Indulging on fancy dinners and luxury hotels isn’t always top of the agenda when travelling on a budget, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. This article provides you with five of our key tips on how to live the high life while travelling on a budget. This means you get to enjoy all the luxuries while still keeping within your daily spends. We know you are probably thinking this is impossible right now, but read on and you will be surprised. All these tips are tried and tested and we use them on every single one of our trips so you can rest assured knowing that these tips are realistic and easy to implement, which means that you too can live the high life while travelling on a budget.
Before you read on, you must remember the most important thing is that you have to compromise. You have to really decide what is important to you and what is not. Is a big comfy bed with private bathroom the most important for you, then budget on point 2 and 3 below. If you are happy to sleep in a hostel, then spoil yourself with point 5 below.
Travelling on a budget has never been easier, you have just got to be savvy with your spending and not splurge on absolutely everything. If your goal is to travel for a specific length of time, you have really got to ensure your budget is going to see you through to the end and you aren’t going to be ET phoning home asking for a saviour within the first week of your trip.
2. Take packed lunches + snacks and splurge on a fancy dinner
This seems like a given and if you have been budgeting over the past year or so to save for your travels, you’ve probably got this one on lock down. Everyone knows that eating out can be expensive. In some counties across South East Asia, food can be much cheaper than say, if you are travelling across Europe. But that still doesn’t mean that eating out is cheaper than buying snacks and packing a sandwich for lunch.
Another tip, always pack water. Especially in Europe, water can be very expensive, particularly at the top sights including museums which usually have free entrance. I mean, they have got to make their money some way, right? So, get your backpack and don’t be afraid to cram it with all the snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day.
Then, in the evening you can quite happily go and splurge on a luxury dinner because you wouldn’t have spent much throughout the day. After all, life is all about balance…
3. Budget on hotels to sleep in, pay for a day pass at a luxury hotel to use the facilities all day
Pick a hostel or a budget hotel to stay in for a couple of nights, perhaps with no facilities such as swimming pool, gym etc. Then, during the day you can head to a 4* or 5* hotel and pay a small fee for a day pass and enjoy their luxury rooftop swimming pool with city/mountain views.
Most hotels around the world charge as little as £5-£10, even in the UK. You can stay as long as you like and if you take note from tip 4 you can even save on food and drinks. If you are in Kuala Lumpur, check out Aloft hotels. Plus, they have a hotel right near the main train station so it is the perfect place to spend the day even if you are awaiting an overnight sleeper train…
4. Take the day/overnight sleeper train rather than an expensive flight
Yes, it might take longer. But it is also more affordable, more cultural, and you will get to see some amazing sights on the way if you travel by day. If you travel over night, you will likely wake up to an incredible sunrise just like we did on our overnight sleeper train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, plus, you will have saved money on paying for a night in a hotel. Another bonus is that you will have a much more interesting story to tell about your experience traveling across country rather than just another cramped flight on a dodgy budget airline.
If you are in Asia, check out Seat61. If you are in Europe, there are many options depending on your route. For instance, if you travelling in one country try Go Euro or if you are inter-railing across multiple countries head to Interrail.
If you really want a slice of luxury while on a long train journey, check out the options for a private cabin and it will likely still rival the price of a flight and hotel accommodation.
5. Dress fancy, head to a sky bar
You are on a budget, perhaps you have been roughing it for weeks on end going from hostel to hostel and for one night you just want to feel like the prince/princess that you really are. Well, even if you are on a budget, get your best outfit hand washed, hang it out to dry, and the next evening throw it on and head to a sky bar.
There literally is no place better to feel like a million bucks and enjoy a slice of the high life. Yes, you might have to pay a little more than £1 for a drink (which won’t be served in a bucket with neon straws FYI) but, you only have to buy one drink to enjoy the incredible city views from above while escaping the hustle and bustle of the city life down below.
As you can see, even if you are on a budget you can quite easily live the high life while travelling. You can enjoy all the fancy sky bars, luxury swimming pools, and fancy dinners while making sure your funds last you your anticipated length of time on the road.