15 top tips on how to travel on a budget
Want to enjoy low-cost travel? Here are the best ways on how to travel on a budget and how to save money while on the road
Recently I was asking some of my friends why they don’t travel to certain places, and however much some of them told me they are not interested in traveling( shocking, I know!!), the majority of them told me they don’t travel because it’s expensive.
Yes, traveling doesn’t come cheap but there are tips you can follow so that you don’t have to rob a bank to afford to travel.
Even though travel is expensive, during my trips, I’ve discovered a number of ways to travel to save money while on the road.
So today I am going to share with you my top tips on how to travel on a budget.
How to travel on a budget
1. Book your air ticket in advance.
If you want to travel on a budget, the first and best way to do it is by buying a ticket way before you travel dates.
Tickets bought last minute can be expensive and you don’t have many options to choose from.
But tickets booked in advance like 2-3 months before your travel dates can be relatively cheap and that comes with a lot of options to choose from.
Websites like Skyscanner, cheapflights.com, Expedia, and many more can help you find the cheapest flight and the best time to travel.
In addition, instead of choosing direct flights, you could opt for stopover flights which are always cheaper and you also get a chance to see visit cities is you have a long layover at the airport.
Read more: How to get cheap flights on Southwest Airlines
2. Be flexible with your travel dates.
We all know that there are specific periods where air tickets are super expensive (like during the festive seasons).
So if you want to travel on a budget, you must be willing to travel on the less competitive dates.
During the summer, air tickets can be pricey compared to winter season or even shoulder.
You can also check out the shoulder season of the place you plan to travel to because such months are usually cheaper with almost everything subsidized, from accommodation to activities hence traveling cheaply.
3. Find cheap accommodation.
Sleep at cheap hotels or hostels as opposed to staying at resorts.
The idea is to spend less money on sleeping and spend more on an adventure and visiting different tourist attractions.
Use sites like booking.com, air BnB or hostel bookers to find cheap accommodation. If you’re a backpacker, these travel apps will ease your trip.
If you decide to stay at a hostel since they’re always cheaper compared to hotels, check out this post that details everything you need to pack for your hostel stay.
And if you’re staying at a hostel for the first time, check out these hostel etiquettes that you should know.
Related post: Simple steps to planning a trip from start to finish
4. Don’t be compelled to do what every tourist is doing.
I know this is a lot of pressure. All these other tourists are doing all different kinds of activities that you would also want to participate in.
Don’t be lured into doing everything. Remember the idea is to travel on a budget so that you can afford your next air ticket.
Stay on budget and do only those activities that have always been top of your bucket list.
However, if those activities are once in a lifetime adventures, then a little splurge doesn’t hurt.
But if an activity is way too expensive and not that fun to you, don’t be tempted to do it just because everyone else is doing it.
Read more: Important things to do before traveling anywhere
5. Use public transport.
Everyone enjoys an uber ride / private taxis every now and then but if you want to travel on a budget I would advise that you stick to public means of transportation.
In most big cities like Paris or Istanbul, public transportation is pretty comfortable and cheap.
But even in places like Asia or Africa, try to be comfortable in public transportation even though it might not be the most comfortable situation.
But at the end of the day, you’ll be happy that you were able to save some bucks on transportation.
6. Don’t eat away your money.
Instead of eating at fancy restaurants, eat at local restaurants or even street foods.
If your accommodation has a kitchen, just buy groceries and prepare your own meals.
And there is actually no better way to learn about the local culture of a place than trying out local dishes at either a local restaurant or on the street food stalls.
This is one of the best low-cost travel tips that should help you save money while traveling.
7. Pack properly.
This might sound crazy but actually a great tip to enjoy affordable travel.
Pack all the essentials that you might need on your trip so you don’t spend money on buying things you left back home.
Don’t forget to carry your Monzo Bank card to save on foreign exchange fees.
If you have certain diseases or traveling to a country with a certain breakout, it is a good idea that you carry the necessary medication.
Some countries require health insurance and if you don’t have one, you might end up spending a fortune.
In that same manner, packing light will save you the extra fees that you might need to pay in case you exceed the weight you’re supposed to check in at the airport.
If you don’t know how to pack light, this post has all the tips that will help you pack like a backpacker.
Related post: Best backpacking tips for beginners
8. Don’t hire tour guides (if you can).
Don’t get me wrong here, I love tour guides since they can help you navigate around the place and all that but they also don’t come cheap.
And let’s face it, in the world of technology, millions of blogs and apps, there are some places you do not need a tour guide, you just need to use the resources around you.
Nevertheless, you can hire a tour guide for only those activities/ tours that you can’t manage on your own.
Or even better, you can talk to your hotel/air BnB hosts, they might just have better deals for your specific adventures.
Read more: Things not to do when you travel
9. Travel to cheap destinations.
We all know traveling to some countries can be more expensive than the others.
So if you want to travel on a budget, choose those places that might not require a lot of money as opposed to others.
Check out these cheap travel destinations you might want to consider if you want to travel cheaply.
However, the only way this tip is going to work for you is if you are willing to travel to different parts of the world, not just a particular country.
10. Forego souvenirs.
There is no way you can go for any trip and not be asked to go back home with souvenirs whether by family or friends.
And yes, I understand, they just want you to bring them something from country x. ( I don’t blame them, I kinda do the same actually).
But keep in mind you want to travel on a budget so instead of buying a zillion souvenirs, keep that money for your next adventure.
11. Take advantage of giveaways and discounts
Keep your eyes open for any giveaways or discounts. Whether its discounts on air tickets, booking.com, Air BnB, or even activities, take advantage of them as they might be what you need to stay right in the budget.
This might not be your jackpot kind of tip, but it sure does help to save you some bucks if you score those discounts.
Read more: Best airport tips and hacks to make your travels easier
12. Team up with other travelers.
Instead of footing the entire bill by yourself, there might be other travelers that are planning to go for the same adventure as you.
This means that you’ll end up paying half the price and whalah, you travel on a budget as planned.
Teaming up with other travelers will not only help you save many but also make friends while you travel especially if you’re traveling alone.
13. Pack light.
In one of the previous tips I emphasized how important it is to pack all the necessities but this doesn’t mean you have to put your entire house in a backpack or suitcase.
You just don’t want to risk paying more money to accommodate your huge luggage.
So pack as light as possible as this will help you to walk with your luggage without any difficulties instead of always tipping someone to carry it for you.
And if you’re still not sure about how to pack light, then this post will give you all the tips.
However, packing light doesn’t mean leaving behind travel essentials. Here are some of the travel essentials you should never leave behind even if you’re trying to pack light.
Travel Essentials you should never leave home.
– A universal travel adapter: Since different countries use different adapters, I’d advise you to buy one universal travel adapter to cater for all regions. You can buy one from here if you don’t have it yet.
– A power Bank: One of the things you should never leave behind while traveling is the Powerbank! Phones have now become a great deal of our lives that we need to use them for so many important things. So take a power bank with you so that you don’t run out of battery.
This power bank is small, light, and has the capability to charge your phone and other devices multiple times.
– Microfibre travel towel – I always opt for this microfibre travel towel because it is super lightweight, easy to wash, and dries easily.
– First Aid kit: Regardless of where you’re traveling to, you’ll need to pack a First Aid kit for emergencies that might arise while traveling. Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Just make sure that the one you pack has all the essentials and that it is small and light enough to fit in any kind of suitcase/ backpack.
This first aid kit actually fits all the qualities mentioned above plus it is really cheap for what it offers.
– Collapsible water bottle: I always prefer carrying a water bottle while traveling so that I can just refill it when I run out of water.
It also helps be a responsible traveler since you won’t have to use tones of disposable plastic bottles which are not great for our environment.
Any water bottle can work but I prefer this collapsible one as it doesn’t take a lot of space in my bag.
Other Packing lists on the blog that will help you pack appropriately
- Things to pack for a weekend getaway
- Hostel packing list
- Things to pack for the beach
- Carry on essentials for a long flight
- Egypt packing list
- Europe packing list for winter
- Ski trip Packing list
- Africa packing list
14. Find casual jobs as you travel.
This might sound farfetched to you but trust me, it can be your gateway to low-cost travel if you are up to the idea of working as you travel.
It might sound bizarre but some places like hostels are willing to offer free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work per week.
Click here to see the list of jobs that can be done by a traveler on an adventure. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Related post: Tips on how to travel with a full-time job
15. Engage with the locals.
Wondering how engaging with the locals is going to help you save money as you travel?
Of course, the locals understand the country more than you do, so interact with them.
Ask them for recommendations of the cheap places to eat at, cheapest way to travel in that country.
Basically, ask them for tips on how to travel on a budget in that specific location. You will be surprised by how much you can save by taking into consideration their recommendations.
I have used most of these tips and they have helped me stay right in the budget. I hope these tips will help you save money on your next adventure.
And if you have any other tips on how to travel on a budget, share them with me in the comment section.
If this post was helpful to you, don’t forget to share it, It might be what someone needs to start enjoying affordable travel.
More travel tips to help you travel better
- How to stay safe when traveling
- Best hiking tips for beginners
- Best backpacking hacks for beginners
- Best things to do at the airport on a long layover
- Things to do before traveling abroad
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Love the tips, thanks for the share.
You’re welcome! I am glad you found them useful.
Finding casual work as you travel sounds really interesting. It would give you more time in a place to really explore.
That is so true. You get to spend more time in a place and earn an extra income
My initial travels were based on similar tips. I am glad that these hacks are still being followed in order to make the trips cheaper and conviniant.
These are fine tips for someone, who is new to traveling. I think I follow most of them already.
I’m a hardcore supporter of budget travelling and this post is very relatable. I think booking early and staying in an airbnb saves a considerable amount of money. Great points.
Lovely tips and a great list of things to keep in mind while budget traveling. I also try to visit places where I have friends or extended families and spend a day or two over at their place. Does save a fair bit and also helps to meet those old friends 🙂
Good article, except the travel agent part. I used to be a travel agent, and we worked only on commission from the companies we booked through. It was always the same price for the client and we would get a kick back. They aren’t all expensive!!
Travelling light alsi helps to save $ in paying for baggage. When i visited Thailand, i only pack light and control my shopping habit!
Some top tips here. We always try to travel in the off season and will book flights and accommodation separately. Travel agents are really unnecessary in this day and age unless you’re travelling somewhere that requires a tour or is really off the beaten track.
I think that being flexible is the key, not only when it comes to booking the tickets but in general. Thanks for the tips ?
You have some great tips for economical travel. I especially enjoyed the tip that you don’t have to do the touristy things that everyone else does. We have found wonderful experiences by doing things that are off the beaten track. Also, like the idea of eating like the locals in order to save money.
These are some awesome tips every rookie traveler should read. Thank you for sharing.
Excellent tips! The one with the souvenirs is so true! Many travelers spend a fortune to get so expensive souvenirs back to their hometown.
Great post, with lots of helpful and practical tips for the budget traveler.
I agree, with few exceptions, you shouldn’t “hire travel agents”. Yes, you can research and book your own travel. The internet is a virtual cornucopia of information about travel. Deals and specials to every corner of the earth seem just a few keystrokes and a credit card charge away. But did you know that no matter where a trip is booked (online included), there’s a commission already built into the price? In fact, even if you book direct, the hotel, cruise or airline keeps the commission instead of passing the savings onto you.
Smart, savvy travelers always use a travel agent – and not only because they save you, the consumer, time and money. I refer you to “10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent” by TripSavvy – one of the top-10 travel information websites in the world – for a more detailed explanation.
I always travel on a budget and so far I love it! Although I love buying souvenirs! But all the other things I can do without a problem! If someone wants to travel he/she can always find a way! ?
if only we could book in advance and keep our dates flexible, we would be able to save big on travel costs. That is a great advantage when one is free to travel as per convenience. All the other tips are very useful too.
I know right!! sometimes we just cant be flexible as much as we want.
Thanks for sharing those wonderful 15 tips on low cost travel. Engaging with the locals is the best way to find out what to eat, where to stay, how to travel economically, etc.
These are all fantastic tips! Speaking to locals to learn a little more definitely helps!
I’ve too given in on buying things for family and friends from trips. But i do send a postcard! I find most my money goes on food as I like to try new foods. Some great tips on how I can keep my budget down.
Lol I do most of these but never in my life have I won any sort of giveaway, let alone a TRAVEL giveaway. Maybe one day I’ll get lucky.
Being flexible with the dates is quite a useful suggestion. I recently came to know that flights on certain dates are 10 times cheaper than other. Also loved your packing tips, I never thought of these things before. Thanks
You have given insightful tips on budget travel these will certainly help any traveler wanting a cost effective travel.
Some very helpful tips. I have to learn packing list and forgoing souvinirs.
Thank you Pujarini, yes you should try them and you will be surprised by how much you can save.
These are great tips. We love traveling and to keep our budget down, we eat local and stay with locals too via airbnb. We also make it a point to use public transportation to move around the city or town. Not only do our dollars stretch further, but we also get to understand the local culture better. Better for the budget and for the travel experience!!
Thank you for the advice! I think my favorite when it comes to traveling on a budget is Engaging with the Locals. I did a home-stay in Costa Rica and absolutely loved it! It was definitely different and out of my comfort zone, but it was an amazing experience.
That must have been a great experience for you. You get to learn a lot of things when you engage withe locals, it absolutely changes everything you thought about staying with people you didn’t know in the first place.
My husband and I absolutely love traveling and definitely prefer doing it on a budget. These are great tips, some I’ve never thought of. Thank you for sharing!
I am glad you liked them, perhaps you can in-cooperate some of those tips you had never thought of and see how well they work out for you and your husband.
Forego souvenirs definitely !! Nowadays, I hardly buy anything for anyone when I travel ! Except for my immediate family.
I know!! you can spend a couple of dollars buying souvenirs for everyone and before you realize it, you’ve spent more than you had planned. so souvenirs for only really close people.