A lot of people always ask me how can I afford to travel so much. And they seem to be thinking that I am travelling all the time which is definitely not true. I just don’t tend to share that part of my life where I am just watching Netflix at home or working.
But I probably do travel more than other people mainly because I like to travel on a budget. I know there is no right or wrong way on how to travel but if you stay in fancy hotels and go out for dinner every night your budget obviously will not last you as long as when you go for all the cheapest options instead.
So I put together a post about all the tips and tricks I follow when traveling that help me stay within my budget. I usually always follow all of these but of course I make exceptions as well!
Especially during the end of my trip I like to go out for dinner once or twice or spend a little more on things I usually wouldn’t spent money on. Aside from that, if you would like to know how I travel cheaply throughout the rest of my trip, check out these 28 best budget travel tips.
1. Take over night busses so you will save yourself a night of paying accommodation.
2. Stay in hostel dorms not only to meet new people but also to not waste money on expensive accommodation. The more people in a dorm, the cheaper!
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3. Get a credit card that lets you take out money for free because ATM fees can add up quite quickly. For the Germans out there I use the DKB credit card and I can take out money for free in lots of different places without paying fees such as Colombia or Vietnam. (In some others I do have to pay though).
4. Eat street food! Not only to experience the local cuisine but also to save some money!
5. Walk as much as possible so you don’t waste any money on public transportation or taxis. Especially if you are not on a tight schedule. Furthermore, it will also keep you fit as you probably won’t have access to a gym while traveling.
6. Look at free activities in the destination that you are in. These activities could include free walking tours or markets or anything like that. Some places for example also offer free museum entries on certain days of the week or month so make sure to check that out in advance.
7. Document your expenses! By writing down all your expenses you can get a better idea of where your money is going and in which categories you need to be spending a little less. I always categorise my expenses in food, accommodation, tours, night outs, random (etc. laundry, medication) and transportation. You can either start a journal for that or just write it down in your phone notes.
8. Travel to cheaper destinations so you can travel for longer. In general if I travel to more expensive places it would only be as a weekend trip or as part of a stopover.
9. Have a set daily budget and try not go over it. If you want to buy a more pricey tour for one day then figure out how you can save money on others. By example doing free walking tours or by spending the day at the beach.
10. Make use of Hostel discounts. Some hostels offer specials such as book 4 days get one night for free.
11. Find travel mates for transportation so that you can share a taxi to the airport or bus stop. Some hostels have notification boards where you can leave your phone number and what time you want to leave to the airport so that you can connect and travel together. Even though I say always to use public transportation, sometimes that is not possible or safe enough.
12. Consider alternative airports and not only the airport that is closest to you.
13. Be flexible in your travel route if you can afford it time-wise. You might get cheaper flights to bus stops to another destination than the one that you originally wanted to visit.
14. Travel in off-season. During high season hostels and activities can get pretty crowded so they can drive up the prices. It might also be that all the cheaper hostels are full so you need to stay in more expensive places.
15. Travel with carry-on only to avoid extra luggage fees. This only applies for shorter trips though and not really for long term travel. I know some people can travel long-term with only carry-on but I could not. Especially if I would want to carry a normal sized shampoo etc.
16. Book round trip tickets instead of one-way tickets as they are usually way cheaper. Even if you have to book an extra flight back to your original destination.
17. Cook with others if you are in a more expensive location where street food is not a thing. Get together with others so that you can split the costs for groceries.
18. Do wwoofing. couchsurfing, housesitting. These are all networks that allow you to stay at a place for free or in exchange for work. I have done a lot of wwoofing when I was in Australia where I would work on a bunch of farms in exchange for food and accommodation .
19. Be flexible in travel dates. Just by going home a couple of days later or earlier you can safe so much money on flights at times. This is one of the most important and best budget travel trips.
20. Have a refillable water bottle with you. Not only is it the better option for the environment but it also saves you money for buying new bottles. Check in advance if the tab water is drinkable which it is in a lot of places where you would not even expect it.
21. Add stopovers for a night or two. They might actually be cheaper than just stopping over for a couple of hours. You also get to see a new destination on the way.
22. Check out tour prices in lots of different tour offices as prices can drastically differ.
23. Use taximeter when traveling by taxi. There are a bunch of scams involved that include taxis so always ask the price in advance as well if there is no taximeter.
24. Ask locals for advice. That is especially important if you are traveling in a country that might not be completely safe as they can tell you where to go and where not to go. But also they will know where you can find the most authentic markets or cheapest street food.
25. Check if the city you are in offers day passes for public transportation and get that instead of single use tickets if you need to take public transport a lot on that day.
26. Save money by booking cheap flights by following these tips and tricks on finding the cheapest flights. Also don’t book at airlines directly but first compare flight prices with Skyscanner to get the best deals.
27. Inform yourself in advance about tourist traps. I’m sure all of us have been guilty of falling into one or two tourist traps before. By googling the popular tourist traps for a destination beforehand you might be able to avoid that and save yourself a bit of money.
28. Get out a lot of money from the ATM at once. Especially if you are staying in a country for longer just get out more money at the beginning. ATM fees are usually the same so it doesn’t matter if you get out $50 to $500.
And these were my budget tips and tricks on how to travel on a budget.
How many of these do you follow? Also what other budget tips are you following?
Talk to you soon x
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Great post with lots of valuable information. I have stayed in many hostels and some are quite nice. TOC in Barcelona even has a bar and swimming pool.
Thank you so much! That sounds like a great hostel! I have also stayed in a few of hostels with bars and pools, one even had a jacuzzi and a pool. There are definitely some incredible hostels out there! 🙂
Great tips!!! I completely agree with eating street food. We’ve had better food on the streets than in restaurants at a fraction of the price!!
Thank you! Yes same, street food is the best! 🙂
I love this!! The main things that I do on this list are walking everywhere; it doesn’t feel like exercise as much when its on vacation and staying in hostels. I always try and stay in hostels with free breakfast too to save on food costs! Talking to locals is also a great tip to guide you away from tourist traps!!
Thank you so much! Yes true, walking doesn’t feel like exercise at all when travelling. Especially since you get to see so many new places while doing so 🙂
These are all great! My husband and I travelled for 4 months and all of these helped a ton!
Thank you! That sounds amazing, hope you had an incredible time! 🙂
I always travel on a budget and these are all excellent tips! I love my Charles Schwab debit card which refunds my ATM fees, and staying in hostels is a fun way to keep costs down. I also love picking my destination based on the best deal!
That sounds like a great choice for a debit card! It’s always great picking your destination based on the best deal since you can end up in country that you weren’t really considering to visit before and it might positively surprise you 🙂
This is a great list! I try to do most of these but I haven’t tried finding a longer stopover to save money so I’ll have to try that next time 🙂
Haha I don’t think it works all the time but definitely worth the try! And since you are there anyway you might as well add a day or two to your stopover 😀