If you’re wanting to travel but haven’t yet got around to planning or booking anything, there may be a few things holding you back. One of these might be the overall cost of travel.
If you’re wanting to travel but haven’t yet got around to planning or booking anything, there may be a few things holding you back. One of these might be the overall cost of travel.
Depending on where you want to go, traveling can often be a lot more expensive than people expect it to be, and it can be quite a difficult thing to save up for! Thankfully, there are ways to overcome your financial woes to have that dream travel experience – all without having to break the bank.
This may sound too good to be true, but it’s real. You can have your dream traveling experience even while being on a strict budget!
traveling on a budget entails taking advantage of low-cost (or free) accommodation, transport, food, and activities to reduce the cost as much as you can. You may have to sometimes make sacrifices in terms of convenience or comfort to extend your travels for as long as possible, but this won’t happen all the time.
Sure, you may sometimes need to dig a little deeper into your pocketbook on some occasions, but if you plan well enough and budget accordingly, you can enjoy yourself without worrying about money.
If you’re ready to kick start your budget travel journey, this guide will provide you with all of the information you need!
Come Up With A Plan
If you’re traveling on a budget, one of the most important things you must do is have a plan in place. It doesn’t need to be an hour-by-hour itinerary but you should have some idea about how long you will be in each country or city.
The key to sticking to your budget is knowing exactly what you want to get out of your vacation, and where to look to find it.
Whether that’s for flights, accommodation, activities, or something as small as food and drink, having an idea of where you can purchase certain things is a great way to save some money.
But don’t let the idea of a budget stop you from doing things you really want to. Most importantly, you can eat well on a budget! If you want to indulge in a fancy dinner then offset this expense by having a lower-cost breakfast and lunch.
Leaving less to chance in terms of your finances means you will have fewer unexpected spending, which will keep you and your wallet happy.
You don’t need to empty your bank account for admission tickets, daily activities, and expensive tours to enjoy your trip! In fact, you can have a fulfilling time pretty much anywhere in the world without needing to spend any money at all.
Make sure to take full advantage of all free attractions in your chosen destination. This could include visiting museums and galleries, going on a free walking tour, or even exploring the local markets.
When you’re meandering through a tourist street you might even find yourself during a free theatre performance, a spontaneous poetry reading, or even a performance from a local orchestra.
You can’t beat walking through a public space. You never know what you’ll end up encountering!
Time In Nature
You could even enjoy the sunrise and sunsets in your chosen travel destination. Whether you’re a night owl or a springy morning person, you must schedule some time to enjoy the free views provided by nature.
If you don’t know the best spots then you could consult a local or look online to find out where other tourists have spent their time. Spending time in nature in this way is often a magical experience that you just cannot miss out on!
Whether you’re in the middle of a huge city or in the countryside you should also consider taking a walk around local parks. Not only is this a great opportunity to get to grips with your surroundings but you can also people watch and even make some friends on your travel!
Travel Out Of Season
Avoid planning any of your trips during the school holidays. This is when the travel industry tends to hike up its prices to take full advantage of families who are only available to travel during this time.
If you want to get the most out of your travel while saving as much money as possible, you should research the best times to visit your preferred destination and then travel either just before or after these dates have occurred. This is also called the ‘shoulder season.’
At this time, you will still have an enjoyable trip but won’t have to deal with the sweltering heat of the sun like you would in the middle of the summer season.
To keep up their sales, a lot of airlines and hotels will lower their prices so that more customers will purchase tickets or visit specific venues.
When traveling on a budget, you must remain open to staying in many venues like a bed and breakfast, a hostel, an Airbnb, and a hotel. Finding cheap accommodation that works for you can be a lengthy process but just think of the total amount of money that it could potentially save you in the long run!
Stay In Hostels
Make sure to trade expensive hotel suites for a dorm room inside of a hostel. Sharing a room with others will automatically lower the overall cost for you, and communal rooms offer you the chance to meet other like-minded people who may want to travel with you.
It’s also very easy to find hostels! All you need to do is carry out a quick online search and you will likely stumble across many price comparison websites that will find the lowest-priced hostel for you.
Remember that the price of hostels will differ depending on the country and city you are in, but can easily be only a couple of dollars a night. Again, this will save you lots of money instead of paying for expensive hotel suites!
Stay With Friends And Family
Reach out to people you know who live in the area. Maybe get in contact with that long-lost family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or speak to people within your close circle who live in the area you want to travel in.
This could potentially be your ticket to explore new places in-depth in ways that you may not have ever expected before, with a trusted companion no less.
Be respectful of any of their house rules so that you do not cause much disruption to the lives of your friends and family!
Camping is one of the cheapest types of accommodation you could opt for while traveling. A lot of the national parks and campgrounds around the world are priced anywhere from $5 to $15 per person, per night, which could prove to be a hefty saving throughout your excursion!
If you’ve got all the right equipment to go camping for a couple of nights, your next task will be to find an appropriate campsite. After all, you don’t want to be setting up in the wild or in the middle of nowhere as this might not be completely safe.
Make sure to book campsites in advance. You can book a single campsite for your entire trip or only for a couple of nights at a time. Again, planning is key with these things – and you will want to guarantee that you have somewhere to stay for the night.
These moving vehicles provide extreme comfort while you are on the road. Not only that but traveling in a campervan means you also have lots of freedom to take as many spontaneous trips as you possibly could want to!
Another major benefit of traveling in a campervan is that you can squeeze a lot of destinations into a single trip – which could save you lots of money in the long run.
Campervans also offer functional and designated sleeping, bathing, and cooking areas. This is a highly convenient part of traveling.
Book Flights In Advance For The Best Deals
Like activities and accommodation, planning and booking flights in advance is an excellent way of saving some money as you travel. The trick for international travel is to book flights as soon as possible.
Airlines will release their flight seats almost a year in advance for you to take a look at. The closer you get to the date of your departure and the longer you wait to actually book airfare, the higher the prices will be.
Booking your flights early will save you lots of money and stress. As a general rule of thumb, you should buy long-haul flight tickets between eight months and six weeks in advance to get the best deals and lowest prices.
After all, going abroad without a guaranteed way home (in this instance, without pre-paid airline tickets) is never an ideal situation!
Choose To Fly On Cheaper Days Of The Week
There is a myth that buying your flights on a Tuesday will get you the lowest possible price. This might be true, but you must also consider the day of the week in which you will be flying out to your intended travel destination as some days are going to be cheaper than others.
The day of the week determines how busy an airport will be, and it can also affect the price of airline tickets. A basic rule is to choose either Tuesday or Wednesday to fly out. Not only are these quieter traveling days but the tickets are generally much cheaper, too.
There aren’t that many people who would prefer to fly on a weekday – especially mid-week – so these days are the most convenient to opt for. Lots of people prefer to travel on Friday and into the weekend because of work commitments which makes them the busiest days to fly on and is the sole reason why premiums are added to these flights.
However, this could change depending on the airport itself; specifically how busy it is, where it is located, and the types of flights that are scheduled. But there’s also the issue of business travelers that return home on a Friday and head back to work on a Sunday evening, ready to begin again on Monday.
Try to conduct some preliminary research or even contact the airport directly to find out the best and worst days to fly. You can also inquire about the prices of cheap seats for different airlines, see if they have any deals, and then plan your trip accordingly.
Use Public Transport
It’s a well-known fact that trains and buses are cheaper than planes. This means that you could save quite a significant amount of money moving between destinations by simply embracing public transport.
Public transport is an efficient, fast, and cost-effective way to travel within a city. You may find that many of the attractions you have planned to visit are spread quite far apart, and public transport can be a cheap way of seeing and doing everything you want but without exceeding your holiday budget!
If you’re traveling around Europe, for instance, then you will find lots of benefits in using public transport. This is because every country you visit is well connected.
Choose Food Options And Restaurants Wisely
While it can be a nice treat to take yourself out for a fancy dinner every once in a while, it’s always good to be aware of your budget when you go about having food on a day-to-day basis.
For example, you can opt to purchase a week’s worth of groceries in a supermarket instead of eating in an overpriced restaurant or cafe.
If you’re out and walking around during the day, you might want to have a wander and look at all of the available places on offer to have dinner so you can make sure that you are staying within (and making the most of) your budget.
You should also avoid having alcohol with every meal and should instead opt for free glasses of water, or cheap soft drinks. Both your waistline and your wallet will thank you for this choice!
Cook Your Own Meals When You Can
Hostels and spare rooms will sometimes give you access to a fully operational kitchen to save some money on food. If you plan to get ingredients from a local market or store and cook your own food multiple times a day, cooking your own meals will work out to be much cheaper than eating at a restaurant!
Anything you can stock up on from a grocery store from cereals to road trip snacks and pantry staples (including tinned vegetables and dry pasta) will make the whole traveling experience much easier on you. It’ll also help you to stay within your budget as you will know exactly what you are eating, and how much you need to spend on food per week.
If you cannot gain access to a kitchen then try to choose a space that has microwave or refrigerator access for you to store fresh food.
You’ll likely spend around $60 a week on groceries in contrast to $25 per evening meal in a nice restaurant. That could lead to some epic savings during your travels!
Earn While You Travel - Overseas Jobs
For many people, the idea of saving up thousands of dollars to go traveling can be extremely daunting.
While there are ways for some people to save money as they travel on a tight budget, for others, there’s no amount of saving tips that will help them to save as much money as they truly need.
This is when you may want to consider working overseas – to keep your wallet lined with cash and to keep you on your traveling journey.
Many people are aware of this option yet fewer individuals actually do it. Thankfully, working overseas is not as difficult as it may seem on the surface. In fact, there’s no shortage of establishments and people looking for some extra help overseas!
Teach English/Other Languages
Teaching English as a foreign language is a great option for a lifestyle or career change. The experience will differ depending on the country you end up living in, and how confident you feel while teaching.
You will also need to consider the level and age of the students or people you want to teach and the sort of institution that you would like to teach the language at.
Teaching English or another language while traveling is a job, and should be taken seriously. You may find yourself with additional work at the weekend, or have unsociable working hours with a reduced work-life balance.
As long as you are fluent in the language you’re going to teach, have determination, and are also very enthusiastic about what you are doing, you’ll likely find success in no time at all.
Every day you travel will bring about a new challenge for you to face which could be the exciting experience you desperately need!
Many of the working holiday jobs you’ll be able to find will be low-wage office roles or service jobs. This includes anything from office assistants to farm work. The pay for these roles isn’t always great but it is liveable, so you will have a little extra money on hand while you travel.
Working on a farm in exchange for money or free room and board is a great way to see the great outdoors. You will need to pay for the transport to the farm but everything else is usually covered once you get there. This will guarantee budget-friendly travel while allowing you to meet new people and have a unique experience.
Remember, you won’t get such a labor-intensive job without lots of determination. If you are truly serious about making money or gaining free accommodation as you travel, you should take on work whenever you can find it.
The World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a great place to look for this type of work!
If you’re struggling to afford your traveling, you should consider watching someone’s home and pets while they are away whether for a couple of days or a couple of months. There are many online sites that you can sign up to that will show you everyone in your area looking for a housesitter.
On these websites, all accounts are verified and reviewed so you know that you will not be getting cheated out of earning some cash.
Not only is this a great way to potentially earn a bit of money but it also allows you to remain in a single destination for a set amount of time without paying for accommodation.
Plus, you get a kitchen to make some food, free groceries, a tip, and may even gain access to a vehicle to get around the local area!
Some popular house-sitting websites to look at include:
If you’re traveling on a budget, you must make the most of any discounts you stumble upon!
You can save big abroad by looking for places that offer a student discount. Always make sure to ask the hotel, store, or restaurant if there are discounts available for students. You’ll be surprised at just how much money this could save in the long run!
If you’re a student under the age of 25, you’ll likely have a plethora of incredible discounts at your fingertips. Attractions like museums, amusement parks, and aquariums usually have discounts available that slash the price of tickets almost in half.
Popular rail passes like the Eurail Pass (used in Europe) are great ways to save some money when traveling between destinations by train. If you are traveling around the region for an extended period, you’ll benefit from a rail pass instead of paying for single journeys.
A rail pass will save you money on nearly every journey you embark upon. If you take one long journey and several shorter ones, you will have already made all of your money back.
If you’re booking individual journeys, try booking ahead. You can often save around 50% of the total train ticket cost. However, this then forces you to abide by a strict timeline. If you would prefer to have a more flexible schedule then a rail pass may be exactly what you need.
City Tourism Cards
If you’re planning on looking at a lot of sights in a city, make sure to invest in a city tourism card! These will provide you with discounted or even free access to major attractions in the area, in addition to free transportation.
These discount cards are an easy way to save money that not many people use. Head to a local tourism office to figure out which cards are available. They can help you with any questions or concerns you may have that will, in turn, make sure you save a considerable amount of money.
They aren’t available in every city but the majority of big cities will have them. If you’re planning to see the sights in a major city, you’ll be able to save some serious money with this card.
Choose The Cheapest Travel Destinations
Mexico is full of seemingly endless adventures, making it one of the greatest countries to visit while on a budget. This beautiful country is rich in nature, delicious food, and culture.
Sure, some excursions within Mexico can be quite costly, but it’s generally quite a cheap place to travel. Guesthouses and hostels are cheap and public transport is affordable and easy to use, so you can see many of the countries’ safest and most coveted destinations.
Places like Croatia, Turkey, and Romania are part of The Balkans and make delightful places to travel to, especially if you are on a serious budget. There are many comparative price levels in this region for beverages, food, and accommodation.
The Balkan region is also an ideal destination for people who love learning about the vibrant cultures and rich history of northeastern European countries.
Many people have raved about the affordability of Portugal. It is so reasonably priced in this beautiful country that many expats are now beginning to live there! Daily expenditure (food, transport, and accommodation) won’t break the bank in Portugal.
You can also travel between destinations quickly and efficiently in Portugal while getting to feel all of the benefits of its culture, beaches, and food!
One of the most diverse travel experiences you can have is to visit Eastern Europe. You could visit the beautiful landscapes of Austria, Budapest, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, or Romania, to name a few. You may also be surprised at just how affordable Eastern Europe can be!
You may even want to visit the stunning landscapes of Thailand. Visiting Thailand may prove to be a little more expensive than other countries on this list, but it’s still highly reasonable if you play your cards right! You can pick up tasty meals for only a couple of dollars, and accommodation is also affordable. You can save some money by visiting free attractions like the beach.
Hire Local Guides
If you want to truly immerse yourself and get a detailed perspective of a new destination, you should look toward hiring local guides.
Local tour guides who are experts in the history of their country can make all of the difference when you visit more complex destinations.
They know the best places to visit and can provide you with useful information to help you experience things as if you were a local yourself.
Hiring local guides in capital cities like Venice, Paris, or Munich will also help you to understand more about the history and architecture of the city. They will also provide an academic background about the culture and history of your destination if that’s what you wish!
Local guides can also take the stress out of touring a new country yourself. They will do all the hard work for you by making decisions about the small details you need to know, so you don’t have to. This might include:
The greatest part of hiring a local guide is that they won’t just spout off interesting facts to you. Instead, they will get you up to date with the who, what, when, why, and how of the country.
That concludes the ultimate guide to traveling on a budget. Whether you are planning to travel for a month, a year, or even just for a couple of days, travel doesn’t necessarily need to cost you an arm and a leg.
You don’t need to travel with the typical hotel/flight combination. If you introduce more non-traditional methods of travel like booking hostels or camping overnight in a specific location, you’ll be on your way to achieving big savings in no time at all.
But the most important way you will save money while traveling is by meticulously planning out what you want to do. It doesn’t mean you need an hour-by-hour itinerary, but rather an idea of the places you want to visit, where you’ll stay, and what you’ll be doing.
This includes pre-booking flights, searching for cheap accommodation, and looking for free attractions to enjoy so you don’t have to spend unnecessary money. It also includes being cautious about the type of food that you eat and taking on jobs when they crop up.
You will save more money by purchasing your groceries and making food multiple times a week instead of going out for a fancy dinner, which could set you back lots of money.
By taking the time to implement many of these tips, you will be able to travel wherever you want and have many interesting experiences, all with very little money.