneo: Kuching – Malaysia, Borneo: Kota Kinabalu – Malaysia, KL – Melbourne.

It feels as though we made all these ‘to-do’ lists months back but haven’t really made much more progress since then – like we made all the plans and haven’t put anything into action…
However, that isn’t actually quite the case.

Here’s a bit of an update as to where we are with our current travel plans. It’s interesting to see what we have actually done, and what we still need to do. It feels like all we’ve done in the past few months is add to the list, rather than cross things off – it keeps growing!

Important Stuff:
– Open a bank acount and commit to a set amount to deposit each week
– Start a budget – a work in process.
– Save like never before – a work in process.
– Em: finish your studies before June! – Two electives complete, two half-complete, and one still to start.
– Jake: finish your thesis before April! – He’s being a big slacko.

Travel Stuff:
– Travel Insurance – We’re looking into it.
– Get more passport photos taken for Visas, and to have on hand 
– Organise Visas, apply for visas, pay for visas, get visas – This month we’re onto it, and we’ll get our Vietnamese visa whilst in Bangkok.
– Book the remaining flight paths 
– Read like crazy every travel book, forum, guide, article etc… No, Jake, that does not include Manga! – A work in progress.
– Photocopy doccuments for family members and each other.
– Give flight itinerary to family members.
– Read through guide books we purchased, and start planning the routes we want for each country
– Start planning and researching and finding out about the places we want to go to in each country.
– Start making a general time line
– Make a budget for when we are overseas – A work in progress.
– Look at the travel gear we have, and then work out what travel gear we still need. 
– Jake needs new travel shoes. And should probably stock up on thongs/flip-flops-jandals (whatever you call them) for the duration of the trip… size 16/ EU 51 feet are hard to accomodate for when buying shoes in Asia…
– Finalise a Packing list – packing list will be started on this week.
– Pack backpacks

Medical Stuff:
– Dentist Checkups for us both – booked!
– Orthodontist Checkup for Em
– Optometrist appointment for Em
– Travel Doctor Appointment (February)
– Any outstanding jabs to be had, must be endured – Japanese Encephalitis, Flu Shot, Tetanus: Appointments need to be booked for April/May
– Prepare and organise all medication for travel, along with doctors letters etc. Photocopy this stuff too.
– ‘Build’ up a first aid kit
– Em – begin vetetarian diet one month before departure, book appointment with dietition.

House Stuff:
– Organise the sale of Jake’s car – hopefully starting this process this week.
– Sort through our belongings and try to get rid of the stuff that is clogging up so much of our space
– Cull our clothing and wardrobe; give to charity.
– Store our good stuff – thanks mum!
– Try and sell the useless stuff – what we don’t actually need
– Give to the salvo’s the stuff we don’t want to keep and are too lazy to sell… and of course, mostly because we are generous people.
– Finalise and cease renting

Other Stuff:
– Redirect Mail
– Mobile phones – whats happening with them?
– Call Plan International – organise a visit to Em’s sponsor child in India – in the process.
– Buy AU netbook plug
– Quit our jobs
– Keep going to gym – ….shit.
– Em: Have an early birthday party
– Organise a going away celebration with family and friends somewhere.

Items to buy before travel:
– Steri-pen
– Mosquito Net
– Hiking Shoes for Jake
– Adaptor Plugs
– A decent drink bottle for Emily
– New thongs/flip-flops for our trip
– Jake: New pants and shirts for travelling
– Emily: New prescription glasses and sunglasses

Over the next 88 days we have a lot of stuff to keep us busy!… With a bit of luck, we might get most of it sorted!