Sunday, 13 August 2017

Keeping Travel Costs Down - Alcohol/Drinks

I did a post a little while ago about how to save money on the most requested topic when you’re abroad; and that was food. However, there was a close second, and that was today’s topic - alcohol (or drinks in general). It stands to reason that this is probably big on the itinerary when you go travelling, and so a lot of your budget can easily be eaten up by drinking if you don’t make sure that you’re keeping tabs on it. Though a lot of people worry about this biting right through the centre of the budget, it seems to me as though this is one of the easiest things to keep your money low on when you know how - so here’s a sober girl’s guide (don’t worry, my girlfriend drinks alcohol, I didn’t just pull these out of thin air) on how to make sure you aren’t spending too much on alcohol (and other drinks) when abroad.

I’m going to start with a practical one, but one that not everyone is going to like - and that’s opt for wine, especially when in Europe. When out for meals wine is typically cheaper purely because you share the cost of a bottle, but if you’re in and around Europe, most regions, countries, cities or even villages have their own bodegas, and therefore their own wines. These will be cheap, strong and easy to share over a good meal (or even a bad one) - so, I know it’s not a great tip for all of you travelling around that don’t like wine, it’s definitely a good way to keep alcohol costs down. Plus, it’s an acquired taste - if you drink enough of it, you’ll be a connoisseur by the time that you jump on the plane to come home.

Not about to opt for a drink that you don’t like just in order to keep your costs down? Well, that’s fair enough - and there’s definitely other ways around it. Try to drink whatever is native to the country that you’re in - something you’ll know, because you’ll find it absolutely everywhere; Super Bock and Somersby Cider in Porto, Black Balsam in Riga and pretty much any type of vodka in Poland - anything that doesn’t have to be imported is going to run much cheaper than anything that does. Pints of Strongbow might be so much you’ll feel like you’re about to faint when they hand you the bill, but there’ll almost definitely be some sort of alternative that they don’t have to use a huge carbon footprint to get in, and that’ll have a much lower price tag. 

It’s not just alcohol that’s going to burn a hole in your pocket, but any kind of drink - whether you’re in a hot country on the beach, or a city break walking right around the town, you’re going to need some sort of hydration; and bottle after bottle of water is definitely going to build up cost wise. Take and empty water bottle through in your hand luggage and have any Costa, Starbucks or even McDonalds fill this up as you travel around to keep costs low - if you can’t stand water, just buy squash and keep a small amount of it in your bag. Coming prepared is a huge part of not spending more than you’d budgeted, and this simple trick can definitely help you keep on top of that cash trying to escape from your pockets (though I’d like to point out, a vodka and coke or a Starbucks iced tea here and there probably isn’t going to nip away too much of the money you’ve brought along).

As a general rule though - drink at home as much as possible. Whether it’s a night in, a round of pre-drinks or a drink after a meal so you don’t have to shell out for alcohol at restaurant prices - the same as it is in England, alcohol bought from a supermarket or off license is always going to run considerably cheaper. Share a bottle of wine before you go out, buy some plastic shot glasses and start the rounds before your feet ever hit the floor in a bar and you’ll be much better off by the time that you make it home (of course an alternative is to only take the money that you can afford to spend on a night out, then when you run out you really have no alternative but to stop spending).

Furthermore, and most importantly when it comes to drinks, whether you’re in a hot or cold country, walking around or just having a relaxed holiday - make sure to stay hydrated, and make sure to keep drinking in between that alcohol to keep as healthy and hydrated as possible. Such a sad mum thing to say, I know, but very important (and water is typically free!). If you have any tips for keeping drinks costs down, or any places you struggle to save money when abroad, let us know down below.

Sammy xo

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