Traveling on a budget: 12 things you need to carry with you

by Justin Cody

Travel is a luxury nowadays. With tickets, commute, food, and accommodation charges, you do not really get much to spare for day-to-day expenses or shopping. Regardless, small numbers quickly add up to become a big number, and facing that big number is everything but easy on the heart.

A simple way to save money while traveling is setting a realistic budget and sticking to it. Pay attention to the small details.

For instance, avoid using credit cards that do not charge a foreign transaction fee, keep track of any deals and discounts, note your daily expenses are all easy ways to stay on budget while traveling.

Although seemingly insignificant, the little things make the biggest difference at the end of the day.

Another way to save money is by packing strategically. Packing the right travel essentials can help you cut down on costs as well because you would not have to spend as much on unnecessary things.

Allow us to elaborate. The following are 12 things you must carry with you if you are traveling on a budget.

  • Water Bottle

Travel can be quite exhausting; therefore, it is critical to stay well-nourished and well hydrated. Buying bottled water is convenient; however, it is definitely not cheap, nor is it good for the environment in terms of plastic waste.

For this reason, if you wish to save money and the environment, carry a reusable water bottle with you. Perhaps your best bet would be a collapsible water bottle because you can fold it and pack it. It compresses into a one-inch tall object that can easily be stacked away in a nook.

  • Luggage Scale
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Avoid the hassle of having to pay for overcharge and just pack a handy luggage scale. You can opt for a manual one or a digital one, depending on what you are comfortable with.

  • Tablet

Commute hours can be long and tedious; you will require entertainment to kill time. Instead of carrying a load of books or wasting money buying some from the airport, we recommend carrying your tablet with you.

Lightweight, compact, portable, and convenient, your tablet has everything you could ask for, be it books, movies, shows, podcasts, work, or pretty much anything else really; a tablet has it all. 

  • Universal Power Adaptor

Overpacking is like second nature to most of us. You can carry a minimum load, but it does not take long for things to go down south. Even the most affordable trip can cause a severe dent in the pocket if your luggage exceeds the weight limit.

It is always wise to invest in a universal power adaptor, so you never have to buy extra chargers as per different countries.

Opt for a compact charger that can plug in multiple devices at one time. Moreover, it is best to go for an adaptor that also acts as a converter and comes with a surge protector to avoid blowing a fuse in any of your valuable electronics.

  • Travel Umbrella

An umbrella is essential because the weather can be extremely unpredictable. The last thing you need is a rainy day to wash away your plans (pun intended). Carrying a portable umbrella is a great way to stay safe and on a budget because you will not have to spend money on an emergency purchase.

We suggest opting for a foldable and compact option, as they are both lightweight and easy to pack.

  • Sunscreen

It does not matter if you are traveling or simply going out to grab a cup of coffee; you need to carry sunscreen with you at all times. Sunscreen is essential for sun protection; no one likes getting burnt to a crisp.

It is wise to take a travel-size bottle or tube in your bag of makeup and toiletries. Do not buy sunscreen from the airport or a gift shop because it will obviously be pricier.

  • Stain Stick

Stains are natural; they do not make you a sloppy mess. In case you get a stain or two, your answer to the problem would be to head to the laundromat or the dry cleaners. While they do get the job done, they can be quite expensive.

We have a better solution for you: stain sticks. Stain sticks or pens are excellent for getting rid of minor stains here and there. Moreover, they are cheap and compact, so you can quite literally toss one in every bag.

  • Snacks

You will be amazed at how much money you can save if you just pack your own snacks. Airport food is ridiculously expensive and frankly not even that great. Travel is tiring, and you will get hungry. However, grabbing a quick bite at every stop can add up fast. 

We recommend packing your own essential snacks that are easy to carry, nutritious and will help you pull through long days. Protein or granola bars, nuts, chips (you are on vacation, chips are allowed), and cookies (again, not the healthiest but a worthy treat) make excellent snacks that you can travel with easily.

  • Reusable Bags

Reusable bags are an excellent way to cut down extra expenses as well as wastage. They prevent liquids from leaking. Larger reusable bags can be used to pack valuable clothing items, such as your precious red leather jacket or a favorite luxury bag. They are also perfect for packing perishables such as fruits and veggies, and they are super easy to clean and reuse. Invest in a bunch; they will make your life so much easier.

  • Public Transport Map

Perhaps one of the best ways to cut down on travel costs is to use public transportation. Taxis are expensive, and drivers can often scam you into paying more by taking longer routes. Therefore, your safest bet is to hop on public transport. Buses, trains, trams; all are super affordable and convenient.

However, they can be quite confusing. We suggest carrying a public transit map with you at all times if you are not paying for an international internet plan on your phone.

  • Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are just super convenient to work with. They keep your luggage so much more organized and easy to work with; what’s not to love about them? Also, they are very affordable and guarantee durability as well.

  • Travel Towels

Towels are a luxury, so if you are on budget travel, it is best to carry your own towels. Most accommodation places with lower charges do not offer towels, so why take the risk?

Pack a small, lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying towel with you, so you do not have to buy one in case one is not available at your immediate disposal.

  • Parting Thoughts

Budget travel may seem impracticable. While you can cut down on hotel costs, eating out, and shopping, your bills still may exceed your expectations. However, if you pay close attention to details, you can save on a fortune and make sure you do not go over budget.

We recommend packing your essentials and using our guide to pack and travel efficiently, smartly, and conveniently. Save money because the more cash you save, the more you will have to spend on things like souvenirs, sightseeing, or maybe even your next getaway.