Hello traveling guys and girls! Ready to hear some more tips to save cash on your backpacking trip ahead of time?!?! Sometimes when I travel, its a constant push and pull with money. The locals know you have at least enough to take an international flight to their country and take a tour, if you aren’t working while they are, right? So sometimes they just want your money. Over in Morocco, even though its a cheap place, there were many beggars and salesman in the street who really wanted my cash. I can understand this to some extent because its a very poor country. Sorry Morocco, I’m going to give us travelers a few tips to extend our little journey, with all due respect your country’s poverty. We are a bit stingy here at SoloVagabond.
Tip #1 – take local buses in countries like Albania and the Balkans! This can be an experience. Over in Morrocco, they also have two classes of busses, one for local people which are much cheaper and ones that are considered to be tourist class buses. I’m going to separate this out into local CITY buses and local inter-city buses! two types of trips. Yesterday, i just popped over to what is called the North South bus station, over here, they have busses headed upto Shkoder, near the lake and the border with Montenegro. I wanted to make an inquiry as to the price of a bus ticket to Shkoder to see the lake. It was 400 lek, which is toughly $3.70 not much cash at all, thank you! The driver and the passengers could barely speak English! Now they also have some fancier busses around town with Wifi aboard and AC but im just fine riding with the locals. One of these would cost between $8 and $15. As long as the country isnt too dangerous im fine with riding local.
Tip #2, avoid scams! Get recommendations! If you are visiting Thailand there’s some scams over there. Although it is a beautiful country, and i witnessed this once or twice. Make sure to read reviews and recommendations for whatever tour, service, product, boat ride, elephant photos, jet ski ride, and so on! One scam that local young Thai guys pull over in Pattaya is the jet ski scam. A young guys comes up with a jet ski, i actually saw one of them riding around the bay, they then ask tourists to rent the jet ski, after the ride is over, they accuse the customer of causing damage to the ski, its usually already broken. Thats when about 10 or 20 other Thais show up in attempts to intimidate the tourists. Sometimes the police will intervene and sometimes not! Me? I road a jetski that belonged to some Irishman who i met on the beach, so lucky there! i am brought my own inflatable boat to avoid the scam! Yes so in Thailand just watch out and hopefully you’ll be fine. One of my strategies, might be a bit isolating, but if you dont want to be ripped off dont employ anyone! just enjoy a day at the beach free, tan or swim!
Tip #3, use local city buses for long trips in the city! Over in Madrid, I landed at the airport, then i went into the underground where all the subways and buses lead you into town. I asked a local Spanish guy which bus i should be taking, he directed me to 1 bus, then a subway (as we call them in NYC), then a regional rail line, a lot of transfers, oops! Now the city bus lines are way slower but they are also WAY cheaper. It was around 1.5 euros. Now what happened on my after dark ride down south to my hostel? I had to backtrack on the regional rail and that cost me a few extra euro. I actually ended up spending about 10 to 12 euro on transportation to get to my hostel, but thats ok, live and learn. The next day I took a local red line bus from my hostel about 1/2 mile near the center of town for only 1.5 euro. Now the Spanish guy probably didnt know that i was a backpacker with a really low budget, he was just trying to help, but in this case from the airport in madrid i could have taken 2 local buses 1 to city center, and one south to my hostel for 3 euro, i just happened to be at the wrong terminal to catch the red line local bus.
Google maps is a godsend in identifying which single line busses that you can take within Madrid and other Spanish cities, as well as our good friend, London’s double decker buses, now over in London you do get 1 transfer free for the same price as 1 ride on a red line Madrid bus (no free transfer there). Now one tip about the London busses, if you are getting off at Gatwick or any of the other airports, make sure to pick up an Oyster card for 5 GBP. you may get your deposit back before returning to the airport. For the transfers you must swipe into the second bus 1 hour or less time after you swipe the first. Now London red double deckers can get stuck in traffic sometimes, but its definitely a way cheaper option of transport as compared to the tube, and car services like the black car.
Tip #4 Can you ride a bicycle? This is something that might apply to a long term backpacker like me but i thought i would include it anyway. If you have a bike, you wont have to pay the above mentioned bus fare at all, right? and your leg power is free, right?