The dream is to become the slightly cringe-worthy term ‘digital nomads’. I want to be able to wander the world while making some form of income, so the travelling can be indefinite. There are lots of exciting things I am working on to make this happen. In the meantime, I need to make sure I can sustain the nomadic lifestyle for as long as possible. I am on the lookout for new ways to save while travelling and these are some of the best so far.
Before leaving Australia I had only ever house sat for my sister and her husband when they were away. I looked after their dog Chester and their place on different occasions. I joined the site trusted house sitters for a small fee of around $100 for the year. I wasn’t too sure how we would go finding a place in London but it worked out better than expected. During my time in London I house sat for 4 different places and in between, I only needed 4 days at an Airbnb. The houses were generally a bit out of London but easy enough to commute if I wanted to spend the day sightseeing. Every place was unique and some were really low maintenance. All the people I met were lovely and if I had stayed in London I would have continued to house sit for as long as possible. It’s a win/win situation as the homeowner doesn’t need to pay for a shelter or move the animals from their natural environment. It was a great way to see different areas and make some new doggie and cat friends. If you are an animal lover this is the perfect way to save some money while travelling. Being flexible with areas and dates always helps.
I am getting to the age where I don’t really want to spend my nights sleeping with 17 other people in the room. Hostels were great for my younger 20s but now being in my 30s there are things I need in my life. Hot showers that stay on longer than 30 seconds, Toilets not too far away for the middle of the night visits (I have a weak bladder). Having a clean kitchen to cook meals in and the privacy of your own room for snuggles. Asia is a whole different story for accommodation but while in Europe I have found Airbnb to be the perfect fit. Every country I have visited it has been cheaper to use Airbnb and sometimes I have a whole apartment to myself. The majority of hosts has been amazing and really helpful. Only one time I had to book alternative accommodation when the host didn’t show up. Airbnb are really good with handling complaints and refunding if you have any troubles. I haven’t couch surfed yet, but I am open to this experience as well and have heard nothing but positive stories.
Free Walking Tours
One of the best things I did while travelling around Europe was the free city walking tours. These are available in many cities and run by extremely knowledgeable guides. I would rather learn about a cities history and culture by walking through it then with my head in a book reading about it. Some of the guides have acting backgrounds which really helps tell the stories and make you stand back and think about what life used to be like. They are great for restaurant and activity tips as they have been living in the city for a while. While it may be a free tour, if you enjoy it you show gratitude via a tip. The guides leave it up to you to decide what the tour was worth. This way you never feel ripped off. I found it best to do the tours on the first possible day, this way you know buildings while walking around and eat with local recommendations.
If you want to save money while travelling you need to put a little bit of effort into it. There are plenty of free things to do in all cities if you do a bit of research. In London, there are numerous free museums and art galleries. You could spend days going through these and not see them all. I signed up to Yelp which is a directory for things to do eat and see around London. They also do a bunch of free events. A sample of things I went to were alcoholic bubble tea, bbq night, circus shows. You don’t always get picked for the event but for me, it worked 80% of the time. This is also a great way to meet other people and make some new friends.
Cheap Theatre Tickets
If you are in London there are ways to get cheap theatre tickets which are usually front row seats. There were three different ways I was able to pay anywhere between 10 pounds – 25 pounds for a top seat. Most shows have day tickets, which is a small number of tickets released that day that you can pick up for a bargain price. If the show is popular you may need to line up half an hour before the box office opens to snap up one of these tickets. There are a couple of shows that do a ticket lottery. Twice a day you have the chance to go into a draw to get a front row ticket for 25 pounds. This is for Aladdin and The Book of Mormon. The price of these seats would normally be close to 200 pounds as these shows sell out every night. I was lucky enough to have my name drawn for Aladdin the second time I entered. I have tried 5 times for The Book of Mormon will no luck yet. The last way I was able to get cheap tickets was going to the box office within an hour of the show starting. I asked if they had any cheaper tickets and due to seats being unsold they were able to halve the price.
I am not the spontaneous type when it comes to planning a day out or night out. However, when plans fell through, I decided last minute to go to a music festival. I was meant to meet someone way out to buy their ticket but it was going to eat too much of the day. Instead, I winged it and rocked up at the festival asking anyone and everyone if they had a spare ticket. I got real lucky and bought one for 30 pounds instead of 100 pounds. I also bought last minute tickets for Beyonce off gumtree which saved a lot and it was good seats. At shows, there are usually the regular sketchy looking scalpers looking to buy and sell tickets. I would stay away from that type of seller, you can never trust if you are getting a legit ticket, it’s a risk you take until you get into the event.
Maybe I am just getting old but I really love picnics. In London, it’s legal to drink in parks which make a great excuse to spend a nice sunny day drinking wine and eating yum food. I would have to say my picnics game is strong. It would include a whole lot of cheeses, quince paste, wine, chicken liver pate, a variety of meats, hummus, crackers and whatever else I am in the mood food. I am salivating at the thought of all this food right now. Basic picnics are great too which could be a roasted chicken and making chicken sandwiches and bbq picnics are good if there is a public bbq area. Either way, it’s nice to be out of the house when the weather is nice. Frisbee, soccer, footy or cards are essential picnic packing items. Otherwise, a good book and a nap can work well too. If you are in London it will cost a whole lot less to have your own amazing picnic than having a mediocre overpriced meal at a restaurant. Way more fun too!!
Before my trip, I made sure to invest in a really good pair of sneakers. I would recommend Asics to anyone looking for a pair. My last pair I bought was 3 years ago and they are still super comfy but it didn’t stop me from upgrading and treating myself. The shoes not only help your feet but also your back and keep you going way longer than if you were wearing thongs or uncomfortable shoes. Some days I may only walk 10k steps, but others will get up to 25k steps. There are a lot of km’s to cover when exploring a new city and the best way to see it up close in on foot. After the initial investment, it’s free to walk anywhere and everywhere.
I have always put off getting my hair done due to the high expense. Even when I had a job, it was hard for me to hand over $150 to get highlights. Over the past year, I have slowly worked towards doing all my beauty grooming. Before I left Oz I had my own wax pot which meant I could wax myself. This is where the trust of a steady hand comes in with burning hot wax sometimes ending up in the wrong place. I got my first every undercut to relieve me of so much hair, and then expanded it around my whole bottom of my head. I have really thick hair so it’s nice to get rid of some of it. It helps needed less product for cleaning and colouring. I also enlisted an ex to bleach my whole head of hair. It turned out better than expected and cost around $20 instead of the $150 I was paying. I did end up in tears after asking her to cut my hair. The picture below on how much I asked her to cut off vs how much she actually cut off. Be careful who you trust when it comes to your hair and clear about how much you want to be cut off to avoid tears.