I always travel around alone, at the end of the trip i always find that i have always exceeded my budget! No idea how i spent the money..
I normally visit -snip-, this website has the cheapest prices with the most information provided so I save quite alot for accomodation. I need help with a plan, i need to know how i can control my budget.. i am really bad with finances hope someone here could help!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. And Travellerspoint has the cheapest accommodation anyway, that's why you are overspending! :) ]
I write down every dollar I spend while on the road. That way you can track your expenses. After a few weeks, you might spot areas you can economize. Good luck.
I find one of my biggest expenses is food and beer. In pretty much any place in the world, eating in restaurants and drinking in bars is relatively expensive and can eat your budget away. So when I'm traveling I always do my best to eat locally. In developing countries in particular, local restaurants are a fraction of the cost of restaurants catering to tourists, and usually, the food is much better. It also gives you a better chance to experience local culture. So its win win. In Western countries, where even the cheapest restaurants are expensive, I cook for myself at my hostel as much as possible.
I find when I'm traveling it's a really good excuse to drink more than I normally would, so I do my best to limit it, especially in countries where alcohol is expensive (like India). When I do want a beer, I go to a convenience store and drink it on the beach or hotel room. Then I can justify spending the money if I'm out to dinner or a bar with new traveling friends.
Also, I find that in most cases, booking accommodation once you arrive is cheaper than even the cheapest website booking. Yes, sometimes you have to wonder around looking at a couple places, but you often get bargaining power, and you can see the room first so you at least feel you are getting a fair deal.
Finally, writing your spendings down is a great way to figure out where you are wasting your money. I also give myself a daily budget. Every morning I take my daily budget out of my money belt and put it in a wallet or pouch that I use for day to day spending. Hopefully, at the end of the day I'm left with a small surplus that carries into the next day. After a few days, if I've been watching my spending, I'll have enough extra to treat myself with a nicer meal, souvenir, or more comfortable bed.
Other ways to save money:
Wash your own laundry. Carry a clothes line and sink plug.
Take cheaper forms of transportation. Take night trains when possible so you can save on a nights accommodation. Unless you have to, walk instead of taking taxis. (packing light helps this).
Don't snack and spend your money on small things during the day (they add up).
I'm surprised you say to book once you get there. I can't imagine wandering around in a strange place with a load on my back trying to find a cheap place to stay. When I get off a train, I'm already tired and ready to drop my bag and rest a little. My strategy is to start looking WAY before I leave so I can get a cheap hotel that's still nice and in a great location. Planning my trip to Spain for this June I booked my rooms last August when I found that a hotel I wanted in Barcelona was already booked. Checking recently, most of my hotels are all booked up now so if I had waited I would have to book a more expensive hotel or pick scary ones or ones way out of the center of town.
I also save money by avoiding eating in restaurants. I usually stick with street food vendors and markets. Buy a box of snacks in the supermarket instead of spending money on the street. If you are staying at a hostel, you can have a better time buying a few beers/wine at a market and hanging out with fellow hostelers than going to a bar. When I get too tired to walk I take a bus or subway, not a taxi. I've definitely washed out things in the sink and visited a laundromat or two on a long trip.
I like the idea of writing everything down.
Maybe I'm an oddball, but I frequently spend less than what I had expected to spend. I think perhaps I spend more time in the planning stage than most people. When I budget for a trip, I always use a "medium" figure or estimate - I think most people budget with the minimum, and are then very surprised. I also factor in inflation - guidebooks and travel forums never do this. When I'm on the road, I live quite simply, preferring small cafes to fancy restaurants, and guesthouses to large hotels. I also prefer to walk - I really dislike taking cabs.
One way to save money is to eat breakfast at the hotel, if they offer it for free. If they don't, buy some bread and instant coffee at a store, the night before. Some countries, especially in Asia, have cheap street food that makes a satisfying breakfast.
Avoid taxis, if you can. Take a subway or bus- especially to/from the airport.
Also, I generally avoid buying souvenirs, which are often overpriced and tacky. My only souvenirs are photos and passport stamps. And maybe a T-shirt.