So, I’ve been on the road constantly for 16 long years now. Had you asked me all the way back in 2000 if my international travels would still be this regular as my age pushed nearer to 40, I most likely would have said no chance.
When I was 23 there was still the notion that you had to get your travel bug out of the system by your early thirties so you could settle down to a normal life. You know the “normal” life right? Wife, mortgage, 2.4 kids, dog called spot and a nice “career” in an office job to take you through to retirement. Not very likely my ideal world to be honest. Good luck to those who do want to play it safe however, my life is all about being everything but safe. After all, I am yet to meet anyone on their death bed who had a dying wish along the lines of, “Oh dear, I wish I had spent more time in the office!”
You get the hint yeah?
So how do you travel cheap? And what are, if any benefits that become the chosen lifestyle? Let us take a look at a small adventure I had in Melbourne two weeks ago for a Morrissey concert.
Straight up. Truth be told, I am a serious tight ass when travelling on my own. I am more than happy with a baguette, cheese and a bottle of water in the park people watching than sitting in an overpriced cafe spending $50 on next to nothing. Sure, it’s nice to sip on imported beer as you chow down into your favourite meal. I totally get that too. When travelling on a budget though, you need to spend your hard earned with a little more nouse.
The cheapest airfares to and from Melbourne are always the 6 am flights. It’s a right bugger to be up with the sparrows yet, simply by sucking it up, you can save yourself upwards of $200 by taking early flights. You also eliminate the risk of a flight being canceled or missing a later flight then having no way down or back in time.
Next up? Why, of course you need to look at accommodation. Now we all know Melbourne hotels are expensive on weekends and these days, even the hostels tend to charge through supply and demand. So that tasty little ten bed dorm you last hired on a Wednesday night for $23 is now a steep and unwarranted $48. On principle alone, I refuse to pay inflated hostel rates. So where was I going to sleep you ask?
Airports are great for getting around but they can also serve as a decent place to kip down for the evening. This is where you just suck it up and think of that $180 you saved by not getting a city hotel room. Not everyone’s cup of tea but when trying to reduce costs it pays to swallow a teaspoon of concrete and bunker down at your local airport.
Short trips like this only require a small back pack. Just enough space for a change of clothes, toiletries and a book to help kill the down time waiting around.
Now let’a take a look at the actual difference in costs for said Morrissey concert in Australia’s entertainment capital. The full blown version would have cost as follows….
$140: late morning flight down
$180: hotel room for the night
$165: late morning or early afternoon flight home
$110: Morrissey concert ticket
$60: dinner and breakfast in cafes
$70: airport transfers for all four legs
So there you have $725 for just on 24 hours of entertainment. Now, let’s look at the cheaper version shall we?
$55: early morning flight down
$110: Morrissey concert ticket
$60: early flight home the next day
$70: airport transfers
$20: food from supermarket to get you by
And there you have it! $315 for a cheaper yet perhaps even more eventful experience . You have a hearty saving of over $400 to keep in your own pocket or perhaps put towards your next adventure. Well, my savings did allow me to splurge on a concert t-shirt which was $45.
All in all, cheaper travel may give you a few more erm, “experiences” though it will indeed save you money and allow you to do more with your travel plans for the future.