Traveling on an Extremely Tight Budget with a Group

Asako Maruoka's picture

Travelling is always more fun with a group of friends. You have more people to share the amazing experience with and get support to ensure things go smoothly. But travelling with your friends can sometimes add to the costs, especially when you’re with more than just three people. So, how to keep the costs down when you’re already on a tight student budget? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Traveling on an Extremely Tight Budget with a Group

Plan ahead

Although spontaneous trips can be fun, not planning ahead can cost a lot of money. If you have no idea about your destination, you might end up wasting your money on the biggest tourist traps and spending for costs you actually don’t need to spend on.

Don’t cry, make a plan.

So, before you travel anywhere, do some research about the things you can do and the prices things normally cost. This is fun and easy – the world is full of books, friends with experiences to share, and great travel blogs that help you know what to expect and to avoid – and then there’s always pinterest

Set a budget

Planning is also important because it helps you set a budget. If you know what things such as the typical meal in Vietnam costs, you can calculate how much money your group should have for keeping your stomachs happy, and so on. Similarly, checking out attractions and other entertainment options will ensure you know what type of budget to prepare.

Avoid the tourist traps

Whenever you go near a tourist attraction or a popular tourist area, you start noticing the prices going up. Cafes right next to the Louvre will cost you more than drinking a hot cup on the 19th district or the 5th, which is a popular student area. While you might not want to avoid seeing some of the biggest attractions, you should try to avoid spending anything other than perhaps the entrance fee in these spots. Furthermore, you can find hidden gems outside of the traps. Everyone likes to hangout at Copacabana beach, but you get the same sun – and a quieter atmosphere – at Prainha, “the little beach”.

Follow the locals

Following the above point, you definitely want to follow the locals when it comes to having fun and eating out. Just like you do at home, locals at your destination will be smart with their spending – they know where the cheaper places are and the little tricks they can use to save money. Take public transportation, or walk. 

It’s a good idea to book your accommodation through sites like AirBnB. You can pick a local neighbourhood this way and meet people at the supermarket or the pub. This gives you a channel to ask for tips and advice on how to do the things you want with your limited budget.

Traveling on an Extremely Tight Budget with a Group

Use your group privileges

A large group can sometimes help you save money. Attractions can offer group discounts, and even restaurants can provide meal deals such as 3-for-2. You could also check out the sharing platter options and haggle for a discount when booking a taxi. So, if you feel the service provider will benefit from having a bigger group, don’t be afraid to ask for discount – you’ll help bring a lot more money to their pocket anyway, so a little discount might not hurt them - especially if you're sharing and tagging on social media.

Traveling on an Extremely Tight Budget with a Group

Take advantage of your student status

Aside from using group privileges, you should also take advantage of your student discounts. A big number of European countries use the European Youth Card, which can help you save money. A quick look on the shows how student discounts and vouchers can be utilised from STA Travel and Premier Inn services; where you can cut off a lot from your spending. You can even use student discount cards in certain places in Australia and the US, even if you don’t study in these particular countries, with the International Student Identity Card.

Stay positive    

It might sound odd, but keeping an open and positive mind can help you avoid over-spending when travelling. First, if you meet people with a smile on your face, they are more likely to respond with kindness. This could mean a discount at the local supermarket or a cheaper price with the taxi. 

But positivity will also help you survive tough situations and help you keep cool. It can be easy to start throwing money around when problems come up – suddenly booking that taxi in the middle of the night doesn’t seem like a bad idea or the extra charge for the group at a restaurant seems like a no-brainer when you’re cranky. If you treat your travels as an adventure and you focus on finding the silver lining, you might come up with new solutions – those that don’t cost a fortune.

Traveling on an Extremely Tight Budget with a Group

With the above ideas, you can make group travel on an extremely tight budget just a bit easier. Do you have any tips to share?