April 21, 2024

Have you ever had the thought of what it would be like travelling and exploring Lagos on a modest budget? Lagos is a very expensive city and one of the most expensive in Nigeria. For context, in a 2023 cost of living survey done by Mercer, Lagos ranked 47 out of 227 cities surveyed globally. That’s how expensive Lagos is, but there’s a catch: 

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on experiences. In fact, exploring Lagos, a vibrant and bustling city in Nigeria, can be an incredible adventure without breaking the bank. By following some smart tips and tricks which I’d provide in this blog content, you can make the most of your trip while keeping your expenses in check. 

In this ultimate guide, I will walk you through a comprehensive list of budget travel tips for exploring Lagos, allowing you to experience the city’s rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality without exhausting your wallet or running into bankruptcy afterwards. 

Procedures for Budgeted Lagos Travel 

Plan Your Travel 

Before commencing on your Lagos adventure, you have to make comprehensive planning for your trip and plan for any unexpected hike in pricing because things in Lagos can be very dynamic and never stable for long. Having a plan for potential rise in price of anything is one sure way of spending under budget and ensuring a smooth journey without unexpected surprises. 

Research and choose the right time to visit Lagos: Consider the weather, peak tourist seasons, and any local events that might affect prices. For instance, during festive periods like Christmas, the price of things normally get high so if you plan to go on a vacation in Lagos during the festive season, plan for a slightly higher cost of things.

Here are a few things you should do when planning your travel: 

Set a realistic budget for your trip 

Determine how much you can comfortably spend on accommodation, transportation, food, and activities. One mistake you shouldn’t make is assuming that your budget will be enough. Set a plan A budget and a servicing budget as plan B. 

Research affordable accommodation options 

Look for budget hotels, guesthouses, or hostels in Lagos that offer clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable prices. This often depends on your taste and sometimes where you intend to explore. If you want to explore Lagos deeply, then the mainland might be an optimal choice.

Look for budget-friendly transportation options 

Explore public transportation options like buses, which are not only cost-effective but also allow you to experience the local way of life. Using a taxi or personalised driving might be comfortable, but it comes with a trade off of price and experience. Public transport is usually the best here as it allows you to explore and interact while in transit. 

Journeying and Flights

You have to determine what mode is more suitable for you to enter Lagos. This takes up a considerable amount of your total budget when exploring Lagos. A common hack you can utilise to ensure you spend less is to book in advance. Most airlines and bus transportations offer discounted price tickets for customers who book for their travel in advance and oftentimes the amount of discount tends to be more when it is booked far ahead.

Aside from the economical advantage of booking ahead, this also ensures that there are minimal disputes as these transport bodies will tend to serve those who booked in advance if there is an issue. So, booking your transportation to Lagos in advance not only saves you money, it saves you the potential stress and disappointment that comes with last minute changes. 

Dining and Food

One of the joys of travel is discovering the local cuisine. Here’s how you can savour delicious meals in Lagos without breaking your budget. This is where the Lagos magic happens. Food can consume and eat up vital plans in your budget if you aren’t careful. In Lagos there is a lot of food to try out and this is because of the diverse population in the city. 

Each group has their own preferences. From local roadside vendors, to bukkas, down to mini restaurants and beer parlours and five star restaurants. The options are virtually limitless. To ensure you get a taste of everything while you save money on the side you can do the following: 

Explore local markets and street food stalls. 

These vibrant hubs offer a variety of affordable and flavorful dishes that showcase the city’s culinary diversity. That aside, they are often the cheapest, and if you can, they should be where you patronise the most during your exploration in Lagos to keep costs down. 

Consider self-catering options 

If your accommodation allows, prepare some of your meals using locally sourced ingredients, which can be both cost-effective and a fun cultural experience.

Set a daily food budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on meals each day and stick to it to avoid overspending. Never start your day without doing this. It is as important as planning your next place of tour.

Sightseeing and Activities

This is a major essence people come to Lagos as it’s a city brimming with attractions and activities. Here’s how you can explore its offerings without straining your budget. Analyse and compare free or low-cost attractions: Lagos boasts numerous parks, markets, and cultural sites that are free to visit or charge minimal entry fees.

Some of them include:

  • National Museum Lagos
  • Nike Art Gallery
  • Freedom Park Lagos
  • Eko Atlantic City
  • Badagry Slave Route
  • Bar Beach
  • Whispering Palms Resort
  • Elegushi Beach
  • Lagos Oriental Hotel
  • Ikeja City Mall
  • The New Afrika Shrine
  • Onikan Stadium
  • Omu Resort

 

To effectively maximise your tour and further cut down costs while still enjoying your travel, take these into consideration:

  • If there is any available, take advantage of discounted or free entry days: Many museums and landmarks in Lagos offer discounted or free entry on specific days or during certain hours.
  • Explore public parks, beaches, and nature reserves: Enjoy the city’s natural beauty by visiting public parks, beaches, and nature reserves, which often have no or minimal entry fees.
  • Look for group tours or activities: Many tour operators offer discounts for larger groups, so consider joining group tours to save money while still enjoying guided experiences.

Money-Saving Tips

In addition to these steps, here are other tips that can help your Lagos exploration memorable while keeping under your budget:

  • Avoid unnecessary expenses: Prioritise your spending and focus on experiences that truly resonate with you. An example would be buying drinks for everyone in a club or even clubbing when you came for exploration.
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs: Avoid excessive currency exchange fees by using local currency and withdrawing cash from ATMs. If you are coming from outside Nigeria, change your budgeted money at official rates or with registered BDC Exchangers.
  • Bargain and negotiate prices: In most parts of Lagos, especially in local stores, haggling prices is welcome. Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices to get the best deal.
  • Stay aware of common tourist scams: Research common scams in the area and stay vigilant to protect yourself from unnecessary expenses or fraudulent activities.

Frequently Asked Questions for Lagos Travel 

  1. What ideal things am I to bring when coming to Lagos?

Come with lightweight and breathable clothing, comfortable walking footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, reusable water bottle, and a travel adapter for electrical outlets.

  1. How do I stay safe as a Budget traveller in Lagos? 

Stay aware of your surroundings, avoid displaying items that are expensive like gold wristwatches, use reputable transportation options, and stay in well-lit areas at night. Know the emergency hotlines in Lagos.

  1. What accommodation options  are more affordable in Lagos?

Look for guesthouses, hostels, or budget hotels in areas like Yaba, Surulere, or the State’s capital, Ikeja for affordable stays.

Conclusion

Travelling on a budget and exploring Lagos can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can make the most of your trip without being too heavy on your finances. From finding affordable accommodation and transportation to enjoying local cuisine and exploring the city’s attractions, Lagos has much to offer budget-conscious travellers.

One more thing to note is that it is equally important to understand the cultural aspect of Lagos. Though it is diverse, many of the basic cultural practices are common. Things like greetings. Additionally, you should familiarise yourself with the current cultural seasons. The dominant ethnicity in Lagos, the Yorubas usually have a cultural festival called the ‘Owo’ festival when people aren’t allowed outside past a certain time. As a visitor, it is essential you know all of these so as to avoid conflict. 

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