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What to do when you go broke while travelling: The Budget Balancing Act

Updated: 5 days ago

The Issue: Running Out of Money

We've all been there, halfway through a trip and realising our funds are dwindling faster than expected. It's a common issue for young travellers who may not have a lot of experience budgeting for extended trips.

The Solution: Smart Financial Planning

1. Daily Budget

Set a daily spending limit and stick to it. This will help you keep track of your expenses and make your money last longer.

For example, two weeks in Barcelona on a budget could look like:

Let's assume you're aiming for a daily budget of €50 per day for two weeks, which would total €700 for the entire trip.

Two-Week Daily Budget: €50

Breakfast: €5

  • Option: Grocery Store

  • Details: Stock up on breakfast items like fruit, yoghurt, and bread for the week.

Transportation: €5

  • Option: Walk or Bike

  • Details: Barcelona is a walkable city, and you can rent bikes for cheap. Save the metro for longer distances.

Sightseeing: €5 (average per day)

  • Option: Mix of Free and Paid Activities

  • Details: Alternate between free activities like walking tours, beaches, and free-entry museums, and paid ones like Sagrada Familia or Park Güell. Some places have cheaper tickets if you book in advance or go late in the day.

Lunch: €10

  • Option: Local Markets or Picnic

  • Details: Make your own sandwiches or salads, or grab something from local markets.

Afternoon Activity: €5

  • Option: Free or Low-Cost Activities

  • Details: Explore different neighbourhoods, parks, or free galleries.

Dinner: €15

  • Option: Budget Restaurants or Home-Cooked

  • Details: Look for places away from touristy areas, or cook dinner at your accommodation if possible.

Snacks and Miscellaneous: €5

  • Option: Grocery Store

  • Details: Stock up on snacks like fruit, nuts, or local treats.

Total: €50 per day, €700 for two weeks

Additional Tips:

  1. Accommodation: Consider staying in a hostel with a kitchen to save on food costs.

  2. City Pass: Look into city passes that offer multiple attractions at a discounted rate.

  3. Local SIM: Get a local SIM card for cheaper data and calls.

  4. Bulk Buy: Buy snacks, water, and other essentials in bulk to save money.

  5. Free Days: Many museums and attractions have free entry days or hours.

2. Use Budget Apps

There are plenty of apps designed to help you manage your finances. Download one and use it religiously.

Here's a list of the best budgeting apps for travel:

1. Expensify

Best For: Business Travellers Website: Expensify Features:

  • Easily track travel expenses

  • Upload and share receipts for reimbursement

  • GPS calculator for mileage tracking

  • Free for most users, with paid plans available

2. PocketGuard

Best For: University Students and Overspenders Website: PocketGuard Features:

  • Calculates disposable income

  • Helps set financial goals

  • Recommends strategies for paying off debt

3. SAP Concur

Best For: Seasoned Business Travellers Website: SAP Concur Features:

  • Comprehensive business travel solutions

  • Modules for managing travel plans and submitting reimbursement requests

  • Free trials available for business owners

4. Splitwise (My Favourite for group travelling)

I was in Tulum with a group of friends, and let's just say, between the cenote visits, dinners, and taxis, our expenses were as scattered as the seashells on the beach.

Enter Splitwise. It was a lifesaver, helping us keep tabs on who covered taxis and who paid for meals.

The app simplified all our shared expenses, turning potential financial chaos into a well-organised ledger.

No more awkward "you owe me" chats; just more time soaking up the Tulum sun and exploring its natural beauty.

Best For: Group Travel Website: Splitwise Features:

  • Track shared expenses and the balance owed by each person

  • Integrated with PayPal and Venmo for easy settlements

  • "Simplify debts" feature to minimise the total number of payments

5. Trabee Pocket

Best For: General Budget and Expense Tracking Website: Trabee Pocket Features:

  • User-friendly interface

  • Currency conversion

  • Export expense data to PDF or CSV

6. Tripcoin

Best For: Travellers in Remote Areas Website: Tripcoin Features:

  • Operates without an internet connection

  • Dropbox integration for data backup

  • Supports over 150 currencies

3. Eat Like a Local

Skip the touristy restaurants and eat where the locals eat.

It's usually cheaper and more authentic.

Check out our post on how to recognise local from chain, here.

4. Free Activities

Broke and don't know what to do? Look for free or low-cost activities to fill your time.

Many cities offer free walking tours, museums, and attractions.

5. Public Transport

Use public transport or ride shares instead of taxis to get around.

It's usually much cheaper and can be a more authentic experience.

Check out our list of the Top Rideshare Apps Worldwide, here.

A little anecdote about public transport in London, UK:

Every time Mum and I have taken a bus in London, it's like we're in a comedy sketch.

We'd hop on, feeling confident, and pass by all the known landmarks. Just when we think we've got it sorted, the bus takes a random turn. We lock eyes and just know: we're lost, again.

Cue us scrambling for our phones to check Google Maps, only to end up more confused.

Honestly, it's a laugh and a good way of exploring unknown parts of a city!

With Great Love,
Lea - Club 28 x


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