10 Ways To Travel on a Budget
Nothing beats exploring the world, but the costs of traveling can add up quite quickly. With the price of hotels, airfare, and attractions continually on the rise, the idea of travel may seem out of reach for many. Thankfully, there are still many ways one can travel on budget and we have compiled a list of some of the top ways to do so.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Where you choose to travel will dictate how far you can stretch your finances. Countries in Asia and South America will allow you to find accommodation and food for a fraction of what you’ll find throughout Europe. Longer flights may initially cost more to reach certain regions, but you may quickly recoup the extra flight costs when it comes to day to day travel expenses in certain countries.
Make sure to not book your holiday during your destination’s peak-season, since rates will often become severely inflated. Avoiding things like school holidays, annual festivals, and public holidays will also often provide you with cheaper rates.
Accommodation doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you choose to camp. Packing a lightweight tent or bivvy bag will allow you to not only save a lot of money, but also more flexibility when it comes to where you want to explore.
Some of the best off the beaten path destinations are located far from hotels or hostels, thereby making it a requirement to have camping gear to experience them. Camping also allows you much more flexibility in terms of check in and check out times.
Camping fees are generally pretty cheap and many times may cost nothing at all. Even if you choose to mix camping with booking hotels, you will be able to extend the length of your travels.
Long Stay Volunteering
Volunteering is great for the budget traveler. In addition to experiencing incredible destinations, you get to meet fascinating like-minded people.
Low cost volunteering organisations such as Original Volunteers, keep costs low by sending volunteers to smaller grass root projects in more humble surroundings. Other expensive organisations spend large sums of money on advertising and brochures which then pass those costs onto the volunteer. Although they may offer additional comforts, they tend to offer a much less authentic cultural experience. Low cost volunteer organisations therefore are often a much better choice for a rewarding experience.
More cost-effective trips tend to be on the longer stay programs. You will find your weekly costs will be lower the longer you choose to stay. It may be more affordable for you to travel for 10 weeks every 2 years rather than 2-3 weeks every year.
Choosing longer duration visits as opposed to more frequent smaller ones will also save you money on flights.
The internet and social media allow us to talk to people all around the world. Long distance friendships are becoming much more common and so is the opportunity to stay with friends while traveling interstate or abroad.
There are websites such as couchsurfing.com which make is super easy to find people that will take you in and give you a free place to sleep. You will of course need to work with your host’s schedule, so you may need to book early.
There are also some great informal online language-learning websites around where you can make friends abroad. The may be more than excited to host you for a stay in exchange to practice their English.
Save on Transportation
Avoid booking expensive taxis and private transportation and opt for public transport. It may take a bit longer to reach your hotel, but it will save you a lot of money. When transiting from country to country, look at booking overnight flights, buses, or trains to save on accommodation costs.
Many countries offer tourist public transport discount cards or unlimited passes, so look into this as well. You will find that many cities have wonderful public transport systems that will allow you to quickly and easily access all you wish to see.
Use a private browser and clear your cookies before looking at flights, as past searches and quotes will often prevent you from seeing the most recent travel deals. Another option is to browse via a private/incognito mode while looking for flights to get the best deal.
Look into using your credit card award points or frequent flyer miles to gain cheaper flights. Also research whether booking several different airlines as opposed to a single carrier for your itinerary of flights will be more cost effective.
Book Accommodation With Kitchens
One of the greatest traveling expenses is food costs. Eating out in restaurants and even street vendor food can add up considerably. You then of course often have to include customary gratuities making dining out even more expensive.
By selecting a hotel room with a kitchenette or a hostel with shared kitchen facilities, you can end up saving a great deal of cash that can be better spent on extending your holiday or experiencing attractions.
Cooking your own meals also gives you the excuse to check out local grocery stores and markets where you can create your own delicious meals and cater to any dietary needs you may have.
Saving on Attractions and Souvenirs
Don’t feel like you have to visit every tourist attraction you see in a guidebook or online. Many attractions have become overpriced tourist traps that don’t allow you to get a real sense of a destination’s culture. You will find many of the free things available are much more rewarding. Check out free museums, botanical gardens, parks, or simply walk the streets.
Browse local markets for lower priced handicraft souvenirs instead of heading to department stores. Better yet, settle simply for taking photographs as your souvenirs. It is often the memories of our travels which we seek to keep with us. Physical souvenirs often collect dust back home and may cost us in extra baggage fees. Photos really do speak a thousand words and are free if you already have a camera.
Another great way to extend your travels is to seek employment in your chosen destination. There’s no better way of making your money go further than earning more.
The internet makes it easy to organise work before you travel or after you have already arrived. Whether it be working on a fruit picking farm, running tours, or teaching English classes, there are many options for travelers looking for a work away experience. Just be sure that your visa allows you working privileges to avoid any trouble with immigration officials.
Sleeping at Airports
While maybe not the most comfortable option to save money while traveling, sleeping in airports can be a good option at times. If you find yourself arriving in your destination in the middle of the night, choose to sleep in the airport instead of finding a hotel for a mere few hours of sleep. If you have access to airport lounges that are open 24 hours, you may even have access to a bed or comfortable recliner. Even purchasing a one time lounge pass will be cheaper than booking a hotel room. Some airports now even offer small pods with a bed that are a fraction of what a hotel would cost.
Modern international airports have a wealth of facilities from showers to round the clock cafes. Many also offer beautiful waiting areas complete with gardens, TVs, charging stations for your electronics, and more.
July 19, 2018
Volunteering is definitely one of my favorite ways to travel the world and meet awesome people. Of course, it’s not for everyone but if you are really into the cause you can try to help and travel this way. My second favorite way to travel cheaply is by a bicycle. You can see much more traveling slowly on your bike than using a bus or train. You can start by exploring the neighbor cities and villages but with the time you will feel more comfortable to explore more distant areas.
July 24, 2018
I love volunteering. I’ve volunteered with Workaway before which I would recommend. Also if youre travelling in Europe Blablacar is a safe and cheap lift sharing site. I agree that getting a place with a kitchen can really make such a big difference. You can get some surprisingly cheap places on Airbnb. Thanks for sharing some awesome tips.
August 11, 2018
I have never tried volunteering before but after reading this post it makes me want to volunteer and enjoy the ‘freebies’ when you volunteer to a big organization or foundation. Thanks for this!
August 14, 2018
I’ve heard a lot about people volunteering to experience a country for free or very cheaply. Its really interesting to try but I don’t think it would work for short travelers like I am. I would usually visit a country for 1-week if I get to have a leave from work. The kitchen tips is always good though! Preparing your own food rather than grabbing something to eat outside can really save a lot!
May 18, 2019
I have done many Charity and volunteer jobs and works with my mates in the office. It’s really a good and wonderful activity.
November 19, 2019
Great article and tips! Personally managing a budget trip is tough for me sometimes. I get overbudget but will try to manage it next time. Looking forward to Volunteering 🙂