If you are reading this article, then I’m assuming you are deciding to travel. We all have a travel bucket list that is ever-growing; however, many can’t afford it.
But trust me, there are many inexpensive destinations and ways to travel cheaply around the world.
Check out my Cheapest Travel article to find out about low-cost destinations in the world.
Now the main question is how to travel for cheap. Essentials like food, accommodation, and transportation are not something to leave out. And yes, worrying about your daily expenses is reasonable.
Spending hard-earned money in one go feels somewhat wrong. But, it is possible to travel on a budget. All you need to do is be careful, flexible, and act locally.
If you are a beginner, then this article will help you with how to travel for cheap. Start packing your backpack as I give you some tips on thrifty traveling across the globe.
One of the most significant expenses we make is on transportation. Traveling from one country to another empties half of our bank account. But with a little pro-tip, I am sure you will be able to save that money and spend it on something else.
i. Budget Airlines
To save a great deal of money, fly with a budget airline. You may have to sacrifice a little bit of comfort and the seat of your preference. But hey! At least you will be reaching your destination safely.
Try not to carry extra bags or carry-ons. The airline company will charge you additional bag fees.
A budget airline will also charge you for snacks or meals, so avoid eating those if you are not hungry. It is one of the ways on how you can avoid extra fees on a budget airline.
Another significant way of saving money on flights is being flexible. It sure is convenient to fly when and from where you please. But, if any of the airports a bit further from your desired one have a more excellent deal, then head there.
Your purse will thank you for it.
Trains are a cheaper and faster means of intercity travel. They are less expensive than traveling by air, and they are comfortable too.
Taxis are a cheap means of travel IF you know how to haggle. Taxi drivers will always try to charge you higher for their services, so try to bargain as much as possible.
Using mobile apps like Uber and Lyft is an excellent way to save money too. You can know how much you will be spending, and you will also have the option to carpool with other riders.
There are services like BlaBlaCar, ZipCar, and Car2Go available. These are international car rental and car-sharing services, more economical and safer.
Buses are a perfect means of traveling in and out of the city. Yes, it does take time. But, look on the brighter side; you will see all the beautiful sceneries of the country.
Buses are the cheapest means of traveling, and it is comfortable too.
Hitchhiking is an excellent way to save transportation money. Many countries have not legalized hitchhiking, though. Plus, for safety reasons, do not hitchhike alone.
Have a friend or two while you ask for a lift from someone in a foreign country.
vi. Travel Rewards Program
Travel Rewards Programs are credit card revenue-based rewards granted by airlines and rental car companies.
Say you spend $1 on an airline ticket; the Travel Rewards program will reward you with 1 point. (Here, $1= 1 point). Sometimes, the credit/debit card company also rewards you with a point for spending a specific amount.
You can use these points to pay for some other services in the future. It is already big on savings.
Accommodation is another factor in our travel that is an absolute compulsion. But just because it is a necessity does not mean it has to be costly.
With this, I list you some of the ways on how you can save your travel money on accommodation:
i. Stay with the locals
Rather than hitting an overly priced hotel room, opt to stay with the locals. Not only are they cheap but they also give you the taste of the country’s traditional lifestyle.
ii. House Sitting
Another way of staying with the locals is by house sitting for the locals. Many house-owners around the world are looking for house sitters.
As a house sitter, you can choose to look out for the house to exchange for free food and rent. Or, you can also take some charge for it.
If you have friends in your travel destination, ask them if you can crash on the sofa. It is a great way to get a place to sleep for free.
Hostels are a great way of saving your precious bucks on accommodation. You can share a hostel dorm with other travelers and spend no more than $5-$10 a day.
Hostels not only save you money but also help you meet new people to travel along. Try to stay in large dorms, which houses more people than private dorms. They are cheaper.
Do you have a tent? Cool. Camping is an excellent way of living cheap and experiencing the real vibe of your destination.
Camping is a perfect option when you are in rural areas. Imagine waking up with a view of the green grasses and the sun rising above the hills far ahead.
Most of the countries charge you less than $2-$10 to rent a campground. While some countries, especially in Asia, have free campsites.
• Extra tips:
- Try to book hotels in person rather than reserving them online. Most of the hotels will give you a space cheap than stated on the site. Booking it in person gives you a chance to bargain and get better deals.
- Use voucher codes to get discounts while booking your stay in hotels and lodges.
- Try to volunteer as a hostel worker or opt to clean for them to get a free visit.
Food is another compulsion without which no one can live. Countries, especially in Europe and America, tend to be costly. So, how to manage that while on a money-deprived backpacker budget?
i. Eat Local
We know you may be thinking about going to your dream destination and eating at a posh restaurant.
Yes, it would help if you experienced that sometimes. But, as a traveler on a budget, you have to experience eating locally. It may not be as posh as you may have dreamt of, but you will get the country’s authentic taste for cheap.
ii. Eat from a street vendor.
Street vendors usually provide a filling appetite, which will get you through the day. The best thing is they are cheap and healthy.
The world knows countries like Vietnam and Thailand for having the best street food.
iii. Eat big meals at a local restaurant.
Rather than going to a western restaurant, hit the local restaurants. They provide excellent authentic food. Some local restaurants may have average hospitality due to high customer inflow.
But hey! A busy restaurant means fresher food. Another great thing is they are much, much cheaper.
iv. Cook your meal
Some hostel dorm provides you with a kitchen. Then, buying your groceries and cooking your meal is an excellent way to save on your food expenses.
V. Avoid eating in tourist areas.
Eating at a popular tourist spot is a no-no. Everything would be expensive at such places. Instead, ask the locals to suggest where to eat.
vi. Complimentary Breakfast
Some hostels provide you with a free breakfast. So try to ask them if they offer it or not beforehand. It will save you a meal-worth of money.
vii. Eat light for breakfast.
If your hostel does not provide you with breakfast, then we suggest you eat light. Buying a pack of bread or croissants or a piece of fruit can get you through to your lunchtime.
4. Attractions and Activities
The main motive for traveling is to visit attractions or to do certain activities. That is what drove us there in the first place.
And yes! It drives many other people there with us. It leads to making the place and activity famous, crowded, and expensive. So how to save yourself from the high fees on attractions and activities?
i. Visit popular destinations in the off-season.
I’m sure you would love to visit all the popular destinations and get a picture in front of those sites. But, well, when your wallet does not cooperate, then you have to alter your timing.
Going to those destinations in the off-season gives you a price cut on all the ticket prices.
ii. Ask the locals
Ask the locals to suggest where to go, how to go, and when to go. They will redirect you to destinations that sometimes prove to be hidden gems. They might as well hook you up with a ride or a free tour too.
iii. Be flexible
Always be flexible towards your destination. To find cheap deals, you have to adjust yourself. It can be a sudden 7 AM ride on a crowded bus or walking a long way to get to the destination.
Try to adapt and accept that traveling is not always like a bed full of roses. Trust me; your struggles will be a great story to tell over dinner gatherings.
iv. Walking Tour
The best way to save money on sightseeing is by joining a walking tour. Walking tours are relatively inexpensive, and some are even free.
Just ask the local tourism office or your hostel staff if there is any at our destination.
v. Search for FREE stuff
Sometimes you will get to experience free walking tours, free concerts, etc.
Research online if the area you are in has any free offers on activities. Also, ask the locals if there are any spots to sightsee for free.
5. Get a Job
What is better than traveling for cheap? Earning while traveling or not having to pay at all!
Volunteer to help at the hostel that you’re staying. Most hostels are always searching for staff. You can volunteer as a receptionist, waiter, or cleaner. In exchange, you can get food, accommodation, or a little salary.
You can check for job openings at hostels at hosteltraveljobs.com.
ii. Work Online
In the digital era, where we get internet connection everywhere we go, working online is not a problem. You only need a laptop and electricity (to charge your battery, Of course!).
You can freelance for the country you are touring in. You may even earn more than what you used to do in your home country.
iii. Teach English
I’m sure as a traveler, most of you are very good at the English language. Most countries are always on the lookout for a good English teacher.
So if you can speak fluent English and have a TOEFL degree on a plus point, you have got the job! This job pays an outstanding sum. You can also choose whether you want to teach virtually or in a class.
6. Avoid roaming charges
Having a cell phone signal whenever you are outside your cell phone’s operating area is handy. But that means your cell phone is roaming. Roaming involves certain charges.
Avoid these charges by disabling your packet data on your phone’s settings. This way, you can avoid extra charges while still getting to use the internet.
7. Cards, Cards & Cards
Get yourself a student/teacher/youth card to get a surfeit of discounts on major attractions.
City Tourist Cards also offers discounts or free access to major tourist hubs. All you need to do is head to the local tourism office and ask if the cards are available.
8. Travel Insurance
Buying travel insurance is a must. You can choose what to cover in your policy, depending on any incident that may occur.
Try to buy annual travel insurance, which gives you significant cost savings. It covers emergency medical and dental care. It also covers emergency medical transportation, reimbursement of lost luggage, and more.
9. Travel in a Group
Traveling in a group will turn out to be very cost-friendly. This way, you can split the costs of accommodation and transportation into halves.
In the end, what we want to suggest to you is: Be thrifty. Remember that experience is what is important than showing off what you did or where you stayed.
Let your travel be a part of your life that you would reminisce about throughout your life. I’m sure these tips will help you to cut your expenses to a certain point. Just remember to be careful, flexible, and act locally.
If you have anything else you’d like us to add, please feel free to comment below.