17 Feb 2016

PART II : Planning


Planning can lead to huge savings. You may feel 'locked in' to your travels but hey, you want to go there anyway right? 

The 2 Travel Cheap-ers in Rwanda
If you want to have more freedom or a more nomadic feel to your travels, you can leave certain windows of time for that kind of experience in between all the planned stuff. In our experience, this works better in cheaper destinations.

For the long haul transits and the more expensive destinations it always pays to do your researchplan and where possible, book + pay in advance.


Now that you've done your budget, and have a general idea of what you have to play with financially, we recommend nutting out where you want to go (obviously).

Enjoying Caipirinhas in Granada
Write down EVERYTHING, and we literally mean everything you want to do, see, eat and experience on your travels. At this stage it's not about what you can and can't afford, simply what you want to do on your travels.

Next up, use a ranking system to determine how important each experience is for you. We used an A/B/C system. We each had our own spreadsheets, which meant we could independently have a say in what was most important to us while still making the decisions a collaborative process when we compared notes later on.

We also loosely priced up each experience, and decided on our own "non-negotiables", essentially our bucket list items. For us, bucket list items / non-negotiables  are one step up from an 'A' rating. 

What this allowed us to do, is select an activity or two each (over our 5 month travel adventure) that was most important for us. Generally these tended to be higher ticket items, although it may not be the same for you. Planning in this way, while travelling on a budget, made it feasible for us to splash out on a few additional things...

- Lap of the Nurburgring anyone? 
- How about 5 nights at Bangkok's Lebua Tower Club (AKA The Hangover 2 Hotel) with a dozen or so pals? 
- Or even a night in a traditional Japanese Ryokan complete with 13 course meal, and Onsen?


These are not your typical 'cheap travellers' endeavors, but they are possible on a strict budget.

The key is to prioritiseresearch and ultimately you just need to know your limits and how to make it work (or make the call when it seems too much of a financial burden). FYI staying away from tourist traps helps, but we're sure you already knew that.

In our next blog, find out how we reduced what are generally considered the largest expenses when travelling, our accommodation and transit costs, plus our top tip for flying from Bangkok to Cologne for only £140 (yup, you read that right).



10 Feb 2016

PART I: Budgeting + Saving


But do you really need it? 
Leigh with approximately 545,000.00 
Tanzanian Shillings, or $250 USD
You'll noticed we wrote BUDGETING and saving. Why? Well in our experience before you even begin to start saving for your next holiday or travel adventure you need to know what you've got to work with.

Makes sense right?

Saving for a trip is much like saving for anything else to be honest, and what we're suggesting is nothing new. 

So do you know how much of your pay goes towards needs such as bills, food, a roof over your head vs wants?

Before you get budgeting though remember, spreadsheets are your friend.



Write down how much you earn each week. If you're a couple, make sure to take this into account.

Volunteering through Oxfam meant we could go to the 
festivals we wanted, without the ticket expense


Note your fixed monthly expenses
  • Rent
  • Bills
  • Bus/Train/Tram passes
  • Gym etc...


You'll notice in STEP 2 we didn't list food. Why? We believe food is a flexi-expense, costing a varying amount each month. When it comes to our weekly grocery bill, we try to set ourselves challenges.

For example, can we feed ourselves on £30 per week? It turns out you can, and that's for a couple including lunches.

Any grocery funds left over at the end of the week go towards a Friday night bottle of wine or chippy.

Don't shop for convenience. Buy groceries at markets, local retailers or discount
Be smart with your weekly groceries and enjoy tapas 
in Nerja, on the southern coast of Spain instead
supermarkets like Lidl and DON'T buy pre-cut fruit and veg.


This is a big one and will save you a tonne of money (and time). Hearty soups, homemade pasta sauce and pre-marinating your own chicken is as great way to save both time and money. The added bonus? You also have something ready for dinner and aren't tempted to spend more buying take-out.


Say, as a couple, you earn £3000 per month, and 1/3 of your income is spent on basic living. That leaves £2000 left to play with, and of course you want a little breathing room, so perhaps give yourself and extra £20 per week to spend as you like. You could be saving £1920 per month.


Inevitably extra expenses crop up whether it be a friends birthday present or your phone breaks. We're not saying go without, we're just saying be smarter about it.

Why not buy a joint gift with other pals? If you're meeting them for drinks to celebrate have some pre-drinks at home first, take out the cash you're happy to spend and leave the plastic at home.

Do you really need the latest Samsung Galaxy, what's wrong with the one that came out a year ago (and is half the price)? Or buying secondhand? Ask a friend, they may even have a phone lying around that you can have.


We're sure you can see where we're going with this. When saving, it all comes down to budgeting, and once you know where you stand financially it's all about prioritising spending. It's about adjusting your habits and keeping your eye on the big goal... ADVENTURE!

Next time you think, "Hey, sweet TV..." ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

Budgeting and saving are the first steps in the planning process and, you'll hear us say this a lot, PLANNING IS KEY.

Which brings us to planning, but we're pooped so that's a topic for another day.

Over and Out.


P.S we'd love to know any tips you have when saving for your next big adventure. Let us know in the comments.

6 Feb 2016

Meet the 2 Travel Cheap Adventurers


Nic + Leigh - 2 Cheap Travellers
Well we're here. In Edinburgh. 16,901.03 kilometres from our home town (and most likely one true love) Melbourne...

And now we're leaving.

It's been 3.5 years, many thousands of kilometres travelled and new people met. Ox testicles have been munched, a balloon ride over the Serengeti, snowboarding Italian Alps style, stomping barefoot on Portuguese soil, inhaled dust in Black Rock City, viewed lights of the Northern kind, and played 'Gorillas in the Mist', a la Sigourney Weaver (aka. Dian Fossey).

We've traipsed, drunk, stumbled (bribed, we're not kidding... twice) and lost our way through 16 countries. 

A lot of the joy in travelling comes from the unknown. It's the diverse tastes, cultural quirks, smells and the unexpected that pops up along the way that often leads to the best of travel stories.

Oh, and there's nothing quite like a loo with a view (but more on that later).

First, we just want to make clear, no we're not millionaires... nor are we on a 6 figure household income. It comes down to knowing where and how you spend your money day to day. For example when it comes to saving for the next big adventures, we just live on pot noodles, and the odd citrus to keep the scurvy at bay... just kidding.

There's no need to go to extremes, and equally no reason why you can't make that dream trip happen. In our experience buying the flight, and sweating about it after often helps force you to save. Hey, everyone needs a goal right!?

Meet Jimmy. Jimmy's one of your bestest friends. You love Jimmy. You and Jimmy have been top mates for 10 years now, Jimmy still get's drunk and goes on about, 'one day I'm gonna,'. Don't be Jimmy...

Just travel smart.


It's not rocket science (or even biology). Put simply we research and plan, boy do we love to plan. 

It saves us money when travelling and allows us to maximise our travels and ensure we make the most of every hard saved penny.

There's a misconception that to travel on a budget, means you're a budget traveller. In our experience anyway, it doesn't necessarily make it so.

We'll leave the details to another day, but rest assured if you're keen to make the most of your money, maximise your travel adventures and truly believe you can't afford that new experience we're here to show you otherwise.

Make sure to follow us for our top tips for budget travel, ways to save money while travelling and find out how we managed to shave £8,000 off our initial £20,000 proposed 5 month long trip budget.

Or if you're just keen to watch us faff our way through 19 new countries (Mum) then stay tuned.

FYI - No more excuses Jimmy...

Make it so.

Nic + Leigh (The 2 Cheap Travellers)