How to Travel on a Budget

Traveling with a Few Bucks or Do You Need a Fortune?

We all want to travel at least once in our lives, be it exploring our country or going to new places by crossing oceans and seas. 

In particular, we are fans of going for a trip every year or even more times when possible, to enjoy our lives and have new experiences. You might have noticed it if you have read some of our travel reviews and recommended destinations. 

Now, the fact that we are able to travel isn’t because we are rich or any of the sorts, and if we were, we would spend the money on the same things. With this in mind, we are able to handle this pleasure by working on a budget and doing proper research. 

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive all the time or at all. We believe it is a matter of playing it smart and focusing on alternatives that allow you to get to new based on your finances. 

When we started our journey, we decided to go to the accessible ones and focus on what we could afford, and over the years, this has expanded to new horizons with our secrets and plans. 

Since we’re confident you would love a trip to adventure every once in a while, we decided to share some of them based on our main factor: a budget

Create Your Travel Plan (Yes, Like a Business One)

We know it can be tedious, but if you want to make this work, you will need to plan your travel and come up with all the details involved, not only those related to money. 

We get that some people would like to travel spontaneously and without many plans. You know, just take a bag with some clothes and take the first flight to a random destination. It is awesome (we’ve confirmed it). 

But this is a luxury not many are able to afford, and although you will be able to do it a few times with some of your money, you want to avoid it if you aren’t rich. 

That being said, this plan we are mentioning isn’t a specific one about where you are going in specific, what you are doing for the next few hours, and almost a schedule of your life during the trip. 

However, it should include an overview of the expenses, the time you will spend in the place, and a detailed travel route to know what you will be doing without many details. 

When you have it, you’ll be able to come up with ideas of how you can adjust your budget to the necessary expenses and how much is left for some traveler buys or purchases. 

For example, let’s suppose you come up with the idea of going to Iceland. Then, focus on the tourist activities you would like to do there, look for hotels or places to stay, have an overview of the road you will take, and decide how long you will stay.

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Based on this brief plan, adjust your budget travel to the days, hotels, touristic activities, and what you can do or if you might need to reduce everything to not end in bankruptcy. 

Part of this planning process is choosing cheap flights (especially international flights) and tickets or going for other alternatives to get to the place if it is a local city or area, or if you might get there with more options than a plane.

Don’t Travel on Season

If you truly want to make this whole budget thing work, you need to set your travels during seasons people don’t usually decide to visit other places. 

When choosing to travel on-season, especially during school holidays, you are bound to spend more on flight tickets and accommodation since everyone raises their prices to get the best out of the busy season. 

However, this season and many others aren’t the same in your country as in others. For example, some countries in Latin America tend to have school holidays during January and February, but others have them during August and September. 

The same applies to other countries and continents since their traditions and schedules don’t align with neighbouring locations. 

Also, this off and on-season tip apply directly to the best season to visit the place you want to travel to. 

Thus, make sure you are going to “cold seasons” when traffic and tourists aren¡t that common based on the place’s best attractions and activities.

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Take Your Time Looking for Accommodation

We don’t have to tell you that expensive hotel suites and downs in specific hotels with 4+ stars will be quite pricy and something you must avoid at all costs.

This part of your travel journey is usually the most expensive since you only spend a few hours every day, but you need somewhere to sleep after all. Now, if you are trying to find a hotel or accommodation that offers great activities inside, you might want to bet for them, but it isn’t entirely necessary. 

In our experience and as part of our advice, a shared room will naturally split the cost and allow you to adjust the expense in your budget. 

A communal bunk room allows you to meet other people who are interested in exploring the same area and can be a way to save money.

You can also use websites such as Couchsurfing and the popular Airbnb to book a spare bedroom in an apartment or house of a local resident. This will allow you to get a true snapshot of the real city and reduce the cost by half. 

Some deals include a personal guide that will be your host themselves and give you insider tips for the best restaurants and tourist spots in the area that can help you save money. 

During our last five destinations, we decided to rent a small house in each place using Airbnb since we found very good deals with a great reputation, and the hosts were amazing. 

The best part? We spent 50% less on accommodation compared to the usual hotel rooms and were able to enjoy beaches and other touristic activities without going too far from our place. 

Do you have family or friends? This could mean free accommodation if you ask them.

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Try to Use Public Transportation as Much as You Can

It isn’t a secret for anyone that rideshares like Lyft and Uber, or the simple fact of using taxis, can be expensive for locals and even more for tourists. Thus, this is the next thing to the list you must avoid. 

We understand the reason behind using them since many people get lost easily during their travels, but this can be solved with all the technology you have today to the point of suggesting and telling you what buses, subways, or transportation options you need to take to get to a specific place. 

Therefore, we highly recommend you stick to public transportation since it will be your most cost-effective option unless you are able to share a ride with others with the previous alternatives. 

Google Maps can usually give you an overview of all the available public transportation options and their prices. 

Information about multi-day and day passes can be found at your local hotel by asking the staff or maybe asking your host or tour guide about the best alternatives. 

We aren’t telling you to say “no” to every other option, but try to reduce their use and only save them for emergencies or as the last resource.

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Be Wise When Choosing Activities

We would usually include this in the first tip about creating your plan, but we wanted to remark it for one reason: people often skip this and just focus on the moment. 

Sometimes, even when you travel in a budget-conscious manner, things can add up, and without noticing it, you spend more than you have planned. 

A simple yet effective example of this is setting a budget for your dinner at $10, but you end up spending $20 in a restaurant you saw at the moment or while buying a dish in an attraction you visited. 

As much as we agree with enjoying the moment, you cannot go for these disruptions in your budget. At least, no, if you haven’t planned them or expected them to happen. 

If you have the opportunity to eat at specific and great places for less, do so. Or if you rented a house or apartment to stay, go buy groceries and cook yourself and spend only a few bucks during the trip to taste the main and famous dishes in the country.  

Many hostels and hotels offer shared or free meals, particularly breakfast. If you are starting in one, make sure you take advantage of this offer! This will allow you to save money on other activities or for a great meal that is well worth the extra expense.

Moving on with another factor, even if you are on a tight budget, you still want to enjoy the amazing activities available when you travel.

Apps such as Groupon make it easy to book amazing experiences at a fraction of the cost, so you will need to take a few minutes to find the best option base on what you want to do. 

Finally, some places or countries offer deals about free passes or tickets for very low prices to explore the city, town, or go to specific attractions. 

Do your research again if you weren’t able to find this before getting to the area and discover the options available that adjust to what you’ve planned so far.

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Teach English Overseas

This won’t look like traveling on a budget, but it is 99% related to it. 

When you don’t have enough money to pay for some expenses, but you feel like you could use your language to make it in the place you want to go, you can dedicate a few hours during the days you will be there to earn extra cash. 

Many budget travelers decide to research online and find opportunities to teach English (or even other topics and languages) in the places they will be visiting. In this way, they complete the budget or have extra money for other luxuries. 

Although you can consider other options, teaching English abroad is one of the most lucrative ways to travel. 

We even tried this when we went to Japan and France 3 and 4 years ago, respectively, and it allowed us to make about $400 during our stay per location. 

We didn’t have to worry about looking for cheap food or eat street food and even financed some guilty pleasures we couldn’t fit in our budget at the time. 

The best part is that you only need to be able to speak English fluently or if you are native, that works even better.  

You can choose to do this as a long-term job in another country, or for short periods based on your visits.

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Also, there are many sites and services that let you teach online. You can teach English anywhere you are as long as there is a good Wi-Fi connection.

So, consider it and take the time to see how profitable and a good idea it is.

Try to Choose Cheap Destinations

We know what you’re thinking, “but I want to go to this place…” 

We get that traveling is about enjoying where you are going based on a previous decision, most of the time at least. However, if you are up for a bit more adventure, try to choose the countries or locations you can afford or are known for being cheap- 

We briefly mentioned this before, but we didn’t get deeper into it. 

Popular places or countries like South Korea, France, Italy, and Hawaii, are quite expensive during almost every season because people always want to visit. There are usually things to enjoy regardless of the month. 

But when you consider countries in specific areas of the continent, you can find great prices and be surprised by the adventure and beauty. 

Some destinations or areas we can recommend you to consider include: 

  • Eastern Europe.

Budapest is a great city to visit in Europe and is usually underrated by tourists until they give it a chance or do some research. 

The Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria are all great budget destinations as well. 

All of them will help you save a lot on accommodation, food, attractions, and tourist activities. In fact, we have been to Poland, and it is one of the cheapest travel destinations we have had so far, and we would love to go back for even lower prices after learning about the place directly. 

  • Southeast Asia.

If you love Asia and want to give it a try, we are confident there’s no single place (except for North Korea) that will disappoint. Thus, you should consider having the places located in Southeast Asia in mind. 

Thailand is one of the common places you will hear or read about. 

Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are still some of our most affordable destinations. They also offer some of the most stunning places in the world.

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  • The Baltics.

The Baltics are a rising destination that is very affordable and usually missed by tourists that are trying to find nature and great views. 

No one would think that places like Estonia were cheap, and even less that they have a lot to offer for the tourists. Others like Latvia and Lithuania are top options, and we even included them in our list. 

  • The Balkans.

If you want to stick to Europe or do your best to meet more places, the Balkans won’t disappoint in your preferences and expectations but also budget. 

Romania, Montenegro, and Greece are all part of the Balkans, and despite the latter being quite popular, you can still travel for affordable prices. 

  • South America.

Due to conversions, economic situation, and other aspects, the countries on this side of the world can be very affordable for most outsides. 

Besides, they have a lot to offer. 

Peru is a big option due to Macchu Picchu, and the gastronomy people love, while Brazil is known for its Carnival and great beauties and beaches.

The Caribbean is also part of the options you can opt for when considering this area.

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Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to some that are even cataloged as expensive, but just make sure you are finding the best deals for them. 

The Maldives is attractive but also very expensive for tourists. However, we have visited it thanks to the weeks we spent finding good offers that weren’t scams. 

Finally, Central America and choosing some flight deals you find on platforms can be great options for saving money or not having to spend more money than what you can actually afford. 

Also, you might want to look at the average travel costs of some bloggers depending on your destination and make sure you are not focusing on those who applied for a working holiday visa or other options unless you can apply for the same. 

Everything is possible to adjust to your budget, and as simple as some tips look, they are essential and achieve great results to allow you to travel wherever you want. We hope these money-saving tips and budget travel recommendations help you to save as much money as possible.

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Written by Dame Cash

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