How great is that feeling of anticipation between booking a trip and the morning of flying out? That lurching feeling of leaving the runway as the plane is supported by the wind, taking you to that dream destination.
But what about the money? So often, our budget for travel is the biggest thing in the way of our dreams. But it doesn't have to be and this guide is here to show you how to travel the world on a budget!
Here’s 50 ways to save money while travelling! Allowing you to travel happier, longer and lighter! I’m so excited to get you super prepared for your next getaway! Let’s get to it....
General Budget Travel Tips
1 - Take Cash
If you’re only travelling for less than 2 weeks, try and take as much cash as you can. This way you’ll only be paying an exchange rate. You won’t be paying ATM fees, Cash advance fees on a credit card and whatever else your bank decides to charge you.
2 - Take Out Large Amounts Of Cash
When getting money out of the bank, try and take out at least a weeks worth (or more). That way you’ll only get one lot of fees charged. If you take money out everyday, the fees will add up very quickly!
3 - Keep Your Cash Safe
Always split your travel funds and cards into 2 or 3 areas. For example, if you lose a backpack, you still have cash and a credit card in your suitcase. Use hotel safes.
4 - Talk To The Locals
They will always know an easier, cheaper, more authentic version of whatever you’ve read online. Make friends! Don’t be afraid to chat to people! Travel doesn't always have to be pre-planned to be cheap. Inexpensive travel can be created along the way.
5 - Take Your Student / Member Cards
Many attractions have student discounts, which you can get via showing your student card. Also big brand franchises have discount and loyalty cards that can sometimes be used internationally. You never know when that Starbucks Coffee card could be the hero to your jet lagged morning! Many hotel chains have loyalty programs too. These loyalty programs may give you discounts on rooms, breakfast and free room upgrades. If there’s a hotel you fancy, just ask if they have one!
6 - Avoid Shopping
This is by far the easiest way to save money while travelling. A lot of tourist sites and recommendations include the ‘best shopping in town’. This rarely reflects the culture, history or people of the destination, it’s simply a way for you to spend money. Shopping is not experiencing. Don’t waste your money buying a Chinese made shirt, with an Aussie slogan on it, in the streets of Thailand.
7 - Don’t Buy Souvenirs
There’s so many ways to bring back a slice of your adventure! Napkins, coasters, maps, tickets, cards, and photos! You don’t need to pay for any of these and they’ll each tell a story!
Read 15 Unique FREE Souvenir Ideas
8 - Only Take Carry-On Luggage
This is tough sometimes, but I’m slowly learning this incredible talent. This has soo many benefits! Mainly you’re saving the cost of check-in luggage fees with many airlines. Also, possibly saving the cost of getting an extra taxi ride somewhere because you can’t carry everything. Save your hard-earned cash and enjoy your budget holiday destination a little lighter!
11 - Visit The Less Touristy Attractions
Explore the road less travelled. It will be cheaper, easier and less crowded. Save on travel by cutting out the 'must-do's'. I rarely find a tourist attraction that is worth the money I pay to see/attend it. We stayed right on the very edge of Paris on our European Adventure and there were cuter streets, yummier and cheaper bakeries and the most beautiful park for an afternoon picnic!
12 - Create A Daily Budget Beforehand
Creating a trip budget planner allows you to have an idea of how much you can spend, on what, each day. Plan out how many days you’ll be spending money on food, transport, activities etc. and set a daily limit.
13 - Keep A Daily Diary Of What You Are Spending
See where your spending is on track, where you’re blowing your budget and where you could possibly splurge a bit more. This aligns with your initial trip budget planner, ensuring you don’t reach day 10/20 and have $50 to your name.
14 - Travel During Off Or Shoulder Season
Every country has their high and low seasons, for various reasons. Travelling during 'off' or 'shoulder' seasons means cheap flights, cheap hotels and overall an affordable travel destination. It’s incredible how much money you can save and how much more an authentic experience you can have when travelling in ‘off season’.
15 - Make Friends!
So much can come from a simple conversation. Even if you’re travelling alone, get a group together at a hostel and share the cost of a tour, taxi ride or a meal! You also never know who knows who. You may score a free nights accomodation, local tour or a home-cooked meal!
16 - Donation-Based / ‘Free’ Tours
These free walking guided tours, I’ve found, are still just as great as the ‘pre-paid’ ones. Sometimes even more passionate because they’re run for the pure love of it. Because these tours are based on donations, you choose how much you’d like to give at the end of the tour. You'll find free walking tours in any major city.
17 - Make Sure To Pause All Memberships At Home Before Leaving
Save money for travel instantly by cutting unnecesary costs. A little pre-planning can go a long way for your budget trip. Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, online memberships (netflix, spotify etc.), even rent, can all be suspended and re-organised to be put on hold while you're out of the country.
18 - Barter, Haggle & Negotiate Every Price Given To You
You want a discount, simply ask. Most of the time you’ll be delightfully surprised. Go on, the worst they can say is no.
19 - Don’t Pay To Go To A Gym
Free alternatives include - hotel gyms, Fitness Apps, YouTube videos, or simply blasting your music and dancing around your room for half an hour! Save your travel funds and never pay to workout again!
20 - Protect Your Gear
Put a protective cover on your laptop, phone, camera, tablet etc. Make sure you also have a suitable carry bag for them. Get plastic/glass cover sheets for all screens as well - You can usually buy these for $1 on eBay. You save yourself a tonne in repair and replacement costs if anything gets damaged.
21 - Prevention Is Better (and Cheaper!) Than Treatment
Take Vitamin C tablets or a Berocca everyday - This helps your body with energy levels and most importantly - Immunity! This cuts down your chance of catching any nasties, like colds or Bali-Belly. Meaning you then won’t be spending money on medication to get better again. You'll have less down time after flights, or any long journeys and more time to enjoy the important stuff, like exploring!
22 - Work On The Way - Paid
Become an English Teacher, work at a bar, hostel, restaurant etc. To build up the bank balance again. Most of these jobs still leave plenty of time for exploring the destination! So it’s a massive win-win!
23 - Work On The Way - Exchange Services
Best way to save money while travelling is to cut out the majority of your travel costs. Most jobs at hostels, bars, farms etc. are run purely through exchange. They usually provide a bed and food in exchange for you putting in a few hours of work a day. Again, a massive win-win, a great way to give to a local community and a massive chunk of expenses taken care of! Check out Workaway.info and Woof.net to find the best projects for you!
24 - Don’t Buy Sim Cards
There’s wifi everywhere now! I rode a tuk tuk in Cambodia once, that had its own wifi portal. Unless you’re needing a phone connection to stay in contact with friends/family within that travel destination - It’s not worth it. Use free Social Media apps such as Facebook and What’s App to stay in contact with your friends and family at home!
25 - Download Maps.me
Maps.me is a free maps App. Its stand out feature is that it uses GPS tracking, not a phone or internet connection. Meaning you can wander and get as lost as you like, and you’ll always be able to find your way back fast and for free!
26 - Get Travel Insurance
Do not ever travel without it! No matter how short or local! It’s simply not worth it! This way you can claim any accident, injury or lose of property. Any reason you may be held back and need to cancel travel plans, you can cover your emergency hotel and transport.
27 - Grab A 12-Month Travel Insurance Policy
This is the cheapest way to buy travel insurance! You're covered for 365 days, for any destination. Obviously details vary from company to company but it’s cheaper and easier than buying a new policy for each trip.
28 - Stock Up On The Complimentary Toiletries
Technically you’ve already paid for them but this is an awesome way to save time, money and space in your luggage! But do only take these if you intend to use them. These small toiletries are a huge contributor to single-use plastic all over the world. Be responsible in your disposal of them and re-use the bottles if you can.
Save Money On Food While Travelling
29 - Fill Up At Breakfast
I mean REALLY fill up! This way you make the most of what is usually a buffet meal and you won’t get hungry during the day - Spending less.
30 - Don’t Drink Alcohol
Or at least limit it to 1 drink per day. Saving $10-$50 a day (on something that’s damaging your body anyway) adds up pretty quickly!
31 - Share Your Meals
How many times have you ordered a meal and completely finished every last lettuce leaf and chip on the plate? I don’t think I ever have! Split your meals with a friend! Curtis and I split every single meal we had in Paris and it paid off big time! We were just as full and spent half as much.
32 & 33 - Grab Snacks From Places Such As Local Markets Or Convenience Stores / Supermarkets
- Buy in bulk for cheaper. So instead of one packet of biscuits, buy a 12 pack of snack packs for the week.
- Shop where the locals shop for the cheapest food. For example, tiny convenience stores and markets in Thailand are incredibly cheap! But in Sydney, Australia, a tiny convenience store on a corner is usually 3x the price of a large supermarket such as Woolworths. Follow the locals!
34 - Take A Refillable Drink Bottle
You won’t be paying for water every time it runs out. Also you can take empty bottles through customs at airports and there is ALWAYS bubblers or at least a public restroom where you can fill these up. You'll also be saving the planet hundreds of single-use plastic bottles a year!
35 - Shop Through Ebates
Ebates is a cash back service. If you shop through their site, using any site you normally would, purchasing necessary travel essentials, you’ll be paid to do so. This can also include shopping through them and booking your accomodation, flights, tours and transport!
Save Money On Transport Costs While Travelling
36 - Walk & Cycle Everywhere
Though public transport is usually pretty cheap, your legs are completely free! Try and walk as much as you can around your destination!
37 - Use Public Transport
Instead of taxis, try and use the cheaper option of trains, buses and trams.
38 - Book Cheaper, Less Inclusive Airlines For Short Haul Flights (1-5 Hours)
No, you won’t have all the fancy accessories but do you really need them? In that short time, you do not need a full meal and inflight entertainment. Instead try and take this short period of time to nap, read a book, write in your diary or research your next destination. It’s a great uninterrupted chuck of time, knuckle down and catch up on something! If you do want food, pack snacks from your hotel breakfast buffet or grab something from a convenience store before leaving (as long as you don’t bring this food into the destination country, most customs will be fine).
39 - Books Airlines That Are All-Inclusive For Long Haul Flights (5+ Hours)
Meaning you will have entertainment, food, blankets, and drinks provided. Flights where you have to pay for these things on board can end up being more expensive. Plus it’s less hassle. Also you’ll have a steady flow of water - Dehydration on flights is a massive problem that can lead to longer jet lag and nobody wants to start their adventure sick.
40 - Fly At Less-Preferred Times
You’re on an adventure! Why is a 3am wake up call for the next flight such a big deal? It’s not! Flying at less convenient times means a cheaper flight!
41 - There’s Always Snacks Leftover From These Long Haul Meals - Keep them!
Snag any biscuits, cake, fruit, juice, yoghurt that you didn't finish on the flight! Hey presto! There’s morning tea! Many of these items aren't re-served or recycled, therefore just ending up as waste. Using the full spectrum of resources provided to you drastically reduces waste.
42 - Use Skyscanner & Google Flights To Find The Cheapest Airfares
These are your best resources for comparing and booking flights. Skyscanner has incredible features that allow you to choose the cheapest route, airline, time and destination. Visit their website or download their awesome app today! I will never leave on an adventure without this app on my phone.
Save Money On Accommodation While Travelling
43 - Try & Stay In One Place For Longer Than A Week
Staying longer in one accommodation can end up being cheaper. Instead of $100 / night for a room in Bali, rent out an apartment for $1000 / month! Also, because you have more time in a destination, you’re not so stressed, leading to better health. Slow travel is much better for the environment and local community, as it is less destructive. Take your time and enjoy the adventure!
44 - Stay With Family & Friends
Do you know people living in your destination? See if they can accommodate you on your low budget travel journey.
45 - Book Accomodation With Breakfast Included
It’s usually cheaper than if you went out for breakfast. Also it’s (usually) buffet style - Fill up and stock your backpack with plenty of snacks to get you through the day.
46 - Check If Your Accommodation Has A Fridge & Microwave
This way you can, at the very least, keep your leftovers from a restaurant for the next meal. Also you can buy smaller, cheaper meals (such as sandwiches or microwave dinners) from the supermarket and prepare your own meals.
47 - Instead Of Traditional Hotels, Stay In Apartments Or Homes
This way you can bulk buy things and you’ll have the storage for them. Toiletries and food is usually the winner here. You can cook and freeze all your own meals instead of eating out for every meal - A MASSIVE saving! Having your own laundry will cut out the cost of using an outside service as well.
AirBnb is a fantastic service enabling this form of slow travel.
48 - Book Outside Of The Tourist Hotspots
But not too far that you’ll then need to pay for transport everywhere. If you’re fit and able, walking an extra few hundred metres each day can save you save you heaps of money with a cheap hotel. The surrounding convenient stores and Restaurants will be cheaper and there’s usually less chance of noisy tourists partying till dawn.
49 - Book Accomodation, Not A View
Ocean view rooms are always more expensive and very rarely worth it. Don't glorify your hotel room too much. Save $100 a night and stay in a cheaper room and walk 5 minutes down the path to get the same view for free!
50 - Book A Bed, Not A Room
Hostels are fantastic for travel on a budget! You only need a bed! And hostels these days are funkier than ever! Cheapest way to book accomodation!
So where are you planning on jetting off to next? With these money saving travel tips, reckon you can stretch it a week or 2 longer now? How ‘bout adding an extra destination to the itinerary?
Let me know your plans in the comments and any further questions you might have! I’d love to hear them!