Ah, ye olde travel fund. For some, as elusive as a golden elk, for others (we all know them, those supersaver types) gradually adding to a travel fund on a regular basis seems as easy as ordering Chinese food. And then, of course, there are the rest of us – able to put away the odd extra bit of cash (overtime anyone?) or dip into that lovely lump sum (student grant, or more likely loan) when the opportunity arises. However you go about building it, one thing is for sure – your travel fund is easily your key to some of the best times of your life.
But how much do you really need? What if you don’t have enough? Is there ever such a thing as too much (uh, no, as if – though you may just end up savouring Duck Confit rather than a ham and cheese croissant for your meal choices, poor you)? How should I manage my moolah when I’m “on the trail”?
Well, first of – you will need as much as you can save of course. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a wishy washy answer, but if you were aiming to save a grand for your three-week trip and you only manage to gather up £750 then you’re still good to go. Sure, you might have to cut some corners but it is do-able. And you certainly won’t be the only Interrailer forgoing a meal out for a sandwich in the hostel to save their hard earned bucks.
So yes, do your best to save as much as you can, give up your morning Starbucks and make your own coffee, cut back on the takeaways, do you really need those new jeans? See how it goes. If you’re leaving in a week and you have a tenner saved, you may want to ask the bank of mum and dad – but if you have a few hundred gathered up and think you can do it, then go for it. Just take a quick look at our budget tips below to help you. It’ll work out.
Interrailing is all about adventure, exploration, meeting people, and seeing all that Europe has to offer; it doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Sitting on the steps of the Sacre Ceour with a bagel and a coke chatting to other backpackers and listening to a busker as the sun goes down doesn’t cost much. And, with our budget tips, there is no reason you can’t have the trip of your life.
Budget tips from Interrailing Packages
- Eat in. Yes, yes, we know, you’re on your holibobs so why would you want to be tied to the cooker? Eating out for every meal can be expensive, even if it is just McDonalds. Lots of hostels offer kitchen facilities so make the most of it – make breakfast and have dinner out, or vice versa, you could also make a mini picnic and bring it with you for lunch. Kitchens are a great place to meet other travellers too.
- Keep taxis to a minimum. walk or use public transport if possible, and always ask at reception if the city has any travel or city passes worth buying.
- Watch out for tourist traps. Cafes, restaurants, bars and shops in big tourist locations tend to be more expensive so aim to go where the locals do (again, ask in your hotel or hostel), so you can enjoy a slice of “real” city life at a fraction of the cost.
- Buddy up. Lots of tourist attractions offer two for one or group tickets so, even if you’re travelling solo, you might meet someone in your hostel or hotel also going solo and happy to split the cost.
- Do your research before you go. Pre-purchasing attraction tickets can, at times, prove cheaper (and may even come with a jump the queue option) or you may just discover a small festival or other event that you didn’t even realise was on.
And whatever you do, or how you spend your travel fund, enjoy folks and travel easy 🙂
The Interrailing Packages team
Photographer credit: Flickr user Pictures of Money. Used under the Creative Commons licence.