The following budget travel tips will help you learn how to travel for cheap.
I’ve been travelling the world on a budget since 2013. Three money-saving travel tips I’ve made a habit are:
- use discount codes to book accommodation and activities
- avoid buying drinks at restaurants
- making a mental note of how much I should be paying before getting the bill from a waiter
I don’t think about these consciously. They’ve become routine and don’t detract from my enjoyment.
You might always want a beer with dinner, that’s cool. Just know that restaurants often make a good portion of profit from drinks alone.
With over 100 tips for budget travel, you don’t need to apply all of these. But the benefits of a large list of tips for travelling the world like this is you can pick and choose which are convenient for you.
Think of it like a choose your own adventure book helping you plan how to travel the world cheap.
Personally, I’ve tried most of these to some degree, some are second nature. I’m always looking for new travel tips on a budget, so message me if you’ve got another trick!
The cheap travel tips have been broken into categories. Click on the links below to jump right to the category.
1. Learn The Tipping Etiquette In Each Country
Everyone knows about the tipping culture in the United States. Some love it, most don’t. Unfortunately, tipping culture varies from country to country. If you’re from a region where tipping is expected you might automatically fall into those habits. Some people find it disrespectful if you’re offering tips, so save some cash and learn before you land. Here’s a good start.
2. A Student Or Senior? Carry Your ID Card
Getting a fresh student ID before you depart travelling lets you take advantage of discounts around the world including the ability to save money on flights sometimes.
3. Join Relevant Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a great source of information. Search ‘(country/region)’ backpackers/travel/locals on Facebook and you’ll come across lots of groups to join. If you feel like you might be paying to much for an activity or want to know how to travel cheap from place to place, people will gladly recommend you lots of alternatives.
Since arriving in India, this FB group has been useful for learning about different ways to travel from A to B.
4. Download Offline Maps To Your Phone
It’s incredible to think online maps didn’t exist that long ago!
You might not always have access to data, so rather than having to buy a map for the specific city you’re in, download maps before you arrive with maps.me. Maps.me helps you save money on data, and you don’t need to buy a map. It’s not just one of my favourite tips for travelling on a budget, everyone should download the app.
5. Print Copies Of Important Documents At Home
Your passport is the most important document you own (Captain Obvious speaking). Throughout your adventure, you’ll find people will require copies of your passport. Finding a printer/scanner can be tough in some cities and then they’ll often charge silly amounts for a sheet of paper. Also, print your insurance docs!
6. Packing Cubes Have Proven To Be A Godsend
Packing cubes have been around for a while now. Lots of travel accessories come and go but travel cubes are lasting the distance because they work. They cost moeny. Got yours?
7. Research Travel Insurance Options
Travel insurance is recommended for most (becasuse you’re screwed if some major accident does happen overseas). How often do you see a Give A Little page set up for someone who got in a terrible accident as they didn’t have insurance?
You aren’t super-human, well I’m not.
If your credit card purchases won’t cover you for insurance purposes on the road, it pays to shop around and see what is and isn’t included in travel policies. It’s best to purchase travel insurance prior to taking off otherwise you won’t be eligible for most options.
8. Invest In A Sleep Mask and Ear Plugs
Buy a cheap sleep mask and earbuds from somewhere. They’ll help you get a better sleep and you won’t find yourself buying extra coffees/energy drinks to get you through the day. It’ll also be more bearable when you book a 24-bed dorm.
READ MORE: THE BEST EYE MASK FOR TRAVEL
9. Cancel Existing Phone Plans
Got that 24-month phone plan rolling? If possible, find out if you can put the contract on hold while you’re travelling. If not it might be more cost effective to cancel the phone plan.
10. Learn Some Of The Local Language
- thank you, and
- ideally counting 1-10
That’s all you need to learn to be ahead of most travellers. Small conversations can lead to lots of interesting conversations (with charades involved) and once a relationship has been built, locals are more likely to help you out.
Will told a great story of going that extra distance to talk with his guide in Pakistan.
11. Pack A Hand Towel, Any Bigger Is Overrated
This is a space saver. A smaller towel is cheaper, faster to dry and takes up less room in your bag. It may take a couple days to adjust, but if your towel is bigger than a tea towel. It’s too big. ‘Travel towels’ get smelly right away and big towels need to be replaced when you don’t have a chance to dry them properly for a few days. This is one of my tips for travelling cheap no one seems to follow lol.
12. Figure Out Where You Can Pick Up Cheap Visas
Borders aren’t like monopoly, we don’t collect $200 when we pass go. We’re more likely to pay $200 to go into the country. If you know you’ll need to apply for visas to enter certain countries, a little bit of research might show you’re better off applying for a visa overseas saving you hundreds of dollars.
I applied for a Chinese visa in Thailand and saved roughly $100 compared to applying from New Zealand.
13. Plan Around Major Sporting Events & Festivals
Major sporting events and festivals bring tens of thousands of people from around the world together for anything from a few days to two months. These fans are worried about how to travel with no money so demand for accommodation soars. The Super Bowl is a perfect example. Chris from Aussie on the Road had to alter his American road trip plasn when he realised the Super Bowl was in San Francisco – and accommodation costs soared.
14. Travel Around Home To Get A Feel For Your Cheap Budget Travel Comfort Levels
Travel doesn’t mean you have to head too far when you’ve barely left your home province until now. Consider travelling closer to home, even a weekend away. You’ll quickly learn what levels of comfort you like and areas where you don’t mind being tight on the purse strings.
15. Book Your First Couple Days In Advance
This is harder to do if you’re on a long trip with no plans, but it’s not a bad day to organise the first few days of travel in advance. If you’ve got dates locked in and see a great price for anything on the first few days (hotels/flights/experiences), it’s generally a good idea to book it. There ‘could’ be a better sale if you wait, but you won’t save much and it’s one less thing you’ll need to think about.
I always do this on flights, try to save $20, end up paying $50 more. Rookie.
16. Sell Your Car At Home
Have you added up all of the fixed costs you spend on a year for your car? It’s not a small amount right? Add in depreciating value and you may as well save the money and inconvenience by selling up. Though have you considered a road trip starting from home? By implementing some of these cheap road trip tips the money saved adds up long term.
17. Consider Packing Carry-On Baggage Only
It’s no secret baggage fees generate plenty of revenue for budget airlines. It takes some discipline but many friends who travel with carry on only insist it’s the cheapest way to travel the world. I would survive I think, but I have a slight hoarding tendency so haven’t made the leap to this yet.
For some great insight on using carry on baggage, check out tips from Never Ending Voyage.
The best carry on bag from what I hear is the Tortuga Range. Though there are plenty of options depending on your exact requirements.
18. Bring A Compact Tent With You, Freedom Camping Is Alive
Tents don’t have to cost an arm or a leg. I picked one up for $15 in Australia had a blast camping for free. The tent made up for its expense right away.
If you get a quality tent, or what I really want, a hammock tent, you don’t have to camp often to make this an easy travelling on a budget tactic to use. Though, not all tents will work with the carry on only tip.
19. Try Your Hand At WWOOFing
If you’re wandering how to travel for free, Wwoof-ing is a great way to experience local culture while traveling for for cheap/nothing. You can spend a few days or even months at a time on farms worldwide. For a few hours work a day you can get accommodation provided, maybe even some meals .
20. Trade Labour At Hostels For Accommodation
Hostels are small businesses and often have advertisements about accommodation in exchange for labour each day. This may involve cleaning or reception work. There’s no harm in asking even if you don’t see a sign. There is also World Packers which can help you plan hostel work in advance worldwide. I met a lad in in 2017 who had been using that site for a few years, travelling perpetually.
I volunteered for over a month at a hostel in Ipoh, great times (most of the time anyway).
21. Couchsurfing Works And Creates Memories
Couchsurfing has had some bad press, but every night thousands around the world are opening up their home for travellers to share stories, experiences and learn something about different cultures.
Make sure you establish a profile on the site first, ask some friends who are on the site to leave you some reviews and attend local meetups to build credibility. Even host people yourself!
22. Rent A Timeshare Resale
A timeshare isn’t for me, but sometimes you can find great deals on timeshare resale rentals online. These are timeshares put up for rent by other timeshare owners who can’t use their timeshare week for whatever reason. They just want to get something for their timeshare, so they offer up their timeshares on RCI Timeshare for rent.
23. Sleep At Airports When Arrival/Departure Times Are Nasty
Got an early morning flight or arriving late at night? Sleeping in an airport isn’t the most glorious thing you’ll ever do but it’s not that bad. Take a walk (check to see if there are reviews), scope out the best looking spot to sleep and save money on accommodation (and no obscene wake up calls/trying to check in really late).
I’m not sure why more people don’t sleep at airports to be honest, budget travel tip or not, it’s convenient! It’s a sneaky hack when combined with cheap flights with layovers to save even more.
24. Try A House Sit a.k.a A Pet Sit
House Sitting exploded in 2015 and you now face lots of competition getting a house sit. If you can score one, you can live in a whole house, look after some pets and dive into local life with one major expense sorted.
A quick Google will refer you to popular sites to look for house sits, Trusted House Sitters seems to be the most popular.
For tips on applying for house sits, check out this guide from Next Stop Who Knows.
25. Take The Free Soap/Shampoos
If you’re staying in a hotel, don’t feel bad about taking the free shampoos and soaps. They come in handy when you are caught short and there’s always that frustration of buying a brand new bottle of shampoo with days of travel left knowing it can’t be taken as carry on.
26. Pack The Room
If there’s lots of you travelling together, consider booking a hotel room/suite and squeeze everyone in. This works particularly well with the new-ish site for Aussie and the UK, Last Minute.
Note: You might have to be sneaky getting everyone into the room.
27. Ask To See The Room Before Paying Whenever Possible
If you’re walking around to find a hostel, ask to see the room before you pay. This way you avoid having to re-book a new room for that night when you realise you aren’t quite getting what you expected as cockroaches share your bed.
28. Do You Need Hot Water When It’s 40 Degrees Celsius Outside?
In some regions, the difference of a couple dollars in accommodation costs is directly related to whether hot water is available. If the country is sweltering in high temperatures, do you really need hot water?
29. Hostel Discounts Might Be Available For Extended Stays
When you arrive at your hostel or hotel, ask if their are any discounts available if you book 3+ nights in advance. There will often be a promo running, you might get a free night or an upgrade
30. Is It Cheaper To Book Online Or Turn Up In Person?
Accommodation and tourist attraction prices aren’t fixed. If you don’t mind just rocking up to accommodation without a booking, check what the price is online then ask for the price in person. Choose the cheapest option, duh.
31. Cycling? Warmshowers Is Couchsurfing For Cyclists
If you’re on a bike tour, Warmshowers is the equivalent of Couchsurfing for the cycling community. Would you rather finish up a long day of riding being welcomed into a home for the night by someone you can relate to or finding a rough motel on the outskirts of town with minimal facilities to aid recovery?
31.5 Flying As An On Board Courier With Airmule
It is legal to be fly as an on board courier, which you can do with Airmule. Currently Airmule requires you to be flying between the USA and China, but they are expanding fast. I earned $300 with them in July 2018.
You can read my Airmule Review here.
32. Book 3rd Class Seats And See If You Can Hack It
On trains, you’ll usually have the option of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. If you ask people, everyone will be very subjective on what class you should book. Give 3rd class ago (ideally on a shorter trip). If you don’t like it at least you now know and can allocate extra for 1st/2nd class on future train rides.
33. Browse Flights Incognito
The internet is smart. Websites know when you visited (cookies), what interactions you made and your intent. That’s why you see ads stalking you. The same apparently happens when you search for flights.
Whenever you use a airline booking site or airline search engine, either use incognito mode or clear your cookies. Otherwise they may increase the flight costs to pressure you into buying now.
34. Hitch Hiking Is A Real Adventure
Hitchhiking isn’t for everyone. Hitch hiking also isn’t as unsafe as you might think. It can be a great way to meet interesting people and helps you get around places when formal transport options are few and far between. As Kristin said in a response to her article about hitching in Argentina: “It’s not something I can advise anyone to go do but it is something I enjoy”.
I feel the same. Don’t let anyone force you into hitch hiking, but it can be extremely fun.
35. Travel Overnight To Save On Accommodation
Overnight transport has a bad reputation due to so many reports of drivers being drink and barely staying awake at the wheel. For me, I like to think positive and view it as teleportation. You climb aboard in the evening, and wake up in a new city the next morning. Sure, you might not always get a great sleep, but at least you don’t waste a day travelling and save a nights accommodation!
A great resource for overnight buses and trains worldwide is Seat 61.
36. Book Flights With Layovers For Cheaper Flights
Search engines are getting better at providing lots of custom options for flights. Direct flights might be the most convenient, but are also the most expensive more often than not. Look for flights with layovers on search engines and you might find yourself saving hundreds of dollars when they mix and match airlines.
37. Carpool With Fellow Travellers
Depending on your area, lots of people might be road tripping in cars and/or camper vans. They’ll be trying to keep costs down still so if the opportunity to all get in one car for a day trip is possible (just ask) you can split petrol costs and make new friends.
38. Public Transport Is Available Worldwide
Public transport systems prices vary in price and quality all around the world. Either way, it’s usually the cheapest way to travel around a city efficiently. Especially if they have an underground.
39. Utilize Bulk Pricing On Public Transport
Like me, do you feel your IQ drops significantly trying to read public transit timetables and then trying to pay?
Every city has a different method – it’s hard!
What is common is receiving a discount for purchasing multiple tickets. This may mean, a day pass, weekly pass, monthly pass or a 10 trip pass. There will be an option for you.
If I had a dollar for every time I should have brought a day pass rather than single fares tickets…
40. Walk. You’re On Holiday. There’s No Rush
You’ve probably sick of hearing ‘10,000 steps a day’ rule but getting there is easy enough travelling. Walking is not only healthy it doesn’t cost you a cent! It can also be the fastest way from A to B in congested cities.
41. Don’t Catch A Taxi! They’re Expensive Worldwide
You probably don’t like taking taxi’s in your home city – bad service, rude drivers and expensive. Newsflash, the feeling is the same worldwide. AVOID!
Uber of course is a pretty good solution if you must cab, though watch out for surge fares.
Click here or use the code ‘ubertikitour’ to get your first ride free (up to $20).
42. Look Into Bundling Flights And Hotels For Cheaper Flights
You’re probably familiar with these options but never had any luck getting a great deal and don’t bother looking. They’re worth a quick look as sometimes the cost of the flight and hotel can be cheaper than a flight.
The Goats on the Road recently saved $100 on flights costs by including a hotel in their booking. A great deal!
43. Opt To Wait For The Next Flight If They Overbook
These options are fairly limited but it still happens regularly in America. Airlines overbook flights so they have to bump someone to the next flight…usually it’s no more than a few hours wait until the next flight.
If you volunteer yourself, you’ll receive flight vouchers for the inconvenience. Definitely worth the wait if you aren’t in a rush.
44. Bring Your Own Snacks For The Airport/Plane
Airports might have duty free, but restaurant/cafe food is expensive at airports. Even McDonald’s prices increase! Water isn’t allowed through customs before you take off but food is which you can bring on the plane (if you haven’t eaten it all yet). Great for budget airlines that charge extra for meals.
45. Utilise Relocation Vehicles And Get Some Great Deals
Relocation services are a great way to hire a car for cheap around the world. There are usually time restrictions but the idea of being able to drive from one city to another, hundreds of kilometres away for very little cost is certainly appealing and adventurous.
46. Use Ride Share Services For Efficient City To City Transport
Cramped buses and trains aren’t for everyone. In regions around the world there are lots of ride sharing websites and groups that usually work out cheaper than other transport. Bla Bla Car is popular in Europe and has a rating service.
A couple friends recently travelled from Surfers Paradise to Nimbin (107km) for $10 with a ride share through an Aussie backpacking group on Facebook (search “(your location) backpacking” on Facebook to find relevant groups!
47. Drive To The Law And Avoid Needless Fines
Driving a car in a new country can be hectic. Different sides of the road, different driver etiquette, in addition to lots of small variations in the law. The speed limit is easy to follow, if you get yourself a speeding fine…don’t play dumb. You’re the dummy.
48. Don’t Drink Booze
Alcohol is the social lubricant of choice for millions all over the world so unless you don’t drink pre-trip, it’s far a little bit far-fetched to ask you to stop drinking altogether on your travels. Consider it though if your budget is going to be tight. If not, cut back throughout the week. Just because you had a long hot day, doesn’t mean you MUST have a beer.
Some things I just don’t expect to come out of my mouth.
49. Bar Hop From Happy Hour To Happy Hour
Happy Hour! A universal term at pubs around the world. If you’re in a popular bar area, you could find yourself drinking for half price throughout the evening with simple bar hopping.
Ladies: Keep an eye out for ‘Ladies night’ promotions!
50. Pre-Drink, Yup A Worldwide Habit
You pre-drink at home so you don’t spend as much money in clubs right? Same principal applies around the world. Have enough to get you buzzy before you arrive then nurse that $20 cocktail.
51. Invest In A Water Bottle
Avoid plastic bottles. Purchasing a decent reusable water bottle will be a wise purchase, you’ll use the bottle hundreds of times. You can use tap water in most countries, if not, buy water in 10 or 20 litre containers and fill your bottle up from there. One of the most simple tips to implement if you’re staying somewhere for 5+ days.
RELATED POST: BEST WATER BOTTLE FOR TRAVEL
52. Why Pay For Mineral Water When Tap Water Is Just Fine
The bottled water industry is still draining wallets every day (and harming the environment, but let’s not go there). Rather than purchasing fancy water at a restaurant, ask for tap water. Too easy.
53. Purchase A Water Sterilizer
In remote locations, you’ll often have no choice but to boil water. Depending on your circumstances, the cheapest and easiest way to drink water may be to in fact use a purification system like the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter.
54. Buy Fruit And Veg In Season
Tomatoes and kiwi fruit prices fluctuate massively from my experience. It’s pretty easy to know what’s in season, look for what’s on special! If you want to be prepared, a quick Google search or asking a local will help. The food has better nutrients and you won’t get nasty surprises on your receipt.
55. Cook At Your Accommodation Rather Than Eating Out
If you like cooking, this is no big deal. Depending on facilities you might have to get creative with your meal. I default to vege filled sandwiches or couscous salad.
56. Eat Out At Restaurants When It’s Cheaper
Boom contradiction! In some regions, eating out is the same price, if not cheaper, as making your own food. You’ll quickly get into the habit of rarely considering cook in Southeast Asia!
57. Don’t Eat For 24 Hours
I mentioned fasting in a recent post and believe it’s the quickest way to save money on your food budget. Fast for 24 hours once a week and boom, you’ve cut over 10% off your food budget right away. It’s one of my favourite tips of all, and I recommend this if you’re still wondering how to plan a vacation on a tight budget.
58. Pack Snacks For Your Days Adventure
Snacks are a weakness for most. We snack for a bunch of reasons, even because we’re actually hungry sometimes. During long days of sight seeing you deserve some snacks but impulsive snacks get expensive at corner stores. Put some fruit or whatever your favourite snack is you brought from the supermarket in bulk in your bag.
59. Be Vegetarian Or Vegan
Since becoming vegan over 3 years ago, my food costs have reduced. At restaurants, the vegetarian options are usually on the cheaper end of the scale. I wouldn’t expect everyone to be vegan but lots of travellers find themselves eating vegetarian on the road when their budget isn’t massive as meat and dairy (that cheese!) isn’t exactly cheap and they don’t miss it after a couple weeks.
60. Wake Up For The Free Breakfast
I’m guilty of missing this one, particularly in hostels. Many hostels provide a free breakfast before 9am. It’s not always a fancy breakfast, but it’ll fill you up. It’s a nice little start to the day and you don’t have to spend time thinking about what you’ll have for breaky that day. It also forces you to stop being lazy and get out of bed.
61. Go Dumpster Diving For Perfectly Good Treats
I haven’t done this since primary school when a couple of times we waited for supermarkets to throw perfectly good food in the skip bin (still packaged). Shops are getting better at not wasting food now, but there are travellers who have successfully done this in various cities around the world. Although it seems intense the lengths these girls go to, but hey if you want cheap ways to travel the world you gotta do what you gotta do.
62. Look For The ‘Reduced’ Sticker At Supermarkets And Bakeries
Supermarkets and bakeries have produce that expires and they can’t sell it once the use by date has passed. When the best before date approaches they’ll start discounting the food a couple of times a day. You can find food upwards of 80% off this way which is outstanding.
My experience is, head to bakeries just before closing time for the best results.
I also like this post that mentions soups as a great way of eating on a budget (and yes, it includes supermarkets and bakeries in the post).
63. Reuse Your Tea Bag! Especially At Cafes
This one pains me every time I see someone throw a tea bag out after one use! There’s no way you shouldn’t be able to get at least two tasty cups of tea out of a tea bag. Cafes are nearly always happy to refill your cup up with water once you’ve finished your first for free.
64. Bring Your Own Tea Bags To The Cafe
I haven’t had the guts to do this one myself, it seems a bit cheeky but I heard Lynn Gilmartin mention she does this when shes travelling the poker circuit. Simply order some food from the cafe and ask for a cup of hot water with your food. Grab the tea bag from your bag and voila, no need to pay for tea.
65. Buy 10 Get 1 Free, Encourage Others To Get You Stamps
If you’re going to be in a place for a while, you might know travellers all go to one cafe for their coffee. Most won’t hang around long enough to take advantage of tickets such as ‘buy 10 get one free’. Get your hands on these stamps, your new friends will happily collect the stamps for you. Enjoy the free coffee with this easy cheap travel tips.
66. Buy Cheap Produce At Farmers Markets
Getting 5+ a day is hard enough at the best of times. Farmers markets are trendy and are fun to have a look around. You’ll also get some great deals on fruit and veg to keep you healthy on the road. You tend to get the best deals in the 10 – 20 minutes before the market closes.
67. Avoid Inflated Western Food Prices
Of course, this doesn’t apply if you are travelling in ‘the west’. Particularly in Asia, it’s possible to get local cuisine for $1. If you want a meal you might get like you would at home, you’ll pay at least 5x this. Do that a few times a week and your food budget will be a lot higher than it needs to be. Street food is the cheapest of course.
Sure, have a meal when you ‘crave’ western food, but if you’re disciplined enough there will be no need. The variety of meals available in each Asian region is massive!
68. Say Yes To Help! It Gets Easier
This one gets easier over time. Humans like to fend for themselves but its amazing how many people want to help you out. If they offer to give you a lift or pay for your meal, there’s no harm in accepting. People feel good when they help others!
69. Attend Free Music Concerts, Support The Grassroots
Tickets for music concerts can cost hundreds of dollars yet there are free concerts available that are just as fun. Generally smaller in scale they’re a way to give back to the community, usually funded by local Governments. The upcoming musicians are probably implementing these budget travelling tips!
70. Avoid Door Charges At Night Clubs Where Possible
If you plan to go out clubbing, find out if door charges are the norm. If they are and you really want to go to a club, you can often avoid door charges if you go in early enough.
If you’re paying for a door charge, commit to that club for a couple hours at least.
71. Find The Cheapest ATM
Where possible, research in advance and get to know what the fees are to withdraw from different ATM’s. Some might charge nothing, others $5…it hurts me every time paying ATM fees.
72. Don’t Give To Beggars. No Exceptions
Being a nice person is awesome, I appreciate nice people. You do to no doubt. While it may seem harmless to give a little bit of money to beggars, there’s often a larger underlying issues. In Cambodia, the ‘milk ladies’ leverage their babies to get you to give the cash while others simply beg even when they don’t need to. Don’t feel bad.
73. See A Doctor Sooner Rather Than Later
No one wants to see a doctor if they can help it. Fortunately, if you have travel insurance the final cost won’t be too extreme and if you don’t it’s better to get whatever you need treated ASAP or it could develop into something nasty and expensive. Even something as harmful as bed bugs.
74. Send Emails, Not Post Cards
Post cards are all well and good, but myself and many others I talk to admit they lack meaning. You send them because people ask, and they always seem to be sent three weeks after you wrote them which was six weeks after you purchased the cards.
75. Avoid Booking With Travel Agents
Travel agents might know all the tours, excursions and everything travel related for your current city but they also charge a commission and are known to recommend tours and trips based on what pays the highest commission. Where possible, shop around and don’t be afraid to go between operators asking if they can price beat one another.
76. Any Free Workout Classes On Offer?
Staying fit on the road isn’t easy. Some cities are now offering free or ‘pay what you can’ classes which can be a great way to stay fit. Keep an eye out for public fitness equipment too, they’re popping up everywhere.
77. Search For Free Trial Periods At Gyms
If you’re planning to stay in a town for more than a few days you can be sneaky and take advantage of free gym membership trials. You can often find 1 – 2 week free trials with no commitments. Depending on what the terms and conditions are, you may need to get creative to be eligble to sign up.
78. Stick To Wifi Only
There’s definitely a need to feel connected to social media 24/7 but in reality nothing will change if you only check in once a day (I have no working phone at the moment, I’ve survived so far). Sure you could buy a local sim card, but save the money and utilise free wifi when/if it’s available.
79. Free Museum Days
Museums are full of interesting artifacts around the world. Some will cost you a pretty penny to get in too. It’s always worth asking if the museum has a free day (often Monday).
There’s International Museum Day every year too.
80. Check If Museum Passes Are Available
Looking forward to checking out lots of Museums? Check out if there’s a Museum pass you can buy online which gives you access to all Museums. You pay more upfront, but with enough visits you’ll save money overall.
81. Utilise Free Walking Tours
Free walking tours can be found in major cities all over Europe and in other parts of the world. While you don’t have to tip…you really should.
82. Find Official Ticket Resellers Online
Going to sporting events is a great way to dive into a culture and many sporting events are a bucket list item. Rather than going and paying full price for a ticket, there are official ticket resellers available where you can pick up tickets for cheap.
StubHub is a good place to start, I remember paying $40 for my seat and overheard the guys behind me say they paid $150 to watch the Canucks!
83. Help People With Deliveries
There’s some things from home we just can’t live without. The same from abroad, we get home and just want the treats from overseas. The Grabr app is here to save you, and you can get some cash for helping people around the world and earn pocket money.
84. People Will Look After You On Your Birthday
Birthdays are celebrated the same around the world and lots of places will happily look after you on your birthday. Ring them up, ask if they can offer a drink or three and get merry for cheap around the world every year.
85. Look Into Places Where Disaster Has Struck
Unfortunately the world suffers natural and man made (terrorism) disasters throughout the year. While there are a couple of times where you shouldn’t go to a location after a disaster, some places need the tourism badly such as Egypt. Keep an eye on flight and accommodation specials to these locations post-disaster, you can travel cheaply to some interesting places.
86. Track Your Expenses So You Can’t Play Dumb
The plastic credit card made life a lot easier but it also makes it so easy to spend money without thinking. Using Trail Wallet to track your expense daily expenses will keep you inline as it converts the currencies in your home currency, so you can’t use that excuse. It costs a few dollars to purchase the app but you’ll save that in no time.
87. Use Fly Ownward If You Need A Onward Flight
Purchasing a one way ticket is exhilarating and thee freedom is unreal. Unfortunately, immigration doesn’t appreciate your need for freedom all the time and sometimes require you to have an onward flight before boarding. Luckily Fly Onward can organise an onward ticket for you (valid for 48 hours) for just $10. Most airlines won’t check the booking is valid, so the piece of paper should work beyond the 48 hours.
88. Buy Stuff When You’re In Cheap Countries
Depending on how long you’re travelling for you’ll cross through some countries where goods are cheap as chips and others where a key ring costs more than an average daily food budget in Thailand. If you need to replace/repair anything on you or in your bag utilise arbitrage and do this in cheap countries.
89. Check The Change Your Given Is Correct
Currencies vary significantly, in the size of the denominations, notes versus coins, colour and feel. Always check to make sure you’ve got the right change as you might find yourself well short otherwise. I feel victim to this in Mongolia at a cash exchange, I was shorted 20$ as there was so many notes handed back to me.
Many in Thailand believe they were given 100 baht notes in Thailand rather than 1000 baht notes, only realising when it was too late.
90. Get Into A Daily Meditation Routine
This is more of a habitual one which I mentioned in a previous post. Give meditation a go as one of the main benefits of meditation is about getting to know the inner self better. When you understand this, you’ll be less inclined to make impulse purchases. Calm is the go to app for me.
91. Adopt A No Souvenirs Policy
Updating your status on Facebook about your travels can lead to a significant number of souvenir requests. By simply implementing a strict no souvenirs policy, you’ll save yourself spending money on over priced last minute souvenirs in airports. If you get any complaints, just let them know you’re happy to help them travel cheap around the world so they can buy their own souvenirs!
92. Know The Price Before You Commit
If something doesn’t have a price marked, the general rule of thumb is it’s expensive (see no.6 here from Kissmetrics).
This happens in restaurants in areas around the world, you order roughly what you would normally and know the ball park figure on what you pay. Once it comes time to pay up however, they can almost charge whatever they want!
93. Learn To Haggle Like A Boss
Haggling has been around for centuries. Some people have made millions simply by being great at negotiating agreements that suit them well. Check out this interview from Alex Kouts on The Art of Charm Podcast, a great negotiator giving epic tips.
94. Keep Your Plans Flexible
Flexibility will help you travel cheap around the world in more ways than one. A quick look at Sky Scanner shows you can save lots of money just by switching your dates around a tiny bit.
95. Talk To Other Travellers
Socialising is a human art form yet it takes effort when you travel. Making a little bit of an effort to talk to people can be worth it, especially if they’ve been to places you want to go to next. They’ll be able to tell you what to and not visit to ensure you are saving money for the best travel experiences.
96. Earn Some Karma By Volunteering
Voluntourism is a massive industry now but this we don’t want to look into this type of tourism. There are organisations like All Hands where you can volunteer with them for weeks at a time. You’ll work hard, have awesome experiences be feed and given shelter. I was volunteering in Boulder with All Hands.
97. Travelling Slow Spreads The Budget Further
Travel as fast or as slow as you want, don’t let anyone’s criticism of your travel style get you down. It’s logical that when you slow down however your average daily expenses are reduced and travelling slower enables you to get to know a city more.
98. Learn The Exchange Rates Before You Arrive
There’s no weirder feeling paying for something yet you have no idea what it’s worth in your home currency. People do this regularly which surprises me. You never know when you might be buying your regular treat, yet its astronomically priced in the other country.
Download XE app and avoid nasty surprises.
99. Avoid Currency Booths
TravelEx and Western Union are massive companies worldwide but both aren’t high on their customers Christmas card list. They make changing cash look good with great exchange rates, but the amount of fees you’ll pay is significant. Especially if you want to change smaller amounts.
They burnt me in Prague!
100. Search For Coupons When You Are Booking/Ordering Something Online
Groupon and Living Social are the two major coupon sites around the world. Taking a look at these sites for larger cities can save you hundreds of dollars on experiences you planned to book anyway.
101. Use Affiliate and Discount Codes
In today’s world, affiliate marketing is a massive industry (there’s affiliate links in this post even). In some industries, affiliates are able to offer discounts on products and services yet still earn money. Every time you want to book something, Google ‘(company or product)’ deals…you can save decent quite a lot of money if you’re diligent taking the 2-3 seconds to Google results.
I like using Hotels.com a lot as you usually get the deal, where if you book 10 nights you get 1 free.
102. Earn Cash Back By Spending On Your Credit Card
Credit cards have lots of different terms but if you’re booking things online, look into using a credit card that will give you cash back on purchases. It normally never exceed 2%, but if you are spending thousands on flights and accommodation for your trip….you end up with a couple days of travel essentially free by choosing the right credit card.
103. Use Your Existing Facebook Network To Get Connections
Putting a status up saying you’re travelling to XYZ? Ask people for recommendations or if they have friends you can get in touch with. You might get a locals view on a city, end up with an awesome new friend or they may even invite you to stay with them.
104. Just Ask! You Never Know What You Get
This takes some guts, but if you want something you can simply ask. Or name your own price. Ask for an upgraded room, ask if one hotel can beat another hotels deal, ask if you can get a lunch for $5 even if the price is $10. All they can say is no.
I got a can of coke for $1 instead of $1.20 just today. It’s the small things sometimes.
105. Enter Competitions, You’ve Gotta Be In It To Win It
You’ve got to be in it to win it. Yup, the classic saying is so true. You might not think you have a chance of winning with hundreds of entrants, but take the few seconds to enter competitions. You might strike it lucky and win epic prizes. I won a can cooler the other night at pub trivia 😉
106. Buy One Book, Read Dozens, Thanks To Book Exchanges
Reading is a travellers favourite hobby. Luckily hostel guests worldwide essentially trade books constantly. If there’s a shelf of books, simply put your last read into the shelf and take the book that piques your interest.
While some insist a kindle is a space saver (it is), you might be one who insists on a physical book still. The books themselves tell a journey!
107. Use Alternative Products Like A Hipster
This is far from my expertise, but just because marketing has taught you to use soap, toothpaste and shampoo every day….doesn’t mean you have to. There are lots of products that are just as good, if not better for you. Apple cider is great for hair, baking soda for soap, deodorant and teeth. How far do you want to go?
108. Be Disciplined And Hand Wash Your Clothes
Undies, gruts, daks. Whatever you call them should be changed everyday or two. That’s if you wear them of course (I’m stunned by how many backpackers go commando). Anyway, laundry can get expensive fast, keep your ego in check and hand wash your clothes.
If you’re in Southeast Asia, never fret. For a couple bucks, all your clothing will be washed, dried and ironed within 24 hours.
109. Pick Up Brochures On Arrival
When you land in a new city by plane, you’ll be inundated with leaflets and pamphlets. Some of them are worth taking a quick flick through though as they’ll often have discounts for places and/or sights you plan to see anyway.
Rather than take the whole brochure, don’t feel bad just ripping out the section you require….most vouchers don’t get looked at in books and you save the environment by not taking and throwing away the whole brochure anyway. Boom justified!
110. Understand The Currency
The USD. Always have some USD in your bag, it can be used worldwide in emergencies. Some countries have a dual currency system. You may pay in USD and receive change in the local currency, in this case, make sure you know the going rate and what the official exchange rate is between the two.
When there’s a black market for currencies this can provide arbitrage opportunities for you.
111. Claim Your Tax Refund!
Have you worked overseas on a working holiday visa? Depending on where and when you work, you may magically forget you’re probably eligible for a tax refund.
In 2011, I knew I was getting overtaxed but knew I would get it back at the end of the tax year. I got over $5,000 back that year. My total savings were bigger than I could have imagined.
112. Avoid Travelling In High Season
Humans like the sun (although we lack Vitamin D, confusing). Travellers flock to popular destinations in summer. Basic economics indicates that when demand increases, price increases. Try and avoid summer locations in their peak seasons and travel in shoulder seasons, it’s much nicer. If you head to places in their low seasons you can get some incredible deals on accommodation and flights.
113. Be Ruthless With Purchases
Do you really need to buy that? Impulse purchases are a sucker for all of society. I’ve seen so many people purchase things I know they’ll hardly use on their travels but it’s hard to turn down short-term satisfaction.
114. Keep An Eye Out For Facebook Promos In Store
Restaurants and pubs often have a little promotion where you can get a free side or pint if you check in/and or leave a review on their Facebook page. Make sure to take advantage of these deals, they take a second. You could even try your luck and ask what you’ll get if you leave promise to leave a review on Trip Advisor etc.
115. Stay Hydrated!
When we are dehydrated we can get very confused about how we are feeling. When we are dehydrating we often end up snacking. Water is a lot cheaper than snacks! An easy way to know you’re dehydrated? Your urine is deep yellow/amber. yum.
116. Figure Out The Cheap Way To/From The Airport
Most international airports have a recommended way to get to and from the airport. This isn’t always going to be the cheapest way. To find the cheapest way, you can do a quick Google search or look up the WikiTravel page for the relevant location.
Wowser! Over 7500 words later you’ve finished. That was a decent guide on how to travel the world cheaply I think
No doubt I missed some ideas in this budget travel guide but hopefully one or two you can implement right away to help you figure out a cheaper way to travel.
Do you have any advice for help others with cheap ways to travel the world? Let them all out in the comments!
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