How to Travel on a Limited Budget

Travel can be a life-changing and memorable experience. Whether traveling alone, with a partner, with friends or with the whole family, experiencing new places and cultures enriches your life as a whole. If you are considering travel and enchanted by the dream of visiting somewhere you have always wanted to explore, one of the first questions that comes up, however, is money. How do you pay for it? Here are some tips.

Travel Doesn’t Have To Break The Bank

The truth is that as much as travel can be expensive it absolutely does not have to be expensive. There are a number of ways to economize and cut down the common costs that sink many travelers into a financial black hole. The first one is to recognize that in most situations where a ticket, trip, accommodation, meal or tour costs more than you think is reasonable there often is a cheaper—and sometimes better—option out there.¹

Timing Has A Lot To Do With It

Some places, some flights and some accommodations are just more expensive. That’s a fact. But, and it is a big but, there are other things that can massively sway prices and rates and one of the biggest is timing. If you travel somewhere in the high season when everyone else does chances are you are going to pay more—a lot more.

Major holidays, summer in the Bahamas, Valentine’s Day in Paris? These are peak times when rates at hotels and guesthouses will be higher and everything from the taxis to the tours will mysteriously increase in price. Time your trip in the off season and you can save.²

Listen To Local Advice

In many cases, advice from locals is worth its weight in gold. Instead of always looking at official travel guides, apps or online reviews, consider chatting with a local shop owner or a nice person reading his or her newspaper. They may have advice for you about great places to eat locally, amazing attractions, lesser known gems of local history or even advice about upcoming cultural events and festivals. If language is a barrier, get a SIM card and a local number with phone data and use Google translate or a similar app to translate what you want to say.¹

Visit Less For Longer

What this means is instead of hopping from one place to the next, stay for a few days or even a week or more in one place. Use it as a home base to travel out from by bus, rented vehicle or focus on exploring the local scene. When you keep changing venue costs add up—from the overpriced sandwich you rushed to eat before taking the bus and the expensive water to the cost of the new place you had to book.

In addition, changing location frequently is very tiring and can even start to make you have less energy for things like cooking your own meals in guesthouse or hostel kitchens—which adds up to expensive meals out.¹

Flexible Dates

Being flexible with your specific travel dates can save you a bundle of money. Doing an open-ended search for flights leaving from your point of departure can turn up deals you can’t believe—but only if you’re able to adjust your dates and leave on the specific dates that sometimes have very cheap promotional fares or other discounts. Staying flexible allows you to build your trip around your budget, rather than building your budget around your itinerary.²

Consider Hostels, Couchsurfing And WWOOFing

Couchsurfing is a free website—with a paid version that allows unlimited messaging per week—that lets you get in touch with locals who can host you in a spare room or on their couch. It is a great way to make new friendships and save a ton of money. The free version still allows you to send 10 messages a week and users tend to be responsive so you can find a good host. World Wide Organic Farming (WWOOFing) is another great option in which you volunteer to work on an organic farm in return for room and board. There are farms participating in WWOOFing around the world, so it can be a unique way to see the world for free apart from airfare.