SAVING POUNDS WHILST LIVING THE GAPPIE LIFESTYLE
As gaps, we are generally either broke, on the verge of broke or about to buy some sort of ticket somewhere which will result in us being broke.
Therefore, it is quite crucial to be somewhat responsible when it comes to spending and to actively look for ways in which to save some cash dollar.
1. Buy off peak tickets. You’d be surprised how big a difference there is in ticket prices between on and off peak times. Buying off peak times also mean you get to lie in a bit and you get to come home later in the day too. On Peak is usually between 5-7/8 am and 5-7pm.
2. Try to take a packed lunch with you or buy things in a supermarket instead of eating in a restaurant or cafe. You save money here as food is generally quite pricey and you often get overcharged without realising it. Picnics in a local park are always a winner.
3. Buy a water bottle and always bring it with. It is very important to remain hydrated during the day, but it can get pricey constantly buying drinks. It all adds up, trust me. So, one of my gaps and I have started bringing a bottle of water with on our adventures. It’s healthy, free and one of the most effective drinks to quench your thirst.
4. Book the largest mixed dorm possible when booking hostels. Now, not everyone would be up for this. But it would be the most cost effective dorm to book. I usually only really use my hostel room for its bed and the shower. I don’t generally spend that much time in the hostel dorm itself as we are always out exploring wherever we find ourselves. Also, you meet the most interesting people in hostels and so the more people in your dorm, the more potential friends you have.
5. Organise your trips well in advance in order to book flights and trains way beforehand. The earlier you book, the cheaper they are. This is also handy in improving your organisational skills as an independent person/traveler. So really, it’s a win either way.
6. Only travel with a carry on when flying. This may not be possible for the Summer holidays or Easter, perhaps, but it is definitely possible for Exeat weekends and Half Terms. Not only do you save about 20- 30 pounds (past experience), but you also have less baggage to carry once you get to your destination. Packing less also forces you to only pack the essentials. Girls, it may seem impossible, but it ain’t.
7. Walk as much as you can. That bus/tram might be screaming your name, but walking is not only good for your health but your wallet too.
8. Do as the locals do. Go to local pubs/hang outs/markets and score whatever your looking for at a cheaper price. This will also give you an insight into the life of a local, give you the opportunity to get to know the culture and get an authentic experience.
9. Convert your money into the correct currency before heading to the airport. They’re going to rip you off. Trust me.
10. Make sure you go on free walking tours. You get to know the history of the place you’re visiting while not spending a penny. You’d actually be silly not to do this! Many museums are also free or offer special prices for students. Don’t miss out as they are definitely worth a visit. Europe is filled to the brim with history and art. Go lose yourself in it!
The gap budget is real, but it also isn’t impossible. There are so many places to see and experience. Follow these tips and cash dollar won’t get in the way of your travels.
Words by Letz Live gappie Zahn Scholtz. You can follow her gap year stories here.