Traveling can be expensive and can cost you more than what you expected. So, how to travel on a budget and yet still enjoy your travels?
In fact, you can travel to your favorite destination at a cost that you can afford. With careful planning, learning tips and advice from seasoned travelers, you definitely can.
I’ve learned these tips from my experience and also from fellow travelers. So feel free to use them in your future travels.
Here we go..
Before you travel.. It all starts with a very well-thought of plan.
Yes, planning is the key to save money on the road. If you researched well about the destination that you will go, then chances are you can avoid unnecessary expenses.
1. TRAVEL TO LOW-COST OR VISA FREE COUNTRIES FIRST
Sort out the countries that cost less first to more expensive destinations. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand are my top recommendations for you.
This will save you from visa fees and you’ll probably spend less on food and accommodation since these countries have a lower cost of living.
If you want to know what countries you can visit without a visa, click here and select your passport.
2. TRAVEL DURING LOW SEASON
Try to avoid holidays or peak seasons as most of the prices are typically higher around that time.
Example, Tet holiday or Vietnamese New Year around February (the same day with Chinese New Year) is the time for Vietnamese to spend time together with their family. Everyone will be moving around so airlines, buses, trains are going to be very busy, crowded and expensive.
3. TRAVEL WITH SOMEONE
If you travel with a friend or someone, you can definitely save since you will be splitting the cost like sharing a room.
I’m a foodie, and I love trying local food but sometimes you can’t finish it by yourself. Having someone to dine with is not only fun but a budget saver.
Who wants to take a selfie when someone can take a picture for you? Of course, you can ask fellow tourist around, but isn’t it fun to just be yourself because your friend doesn’t mind you doing a jump shot?
Though traveling alone gives you more time and space to do what you want and be independent, it doesn’t really compare to traveling with friends.
4. GET CHEAP FLIGHT TICKETS
Nowadays we have so many options to search for low-cost airfares both online and offline. I prefer to search online. Skyscanner or Traveloka is my go to search engines.
With Skyscanner, you have an option to check the prices in a chart if you don’t have a fixed date. You can also set a reminder when the prices go down with Traveloka.
Book your flights not more than 3 months before your departure date. And if you can, do it on Tuesday or Wednesday.
5. TRAVEL WITH THE BEST TRANSPORTATION IN MIND
What I mean with the best is to choose where you can save time and money. Not all cheap options will actually help you save money.
And if you don’t have the luxury of time, then research carefully for what possible transportation you can take in every route. I normally check what options do I have when connecting from one place to another.
I like to use Rome2Rio as my transport search engine. It’s the best! Try it.
Using Grab or Uber can save you more than going by Taxi especially if you’re not familiar with the place. There are some taxi drivers who will take advantage of you not being a local and charge you on top of the metered price.
Countries like Hong Kong and Singapore have the best public transportation in the world so you shouldn’t worry about going around by taxi.
6. TRAVEL SLOWLY
If you’re planning to travel to many countries for a long time, try to take it slow, don’t rush. You might find yourself saving money from those too many flights or train or bus connections.
Also, you get to relax and enjoy more of the place. Try to use AirBnB if you want to find rental apartments or house. You might get a discounted price if you will stay longer.
Slow traveling gives you a better chance to discover more about the country or the place you’re going. You will be able to share a meal with the locals, know why and how they live differently from where you’ve been and get truly immersive experiences.
7. CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION WISELY
Booking a hotel is the most popular option for most. If you’re traveling solo, a hotel can be costly than staying in a hostel. But there are some hotels that also offer single rooms at a cheaper price. Depending on your preference, you can check out Agoda or Booking.com they have tons of options for you.
When I’m staying in a destination for a short time, I like to book my accommodation at least in the center or near the areas where I want to visit especially the popular ones. It can be quite expensive but it will help you save with transportation costs since your just near everything.
If you’re staying for a longer time, you might consider the neighborhoods. Not only they have a cheaper price tag but also it brings you closer to the reality of what it’s like to live like a local away from the touristy areas.
8. CONSIDER WORKING WHILE YOU TRAVEL
If you’re like me, I like to work in my free time while on travel. Aside from teaching in schools and language centers, I also do a lot of online jobs.
You can also try websites ike AnyworkAnywhere to find job and volunteering projects that might be available in your destination.
You can be an online teacher, social media manager, virtual assistant and a lot more. Traveling remotely means different offices, it can be a poolside, beachfront, or just anywhere.
Just make sure you have an internet connection.
9. BE A TRAVEL BLOGGER OR WRITER
Your blog can be your ticket to get to your destinations, hotels or restaurants for free. With so many companies reaching out to bloggers and online influencers now, your best chance is high.
But do know that it takes time and effort to reach that level. Nevertheless, just like any jobs, you need to work for it. just give it a try.
10. AVOID EXCHANGING CASH AT THE AIRPORT
This may not always be the case but I find that you actually get the best rate outside like in the city center or market.
I exchanged my money at HongKong airport only to find out that it was better in Kowloon where we stayed.
But if you really need some local cash, then just exchange some that you will need for a day or two. Check the currency exchange here.
11. USE OFFLINE MAPS AND FREE APPS
Before leaving, make sure to download offline maps. This will save you money instead of going inside Starbucks or any coffee shops just to use wifi because you can’t use your online map.
Use digital maps that uses GPS so you still can use it even without wifi.
12. START A HABIT OF FRUGAL LIVING
While you try to keep your budget tight traveling, you might be shocked with the change of lifestyle.
Stick to your budget and savings plan as much as you can. It can be tempting at times to see a lot of things along the way. Just keep in mind that you’re doing this because this is what you want.
So aim to make it your second nature while you’re still not traveling. In this way, once you get there you don’t have to try hard, at least.
13. DO AS THE LOCALS DO
Try out some local street food or dine in local restaurants. Getting some insider tips will help you choose the best places to go and food to eat.
Do read a lot of reviews and advice from other travelers around the world who like to shy away from the touristy kind of trips. In this way, you can have an authentic local experience. And most of the time they’re also cheap.
I use Trip Advisor to get ideas for local diversions and incorporate them to my itineraries. These include shopping areas, bars, and cafes and more.
14. ASK LOCALS FOR ADVICE
Of course the locals know what’s the best in their place.
While I was on my way from Kuala Lumpur airport to the city center I got a chance to talk to a local guy and he gave me tons of information about Kuala Lumpur from restaurants that are cheap but delicious to areas where I can experience authentic Malaysian cuisine.
Getting scammed is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you on your travel journey. But be careful who you ask for advice.
Getting a “xe om” or motorbike taxi in Saigon can be more expensive than booking a ride-hailing service like Grab Bike. Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia.
15. GET A TRAVEL INSURANCE
This might seem an unnecessary expense but you don’t know what might happen on your trip. This will help you save from possible costly troubles like hospitalization or unwanted injuries.
If you’re looking for the best value travel insurance, World Nomads is what I recommend. What I like about them is the flexibility to extend your insurance while you’re on the road which unlike any other travel insurance companies.
16. GET IN TOUCH WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Having friends or family relatives living in the same place your visiting can be a great option for you.
They know what you like since they know you better than a tour company. So make sure to listen to their tips and advice.
Ask them if they can help you find a nice and cheap place to stay. And if you’re lucky you might find getting yourself a free accommodation or free tour guide.
17. CHECK FOR FREE ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN DO FIRST
When I plan what to do in a place, I would put the activities that I don’t need to spend a single penny on top of my list first. Then I will do the other stuff later if I still have time to do them. If it’s not free, I try to choose similar activities at a cheaper cost.
You can learn more here to know what activities you can do and how much it will probably cost you so you have an idea on hand.
18. SIGN-UP FOR TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS AND AIRLINE MEMBERSHIP CARDS
Start earning airline miles or points as early as now using your credit card. You can then exchange these points for services like a free flight.
You can also use it to get discounts at some selected restaurants and hotels they are partnered with.
19. ALWAYS STAY UPDATED
Follow your favorite travel bloggers and vloggers so you get to know if there are any promotions or money-saving tips that you can apply on your future travels. They have the experience and learning from them won’t cost you anyway.
20. WALK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Just like what this blog site ‘The Walking Street’ suggests, walking can actually save you a pretty hefty sum. Walking gives you the flexibility to enjoy random stuff along the way.
It will lead you to scenic places that you wouldn’t normally find in travel guides. Plus you get to see the real daily lives of the people in your destination.
There’s so much more in walking than just saving money.
So, that’s it! You see, there are so many ways that you can do to keep your travel on a budget. Traveling shouldn’t be expensive after all.
These are the 20 tips that I always consider when traveling everywhere I go. Of course, there are several other tips out there than you can also apply in your future travels.
So far it works for me and I hope they’ll work for you too.
Tell me what’s your favorite tip? Is there anything you’d love to add? Let me know down below 🙂
Love this article. Share it with friends! As always, happy travels!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I personally use.