5 ways to travel on a budget

The quarterlifecrisis guide to backpacking and travel on a budget.

One thing I’ve learnt during my travels is how to make that travel budget stretch as far as physically possible. For me, and many others, the main goal is to travel for as long as possible! Am I right?

Well, here are my top tips and hacks for making that budget last so that you can keep sitting on that beach, sipping from that coconut. Ahhhh bliss!

  1. Cheap Flights

For any place you’re going to visit you need to research. Find those cheap flights, search for that budget accommodation or even stay somewhere for free! There are so many tools out there to help you to travel on a budget AND make your budget stretch for longer. Use websites like skyscanner to find the cheapest flight path, and when you’re in a country use local buses and trains to get around. Many countries will have websites that you can find and even book the local transport.

2. Free things to do

There are so many incredible activities that you can do when travelling; from abseiling to ziplining and you can’t do them all! Prioritising is important when travelling on a budvet and making sure things fit into your daily/weekly budget. Choose one thing that is a must do for you and splash that cash on it. And even then make sure you barter, get the price down on that boat trip. If you’ve seen the same thing online for cheaper a lot of places will be happy to match it, or match another companies cheaper price. Then enjoy incredible free things to do in a new place. Blogs, and travel guides are fantastic places to do this! You don’t have to spend a single cent on watching that sunrise, visiting that park or hiking up that mountain.

3. Food

Food is one of the biggest budget blowers for many travellers. But it doesn’t have to be. When you travel on a budget, choose that hostel with the free breakfast, and make the most of it! Find the local supermarkets (711 in Thailand, was an absolute life saver for me!). Go to the markets and night markets. There’s always incredible bargains to be found there; especially if you go towards the closing time. Find the activities that include food. If you’re going to splash out on that boat trip, make sure it includes a buffet lunch! If you’re in a city, pub quizzes are excellent places that usually have free snacks or half price offers during the quiz! And when you do eat out, don’t be afraid to ask for a takeaway box: that lunch can also be your dinner. Another good tip is to search out the best deals. Take a walk before you get hungry and will sit down anywhere just to eat, and compare the menus. Always google cheap eats in your area.

4. Budget Accommodation (or even free!)

Use booking.com and hostelworld to research hotels and hostels *As a side note to this I do however recommend booking directly with the accommodation when booking isn’t necessary. Most hostels and hotels will match their prices if it’s cheaper to book through an agent. Do err on the side of caution, sometimes the cheapest hostels do bring the nightmare stories. I have only experienced this once but it does happen!

If you’re travelling between countries, chose overnight transport. You don’t lose a day of exploring and you get a night’s free accommodation. Woohoo!

Oh yes, I mentioned free accommodation. Free accommodation is the holy grail when you travel on a budget. There are number of ways you can do this when travelling. My number one favourite being couchsurfing. The couchsurfing community open up their home to travellers allowing you to stay on a sofa, or even a spare bed. This way you also get a 100 percent authentic local experience too. I have made many life long friends through couchsurfing whilst also getting free accommodation and sometimes free food! Win!

You can also work for food and accommodation. Websites like workaway and helpx are very much worth the sign up fees. You can expect to work around 4 hours a day on various tasks for a night’s accommodation and 3 meals a day. Also an excellent way to experience local life in a new country.

5. Drinks

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good drink when you’re travelling or on holiday? But depending where you are in the world, alcohol can be expensive. If it’s legal, an excellent budget travel tip is to buy your tipple of choice from a supermarket and head somewhere with an outstanding view to enjoy the sunset. Or if you must go out to a bar, choose the ones with good offers. Get on your App Store and download a local app pointing out all the best deals in town. If you find the best happy hours, you can drink at some of the swankiest places even when you travel on a budget.

I’ve been in a few situations along my long term travel where I’ve been very tight on cash! I managed to get through it and so can you 🙂 Don’t let money be an obstacle (or excuse) to exploring the world.

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