As experienced budget travellers, here is our full guide on how to travel on a budget!
I strongly believe that Travel can be accessible to anyone who wants it, no matter their circumstances. It’s all about knowing how to get the most from the money you have.
There are of course extreme options like hitchhiking and travelling by shipping containers, but I thought I’d share tips I have either done or would be willing to do.
Guido and I have travelled both Solo and together to over 43 countries and are usually on a budget. So here are some of my top tips for travelling on a budget.
15 Different Ways To Travel On A Budget
It is important to always know your budget first so that you can plan your trip accordingly. Once you have a budget in mind you will know which of these tips will work best for you. Although we recommend using all of them.
1. Research cheaper destinations e.g. South East Asia
Some destinations are just simply cheaper than others. For example, countries in Asia like Vietnam and India are FAR cheaper to travel than most countries in Europe. If you have your heart set on Europe then of course some countries are also cheaper than others. Albania for example is much cheaper than Switzerland.
Don’t forget to weigh this up with the cost of flights to get to the destinations, to see if they are in fact cheaper.
2. Search for the cheapest flights using a comparison site
Every time we want to fly we use SkyScanner to compare flight prices but there are a few extra tricks you can do while searching to get even better prices.
Firstly make sure you are using incognito mode on your phone or browser. Try to book your flights during the week and fly on a weekday too. In SkyScanner, you can search for a whole month to see the cheapest dates. Or you can put your dates in and search for ‘anywhere’ to see the cheapest destinations.
Need help? Read our guide on finding cheap flights here.
It also really helps to save money if you can be flexible with your dates. That way you can choose to travel on the dates with the cheapest prices.
When we flew to Mexico we knew we wanted to go in November so I kept checking the flight prices every day, one day I randomly found a date that had direct flights for a fraction of the cost of every other time I had looked.
This often happens with airlines so the more you check and can be flexible the more likely you are to find a great deal.
3. Compare accommodation costs using Booking.com
We mostly use Booking.com to find hostels, read reviews, and compare prices. Quite often if you then go directly to a hostel’s website the fee will be slightly less.
Alternatively, the more you book through Booking.com the more they reward you with discounts etc. They call it Genious status and the more bookings you have the more perks you get. Another great way to save some money. They also often have better discounts if you book through their mobile app rather than on their website.
You can read our guide for more tips.
If you use Air BnB it is handy to know that often the price is reduced if you stay for a week or more. In fact, hostels and guesthouses don’t often advertise this but if you want to extend and stay somewhere for a few weeks or a month and ask for a discounted rate, they will likely agree.
4. Travel slowly
Travelling slowly doesn’t mean walking around in slow motion, but rather staying for longer periods of time in each place.
Not only does it lead to less transport costs, but many places will offer discounts on longer stays. You will also spend less money on transport, which can add up quickly.
5. Travel outside of peak seasons
Peak seasons are notorious for inflated prices. Some things WILL sell out, which means shops and agencies will ask for more. Find out when the off-season is at your destination. There will be fewer crowds and also lower prices, it’s a win-win.
6. Stay in hostels
Hostels will nearly always be the cheapest option. A bed in a mixed dorm room usually will cost the least. The more beds in a room typically the cheaper it gets.
Private rooms in Hostels aren’t usually that cheap so if you’re looking for more privacy then a family-run guesthouse is your best bet.
7. Sign up to Work away
This is a site where you pay a one-off fee for the year and then have access to thousands of people looking for volunteers. You will typically work for around 5 hours a day and in return, they will give you a place to stay and often meals too.
There is a huge variety of projects on there and there will be something for everybody.
8. Give Couch surfing a try
Another great way to stay places for free. There is an app where you can join for free and connect with hosts all over the world. They also host meet-up events, where you can meet other travellers.
9. Use public transport.
Take an overnight bus rather than a flight. Travel 2nd class on a train rather than 1st, and take a bus from the airport rather than a taxi. This is my number one recommendation for how to travel on a budget.
It’s time to ditch the Taxis!
10. Find free activities
Activities like hiking, snorkelling, exploring towns and cities, free walking tours, and visiting free temples or museums. I have had countless great experiences in new places simply just by exploring on foot and finding free things to do.
11. Eat street food
…and food from local markets, rather than 3 restaurant meals a day.
Also when it comes to food, many hostels have a kitchen you can use to cook for yourself which saves a lot of money. And finding accommodation that includes breakfast saves you the cost of a meal a day.
12. Take a water bottle with a filter.
Not only does it guarantee you will always have clean, safe water to drink but it will save you money and drastically reduce the amount of plastic you consume on your travels. We took Water-To-Go bottles with us and refilled them in public restrooms in India and from waterfalls in Sri Lanka and Panama!
13. Find a Travel credit card with no withdrawal fees
We’re using both Revolut and Wise for online bookings and cash withdrawals.
It is also good to check ATMs and see which ones charge a local bank fee. Many ATMs abroad charge fees but some do not and they are the best ones to use.
14. Get a local SIM card
Avoid large phone bills and stick to available Wi-Fi networks. Use a VPN like this one for safe browsing on public networks!
15. Be careful what you book in advance and what you book online
For example, booking activities online from your own country in advance will always be more expensive than booking locally in the destination. A safari booked at the site of the park will always be cheaper than booking it from the comfort of your living room.
However, some places are so popular that you need to book in advance in order to not miss out so a little research can go a long way here.
How To Travel On A Budget – Final Thoughts
Now that you know how you too can travel on a budget, I hope this helps motivate you to get planning your next trip.
As always, I am here and happy to answer any questions if you want to know more.