Travelling as a couple can be easier on your budget since you get to share the costs of many things like accommodation or hire cars. However, it can also end up costing you more as it’s tempting to splash out on nice restaurants or take a taxi when a bus would do just as well. So here are some top tips for making travelling as a couple work for you, and save you money!
The following is a guest post by Delilah, a writer and travel blogger for Our Travel Mix. She is travelling the world with her partner, currently making her way through Southeast Asia.
Travelling as a couple comes with its advantages. Like having a travel buddy with you all the way, and in circumstances where it works out to be cheaper than travelling as a singleton. But there are also plenty of further opportunities to save money along the way when you’re travelling as a duo.
As a couple who are currently travelling the world on a budget, we’ve learnt a thing or two about saving money when travelling. Here are some tips from our own experiences to help you save money when travelling as a couple.
Table of Contents
- 1 Stay in private rooms in Homestays and Hostels
- 2 Share a suitcase
- 3 Take a picnic
- 4 Share toiletries
- 5 Rent a car or campervan
- 6 Use one account for reservations
- 7 Opt for free and cheap activities
- 8 Divide up travel responsibilities
- 9 Drink only on occasion
- 10 Cook meals together
- 11 Qualify for a companion pass
Stay in private rooms in Homestays and Hostels
We are currently travelling the world, but we are yet to stay in a hotel on this trip. Instead, we have chosen homestays and hostels.
If you usually book two dorm beds as a couple, check out if the hostel has private rooms. They’ll often work out to be cheaper than booking two dorm beds and they give you your own, private space whilst still giving you the hostel atmosphere a lot of young travellers prefer.
For example, a hostel we stayed in while in Ubud, Bali had dorms rooms for 14,000 IDR each, whereas a private room was 27,000 IDR. Of course, it was a no-brainer to take the private room.
Let’s face it, overpacking is easy. How many times have you come home from a trip and worn only half the clothes in your suitcase? Bring only what you need, and you should be able to fit both of your things in one suitcase. Technically, there is a right and wrong way to pack a suitcase to maximise space! A single suitcase also means you’re only paying for one checked-in luggage.
Lugging heavy suitcases around isn’t the most fun thing to do. So even better, ditch the suitcase and only use carry on. Not only will it be more convenient moving from destination to destination, but it is also cheaper and you don’t have to wait for your checked luggage to come around the carousel.
You could also consider setting up base in one area, then taking short trips with just carry on baggage. Most accommodations will happily hold your suitcase in the meantime.
Take a picnic
Every now and then, pack a picnic to save money on eating out. We usually head to the local supermarket and pick up some fresh rolls and fillings to go inside like ham, salami, cheese and avocado. Some grocery stores even sell a cooked chicken. For dessert, we bring along some fruit and a block of dark chocolate – maybe even a bottle of wine, which is much cheaper from the supermarket than a restaurant!
Find a great spot, perhaps a park or atop a hill to catch the sunset and enjoy your budget-friendly meal together.
Toiletries are amongst the heaviest items in your suitcase. They’re relatively small if you take travel-sized toiletries, but the multiple items will add up in weight. Sharing toiletries will almost halve the number of toiletries you bring with you. We don’t go so far as to share deodorant, but we do share a shampoo bar, soap, moisturiser, sunscreen and bug repellent.
Rent a car or campervan
Instead of buying two public transport tickets, two flights or a private driver, rent a car. Often companies will let you relocate the car, so you don’t have to travel in a loop. For example, many people choose to drive up from Queenstown, in the South Island of New Zealand, to Auckland in the north, so you could do the trip in reverse. Likewise, car hire in Europe can often be cheaper than multiple trains and is another popular way to save money when travelling as a couple.
Sometimes you can save even more money by hiring a campervan. A campervan will be both your mode of transportation and accommodation, and it definitely is a more cost-effective way of travelling. Not to mention it gives you the freedom to stop where you want, when you want.
Use one account for reservations
Many online booking platforms like Booking.com and Agoda will provide discounts or loyalty schemes for repeat customers. For this reason, it pays to book from one person’s account.
Ride-sharing, travel credit cards, and frequent flyer programs are also available and can be used for a couple rather than just one person.
Opt for free and cheap activities
Often expensive activities are in very touristy areas. This doesn’t mean they’re not a great thing to do together, but doing them all will come at a price. Look for the hidden gems that cost a fraction of the price.
Chase waterfalls, visit national parks, hike a mountain instead of taking the gondola, join a free walking tour, and go for a swim at the beach.
Take advantage of places that are not normally free, but offer free entry every so often. An example is the Louvre in Paris, which is free on the first Sunday of each month.
Divide up travel responsibilities
Although travel agents do great jobs, having a DIY travel plan will save you money. Make the most of the best travel apps out there and work to your strengths. Perhaps one part of the couple is great at finding the best flights and accommodation. And the other part of the couple may be great at planning the activities to do each day. Planning yourself instead of doing a tour is more work, but it will be a cheaper way to travel.
Dividing responsibilities means work is not duplicated, giving you more time to find the best deal out there.
What’s more, is two heads are better than one. Brainstorm and put together ideas so you can explore more options. Then, you can come up with a plan that’s the best for both of you.
Drink only on occasion
Having a drink or two with dinner or when out and about adds up, especially in countries where alcoholic drinks are expensive. Some high-end bars will charge upwards of $20 USD per cocktail! At that price, reducing your drink consumption by one each per day could save you close to $300 each week.
Instead, share a drink out, or go for alcohol-free alternatives. Fruit juices are refreshing in tropical countries. Iced lemon teas and sodas are also great alternatives.
If you’re still not convinced, a way to be able to drink affordably and more often is to buy a bottle of alcohol duty-free, or at the supermarket, then mix your own drinks back at your accommodation.
Cook meals together
Eating out for three meals a day will eat away (pun intended) at your holiday budget. Hostel, motel, and homestay accommodation will usually have a shared kitchen available for your use. Pick up supplies from the supermarket and cook up a delicious concoction for dinner.
Better still, buy delicious brunch food from the supermarket and fill up in the morning before you head out for the day, sot that way you can have a lighter lunch out and then come back for dinner.
You could even take a cooking class in your destination country, then try and recreate those meals after the class.
Qualify for a companion pass
Some airlines allow you to qualify for a companion pass. A companion pass means you can add your companion to fly with you at no extra cost, or a much lower cost than the first ticket, if there is an available seat.
Qualifying for a companion pass differs from airline to airline, but generally, you will need to earn a certain number of miles. So, if you or your partner is a frequent flyer, this could be a great option for you two to save money.
Another, perhaps easier, way to qualify for a companion pass is to sign up for an airline’s credit card. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions, but if it suits you, it can save a lot!
Travelling as a couple should be a fun and enjoyable experience, not one where you’re stressing over money. Use these tips to help you cut down on your spending and travel for even longer!
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