Lessons From Traveling On A Budget

Group travel. Image from http://volaretravel.com/group-travel/

Everybody needs a holiday once in a while and because a typical holiday experience is overly expensive, we have found ways to ease the burden and still have a good time. Choosing to Airbnb instead of getting hotel rooms and travelling in large groups instead of couples are some of the things that have allowed us to cut costs.

However, this does not mean that the financial burden of travelling has completely been alleviated and I learnt this the hard way. I travelled down to the coast with a group of friends (on a budget) and here’s what I picked up.

My ‘travel on a budget’ budget was inclusive of three main things: transport to and from, accommodation and walk around cash (that was to cater for food, damages and other small expenses) which is where I went absolutely wrong.

  1. It’s not just accommodation.

While Airbnb rates are fairly cheaper than hotel costs, hotel rates come inclusive of meals and other facilities including WiFi, the gym and such; if you’re staying at a really good place, they actually provide full board meals.

The argument here was that it was cheaper to buy our own food and prepare our own meals. It actually allows you to save but our apartment was not located in a populous area which meant that the only way to shop and get food was to go the market in the main town or centre. This then added the cost of buying the food, transporting it and ensuring we had enough for all our meals for the duration of our stay.

So you see it’s not just accommodation costs, you need to factor in food and the fact that food prices fluctuate from county to county; for example eggs and other grocery products are more expensive at the coast than in Kiambu County.

  1. Proximity issues

The main reason why you travel to a destination is to visit the tourist spots, right? So if you’re going down to the coast, you’re going to relax at the beach, probably visit the Marine Park and generally, enjoy the weather.

Our apartment was not located near these sites, which we had not factored in. Proximity to attraction sites needs to be factored in.

A lot of people do not consider travel expenses within the vacation period even though they should, especially if you do not have your own means. Hiring a car or using public transportation is going to cost a lot especially if your stay is long or if the places you would like to visit are far away from your residence.

  1. Night Life

Are you planning on partying during your vacation?

If so, that’s a whole other expense. Nightlife is very different depending on where you are; in Mombasa for example, you could find an activity at any time of the night, in Nakuru, however, the town shuts it eyes before eight pm. Considering where you are going and how much it is going to require from you, financially and logistically should also be a plan on its own.

  1. Miscellaneous expenses.

You know how they say, prepare for the worst. Please, prepare. Having several contingencies is a must when you’re travelling to unfamiliar terrain. Factoring in what might go wrong and how to deal with it when it occurs should be a part of your budget; for example, a friend broke a glass table at the apartment and we had to pay for that. You never know what’s coming.

So you see folks, this was amateur hour for me, our budget was incomplete and we had not done our research. Although I do not discourage anyone from travelling on a budget, it will be completely vital to factor in all expenses, especially for facilities you won’t be afforded at your accommodation spot and to carry out conclusive research on where you’ll be staying and proximity to attraction sites. Oh, and don’t forget to buy your return ticket.

There are 9 reasons why budget travel is the best way to travel


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