Everyone wants to travel the world. Easily, as a blogger and a frequent traveler, the most often asked question I get is “how do you afford to travel so much?” And while I am still a struggling young professional, I am here to tell you that you can travel, even if you are only making $10 an hour. Sure, you’re not going to be staying in 5-star resorts and getting room service every morning, but that’s not what we call traveling. That’s what we call a vacation. I’m going to help point out to you a few things you can do to help save money while traveling.
So, how can you save money while traveling?
Stay in Hostels or Air BnBs
I get it. Your parents are terrified for your life when you tell them that you are staying in a hostel. But the hostels of today aren’t the same as when our parents were backpacking Europe. Hostels these days are poppin’ places that are aesthetically charming. They have loads of services for you and are a great place to meet people. Not only that, but they are going to help you save money while traveling! How?!? They are about 10X cheaper than hotels from my experience (and that of all other travelers). A dorm in Europe can cost you somewhere from $15-40 a night. Even a private room in a hostel (if you’re not about that dorm life read: me) is cheaper than most hotels.
I get it, the word “hostel” sometimes scares people into not booking a certain style of accommodation. But Hostelworld (and the invention of the internet) has really changed the way these guys get perceived and operate. Bonus – you get to meet people from all over the world.
Another option for accommodation to save money while traveling is using Airbnb or another similar service (Homeaway, VRBO). Airbnb is great if you are traveling in a group, you can often get entire apartments with several bedrooms for massively cheaper than you would spend on a hotel suite of the same caliber. You can save 40$ on Air BnB by clicking this link here!
Find Deals on Flights
I have an ENTIRE article (and YouTube video!) dedicated to this topic. You can find more here, but I’ll give you my favorite tool now. Google Flights. I was introduced to this amazing tool while I was in college and I have been using it ever since. No third parties, no BS. Just all the flights from all the carriers listed right there for you! And it tells you the cheapest days to fly too! Now if that doesn’t help you save money while traveling, I don’t know what will.
Do your research
Honestly, a little simple research would help so many people save money and actually help keep the prices of travel down everywhere. Do a few minutes of research on the internet for whatever your travel cost questions should be. For example, know how much your taxis should cost from point A to point B – if your driver tries to scam you, say NO.
This keeps the prices down for all tourists and doesn’t allow us to be taken advantage of. Sure, in some places, like Morocco, there is a “westerner” price and a local price- but they shouldn’t be so drastically different it’s gonna take a big chunk o’ change away from you. Same goes in marketplaces and for excursions. Know what the price should be. If it seems outrageous, it probably is. Say no. Alternatively, if it seems too good to be true, that is also probably a good bet to take that it is. Always go with your gut.
Don’t eat in the tourist section
Often times the “tourist” section of town will have the worst restaurants at the highest prices. Don’t just wander into the first place you see after visiting a big attraction. I would be willing to bet my metaphorical gold tooth it’s going to be overpriced and not so good. I PROMISE you this- if you were to walk out of the Duomo in Florence and choose to eat at the first place you saw – you would be heavily disappointed with a not so heavy purse.
Do some Google searches before you head out for the day about places that are good to eat at. Google reviews work just as well in foreign countries as they do at home. Pick a few places that you think are good, and look at the menu, see what the prices are. Save them on your map and if you are near one during your stay in the city, eat there.
You can also take local advice, but make sure it’s coming from someone you trust. Concierge and tour guides often get kickbacks from restaurants when they send people their way, so make sure it is a reputable place & do a Google search before you commit to eating there. If it’s just your bartender at the local bar who says his friend Billy makes a mean meat pie at the bothy down the road, you can probably trust him.
Don’t Eat Out
I get it, you’re in France and you want to try every flavor of cheese under the sun. You should TOTALLY GO FOR IT! But, I’m gonna tell you something wild here, and I just want you to trust me on it, okay?
Don’t eat out for every meal. And when you do want to eat out, be smart about when and where that is! Not every meal has to be a sit-down meal. For example, breakfast can be done at home! Or in your hostel (or sometimes it’s included in your hotel/hostel/Airbnb!). Or you can get a small sandwich from the convenience store. Many of the Conads in Italy had premade sandwiches and pasta ready for you to come to snag for lunch.
Go to the local supermarket and purchase things that can be eaten as snacks & breakfast. If you are on the road, you want non-perishables, but if you are staying in one location for a long time you can really do this. Bread, jelly, peanut butter (depends on what country you’re in but also Nutella), eggs, pretzels, pasta, etc are all great items to throw in a reusable grocery bag and tote around a country with you. This simple task can really help you save money while traveling the world on a budget.
Set a Budget
Setting a Daily/ Weekly/Monthly budget can really help you save money while traveling. Things can quickly add up without you realizing, so taking a second and saying “ok, I don’t want to spend any more than x amount of dollars a day during this trip” can really help you out. The goal is to be UNDER budget every day so when it comes time to make a big purchase, like an excursion or to go shopping, you have leftover spare cash to spend!
It also helps to make separate budgets apart from daily/weekly/ monthly. I like to make seperate budgets for everything. A few categories are travel costs (like literally point a to b travel, trains, planes, busses etc.), hotels, excursions, and food. I know how much I expect all these to cost when I go somewhere. This way I don’t end up spending way more money than was ever necessary or that spending money that I don’t have. Credit card debt is BAD friends!
One of my favorite tools I like to use is Budget Your Trip. It has helped me save money while traveling the world on a budget. It literally breaks down all of these things I mentioned above down for you. You can get a really good idea of how much travel in the country you are visiting is going to cost. You can also select what type of travel you are planning on doing, budget, midrange, or luxury! This is a great tool and something every traveler should have in their arsenal when planning for a trip!
Set an Itinerary to save money while traveling
Have you watched my video on how to plan a trip? You should do some work and roughly plan out your days. Write down all the things you want to do and what the cost is. You will be able to save money while traveling because you will know exactly where and how you plan to spend your money, not going over budget. You can also download a blank trip itinerary doc here if you wanna skip the video 🙂
Travel to Cheaper Destinations
My final tip to you if you want to see most of the world for the longest time possible on the smallest dollar amount is this: travel to cheaper destinations. I LOVE Europe, but, it is very expensive to travel in. Travel in other parts of the world can be much more economical and equally as rewarding. For example, head to South America or Southeast Asia, you will get a lot more for your dollar. From conversion rates to different ways of life, there are some places that are more inexpensive to visit than others.
If you travel to the UK not only are you going to get hit with a country that has high prices, but you will also be affected by the unsavory exchange rate. Find cheap destinations. Travel there. Even within Europe some countries are cheaper than others. Switzerland is more expensive than Italy. Austria is more expensive than the Czech Republic. Germany is more expensive than Poland. Go back to that handy website Budget Your Trip, and find out where is going to be the best place for your budget.
Did you like this post? I really hope it helped you out! Feel free to leave a comment below with YOUR best budget travel tips & don’t forget to Pin This Post and save it for later!