I love to travel (chances are that you do too – if you’re an au pair). But let’s face it. The small salary you get for your work can make it harder to go to a lot of different places.
There are always ways to travel, even if you are on an au pair salary.
If you’re in the UK, I would recommend becoming a YHA member. This will cost you £5 per month but saves you £3 per night that you stay with them. You can find these hostels almost everywhere in England and Wales. I love staying in these hostels because they have self-catering kitchens (another great way to save some money) and there’s usually plenty of parking space.
Don’t go to expensive landmarks or tourists attractions
They might be fascinating, but they can also easily make a huge dent in your budget for a trip. If it’s something you really want to see from the inside, you should definitely go. Just do some research and make sure you know ahead of time whether you’ll actually enjoy going there, how much it’s going to cost you and whether or not it’s worth the money.
Book tickets in advance
If you buy your train tickets a couple of months in advance on Trainline, they usually give you a discount.
Only pack the essentials
You do not need five shirts and three pairs of jeans for a weekend trip. If you only pack what you really need, you won’t need to bring an extra bag (no checked luggage!).
Pack your own lunch and take a water bottle with you
We are still fighting against plastic, and an easy way to do this is by buying yourself a sustainable water bottle. This will also save you money in the long run, because buying water in airports is always expensive. Also take some snacks with you that don’t expire quickly (I really like Graze boxes)
Once you get to where you’re going, keep an eye out for a cheap supermarket. Most hostels have self-catering kitchens, and this can save you a lot of money. I understand that when you’re on holiday, you sometimes want to treat yourself on a nice meal. Just keep this in mind: would you rather eat more supermarket food and be able to explore multiple places, or visit only one city and eat at fancier restaurants? Figure out where your priorities lie.
Public transport can be a cheap way to explore a city. But if you’re on an au pair salary it might actually be cheaper to pay extra for a central hostel so that you can walk everywhere. If not, find out if it would make more sense to buy a 2-day ticket rather than two separate tickets.
Do your research before you go because that can save you money in the long run!