In the past decade, Hong Kong has risen in the ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, no doubt deterring budget travelers from making a trip to the city. In a place where a cup of coffee costs upwards of $7 USD and a one-day ticket to Hong Kong Disneyland is priced at $75 USD, it is easy to assume that all of Hong Kong is expensive. The truth, however, is that visiting Hong Kong is affordable – as we proved on our recent trip to the city. To help other travelers experience Hong Kong without breaking the bank, we’ve designed a 3-Day Hong Kong Itinerary on a Budget – including actual costs and cost-saving tips.
When we reveal that we’ve been traveling full-time for two years, it piques people’s interest. After we indulge them with details of all the places we’ve been, they muster up the courage to ask, “How can you afford it?” As Americans who are well-past our 20s, but still have a long road ahead until joining the 55+ crowd, we understand the inquiry. Attempting to compute a two-year travel budget can be mind-boggling. We can almost see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to sort out whether we are super-rich, trust fund babies or freeloading, homeless hippies. We are neither, but our standard answer – “we saved” – does little to convince them.
Hot dogs, fish, soup, yogurt, tomatoes and orange soda. It doesn’t sound like much, but these are the six best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Due to the isolation and harsh winters of an island nation, the national cuisine in Iceland ranges from fairly basic and expected to creative and downright strange. The remoteness also makes it outrageously expensive. We attempted to keep our budget in check and still get a taste of Iceland cuisine and we think we succeeded in finding six of the best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Stay out of the bars. That’s the #1 tip for budget travelers visiting Iceland. The best budget tip for those wanting to imbibe in Iceland and to save money is to purchase alcohol at the duty-free shop at the airport on arrival. While we clearly fall into the Budget Traveler category, there was zero chance we were going to bypass trying a few local brews at a pub. It is, after all, our preferred method of meeting and mingling with locals. We sacrificed the budget and found 3 places to drink local beer in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Our full-time travels for the past six months have taken us to Australia, the Balkans (with a detour to Rome) and the Netherlands – and we are drastically under budget from a year ago, with an average spending of just $53 per day . We took what we learned from budgeting for our year-long, round the world (RTW) trip and have made a few adjustments that are clearly reflected in our six-month travel budget review. First, we’ve slowed our speed of travel substantially with longer stays – clocking our longest stay during our travels at 10 weeks in one place. Second, we’ve added Housesitting into the mix. While housesitting in Melbourne, Australia and Nijmegen, Netherlands, we completely eliminated our housing cost (in exchange for taking care of pets!).
Hundreds of islands make up the Zadar Archipelago, part of Northern Dalmatia. They range in size, but unlike the southern counterparts, these islands are mostly barren, which attracts fewer inhabitants and visitors. However, the communities that do exist on the islands survive on olive production, the fishing industry and very seasonal tourism. Being in such close proximity, we used two days to discover the area with a boat trip from Zadar to Ugljan and Dugi Otok.
Boat trip from Zadar to Ugljan
Located directly across from Zadar, Ugljan is one of the larger islands in the archipelago and has 7,500 residents, beautiful coastline and hiking/biking trails. Ferry boats cross the Zadar Channel several times a day, making day trips there easy, even in the off-season. We took a morning ferry so we could spend the day visiting three of the island’s towns: Preko, Kali and Kukljica.
When we first starting planning our trip to Hobart, Tasmania, everything and everyone told us we would need a car. Our research made us wonder if we might feel trapped without our own wheels. Our quirk of not driving while sticking to a budget (meaning no expensive tours) has become an increasingly pesky impediment, but we are determined to make it work. And, in the end, it did! Not only is Hobart an extremely walkable city, there is ample public transportation that is affordable and efficient. Read our 5-day itinerary in Hobart without a car.
Whenever we visit a new place, I have a tendency to overdo it. I gather brochures from the visitor’s office and quickly make a list to see everything. Time constraints and our budget usually help whittle the list down. With a lengthy two month housesit in Melbourne, Australia – the longest stay we have had since we started traveling full-time – I was certain we would be able to conquer my massive wish list of things to see; time was on our side and not having to pay for accommodations left extra room in the budget.
My first glance at a map of the Melbourne CBD was a little overwhelming. There is quite a lot of ground to cover in order to see the many sights. However, when we hit the pavement, we found Melbourne to be a very walkable city…as long as we were in comfortable shoes. With just a few hours, an ambitious person could easily complete this self-guided walking tour of Melbourne; with added detours and stops, it can be done in a day.
Self-Guided Walking Tour of Melbourne:
Start at the Queen Victoria Market.
The historic market has been in operation since 1878 and is now spread over two city blocks, so allow some time, grab a coffee to go and peruse the stalls. Besides the fresh produce market, there is an indoor deli, outdoor general merchandise market and several permanent stores around the perimeter.
We’re not huge fans of organized tours. Not only do they eat up a chunk of our budget, but we are averse to being paraded through an area by a paddle-wielding guide. We usually prefer doing our own research, defining our own route and moving at our own pace. However, in some cases, joining a tour provides deeper insight, personal accounts and even the ticket to entry – and not all tours come with a price tag. We actually found 5 free tours in Melbourne that exceeded our expectations.
Free Tours in Melbourne: Shrine of Remembrance
Built in 1934 to honor the Victorians who served in World War I, the shrine has evolved and expanded to include an intriguing museum featuring artifacts from all Australian conflicts. Visitors are invited to tour the building on their own, but we were glad we joined one of the two daily free tours. Our guide, a World War II veteran, shared personal stories that enhanced our understanding of the exhibits. Read about our tour here.