Traveling is a dream for a lot of people. It gives us new experiences, helps us meet new people, acquaints us with other cultures, and enriches us spiritually. But, even though there is so much to it, some people still avoid traveling for a prolonged period of time, because they think that it costs a lot.
But what if I told you... that it doesn't? To travel, you don't have to be a millionaire. It won't cost you a fortune to go abroad. You don't have to come from a rich family, don't have to be famous, and don't have to win a lottery to do it. There are lots of tricks that you can use to reduce your travel expenses. Look for cheaper accommodation options, travel in low season, cook your own meals, and plan your budget thoroughly. These are just a few tips you might need to use to travel full time and there are a lot more of them. There are even options when you can travel for free, and even get money for it! Can you imagine?
If you feel like your stereotypes about traveling are turning to dust and ashes right now, TheTravel is here to help you out! We will break down your "traveling is too expensive for me" cliché and replace it with the practical knowledge on how to travel on a budget, make money while you're on a trip, and take the most pleasure out of it!
Are you getting a little bit excited right now? Then let's start!
Yes, you might still be thinking that traveling is so expensive that only the rich can afford to travel non-stop. Sure, traveling isn't free (most of the time it's not, but we'll talk about it later), but it doesn't require being a Bill Gates. If you know how to save money, you can easily travel most of your time, if not full time.
Besides, traveling gives you an invaluable experience that can't be compared to the money you spend on it. After all, you can always make more money, but what you should really value is new experiences.
I'll tell you more - sometimes traveling will even cost you less than living in your home country. For example, if you are backpacking in some parts of Africa, Asia, and Central or South America, you are very likely to spend as little as $15 dollars per day. I'm not only talking about accommodation. If you know some easy tricks that we'll discuss further in the list, this small sum can also cover your food expenses and even some activities! So it all really depends on you and your ability to save money.
Do you know how to save money in everyday life? Like, when you get a salary and don't spend it all, but leave a certain amount "for a rainy day"? If you do, then traveling shouldn't be a problem for you.
Keep in mind that if you travel to the countries that have a lower price range than your home country, the money you make can be a huge deal. For example, you can make $100 in the USA quite quickly, but in India, this amount will go a long way.
Being financially responsible isn't only about saving money for traveling. It's also about saving money during traveling. Think about all of your financial habits and find out which ones are healthy and which ones should better be discarded.
For example, having good financial habits, you know right away whether you should buy a certain item or not. With time and practice, you won't even need to ask this question to yourself. You'll know right away, how you should spend your money and how you shouldn't. And remember that being financially responsible isn't only good for traveling.
Traveling is a personal thing. You're the traveler, so it's up to you to decide whether you want to be a budget, mid-range, or luxury tourist. No one else can do it for you.
For example, if you're a budget traveler, you'll rent cheaper accommodation, use local transport, and interact with locals a lot. A mid-range tourist will try to find the balance between budget and luxury and save only on some of the things. And a traveler, who prefers the luxury style, thinks that a vacation should be full of splurges and doesn't hesitate to spend their money.
Now, which one is you?
If you don't want to be a budget traveler, but you think that you won't have enough money to follow a mid-range or luxury style, there's a way for you. Find a freelance job that you'll be able to do from any part of the world that has an internet connection.
This freelance job can be anything you like to do. If you're an IT person, a photographer, a writer, a teacher, etc, find a company that hires freelancers and you're good to go! Another great idea is starting your own blog and make money from it. Of course, it's not easy, but it's possible.
If you don't want to have just some freelance job, try to find the one that will require you to travel abroad. For example, if you're a good photographer, you can try finding a job at a magazine or website that requires their photographers to travel and send them professional photos from different countries. They even cover most of the expenses in this case.
And then again, you can start a travel blog or YouTube channel, where you'll share your traveling tips with others and make money. Doesn't it sound enticing?
Looking for cheap flights isn't as hard as you may think. There are lots of websites that offer the cheapest tickets, so you can use all of them, if you want, and compare the prices. Start monitoring the prices in advance and do it on a regular basis, because one day you might stumble upon a good deal and save a lot due to a discount from an airline.
You might also want to subscribe for newsletters and notifications, to learn about discounts as soon as they're offered.
You can easily save on accommodation, and it doesn't mean that you'll have to live in dorm rooms with other tourists. If you use Airbnb, you can find very good deals on apartments and houses for rent. Most of them will have everything you need, including the kitchen, and will let you save even more than you think.
Besides, you can even find a luxurious place on Airbnb and pay a petty price for it. Depending on the country you visit and the location of the apartment or house, it can cost as little as $10 per day.
If $10 per day sounds like a too big sum for you, you can find free accommodation by registering at Couch Surfing. Basically, this service allows you to sleep on someone else's couch absolutely for free. In exchange for this kindness, you may accept a traveler to your home country to your apartment, when you can.
Apart from saving your money, this model of traveling also allows you to learn more about the local culture, communicate with locals 24/7, and find new friends. Isn't it exciting?
Another way to travel for free is house sitting. For some travelers, it's the best way to get free accommodation abroad. It allows them to live in someone else's house and look after it, while its hosts are traveling somewhere else.
However exciting this offer might sound, keep in mind that some of the gigs on house sitting can be very competitive. To succeed in getting the accommodation you want, you need to build a good profile and show the hosts that you're the one, who'll perfectly look after their house (and, probably, their pets).
Answer a simple question (only honestly): Can you always tell the difference between your needs and wants? For example, do you need a Netflix subscription for your trip, or do you want it? On the other hand, do you need high-quality shoes for your mountain hike, or do you want them? If you have to choose only one between the two, which one is more important? Obviously, you only want to watch Netflix, but you absolutely need to have good shoes.
This way, think about all your planned expenses and always choose needs over wants.
To tell a difference between your wants and needs and save even more money, make a list of all your travel expenses. And I mean all of them. Your list should include your rent, food, transportation, entrance fees, tours, and everything else you buy.
Does it sound a little bit extreme to you? In fact, it's the best way to track down your expenses and realize what you should cut out. For example, one ice cream per day can seem to be innocent, but when you count how much you spend on it per week or per month, you might realize that you should eat less of it.
There're lots of apps that make keeping track of your expenses easier, so make use of them.
Eating every meal out can be pretty expensive. For this reason, it's highly recommended to find the accommodation that will have at least a small kitchen, where you can cook your own meals. Do it as often as possible and you'll be shocked at how much money you will save!
Small, but significant tip: If you rent an apartment from Airbnb or a similar service, try asking the host to take you to a supermarket so you can buy the products you'll need for your stay. If they have a car, they're likely to be happy to help you!
The cheapest option to travel locally is riding a bus, metro, or a train, instead of taking taxis and chartered vehicles. In most countries, a ride on public transport will cost you a very little amount of money. And then again, this transportation option will bring you closer to the native culture and let you communicate with locals.
Besides, if you need to get from point A to point B in a single city, check out the distance and see if you can walk it on foot. Often this option isn't only absolutely free, but also very interesting!
Experienced travelers know that the cheapest way to travel is traveling off-season. Not only will there be fewer people in your destination country, but everything, from accommodation to restaurant prices, will be much cheaper.
For example, the best time to travel to some European cities is autumn, because most travelers come there during summer or Christmas holidays. And if you want to travel to Southeast Asia, go in March or April. This way, you'll get into the mid-season, when the weather is still good, but prices are lower and beaches are almost empty.
Do you think that paying an ATM fee is inevitable? In fact, it's not, if you get a travel card. It's made especially for the budget travelers because it's free to set up, it doesn't have any annual fees, and even though it requires paying an ATM fee, it's going to be reimbursed to you at the end of the month! Just make sure to always take a photo of an ATM receipt, to make sure that you've been reimbursed a correct amount.
If you have this card, you don't even need to exchange money for the local currency, because you can always get cash from an ATM.
If you want to save as much as possible, there's always something you can do free of charge. You can always walk around the city and see its sights for free, explore local markets, arrange a picnic at a local park, explore free museums, go to a rooftop bar and get a cool view from there, instead of paying for climbing some special deck for tourists or go on a hike.
If all these things aren't enough, do your own research by googling "free things to do in (your destination)".
Coming back to accommodation questions, you should know that you may land a very good deal if you decide to stay one place for more than a week, or a month. Hosts usually make large discounts for the travelers, who stay at their place for a prolonged period of time. So if you learn that you may get it, be flexible with the dates and try arranging your stay in one place throughout the entire trip.
Slow down, and except for saving your money, you will also feel more like a local!
Volunteering is another way to travel if you don't have enough money. You help for a good cause and you're provided with either free or extremely low-cost accommodation and food for it. Most of these volunteering jobs for tourists include organic farming. So if you're into planting veggies, you're going to like it!
Just be attentive, when you choose the people you'll volunteer for. Some of the companies either require paying a hefty fee, or stick to detrimental practices. So do your research before you sign in or anything.
Scams can cost you a lot. From buying something that actually has a much lower price, to paying more for a taxi ride, to giving a "donation" to people, who don't really need any donation - all these things add extra expenses that you could've avoided. Be attentive and careful, especially when it comes to speaking about money with locals. Some of them might want to try to get much more from you than you think if they see that you're gullible enough.
Besides, beware of pickpockets and keep all your valuables in a safe place.
Some tourists, who want to save money, decide to skip travel insurance, thinking that they won't need it anyway. Well, you can only hope that you won't need it. But in fact, anything can happen, while you're on a trip. You may get sick, attacked, or bitten by some insect or, God forbid, a snake. If you don't have a travel health insurance, your treatment might cost a lot, even if you have something as simple as a cold or a toothache.
To be on the safe side and avoid the risk, better invest in travel insurance (and hope that you won't need it).
When you check into a hotel, motel, or hostel, don't hesitate to ask if there are any discounts they can offer you. Even though many people are afraid to ask it, there's nothing wrong with this question. It doesn't give any wrong impression about you to the staff. And it also won't hurt you in any way.
If they don't have any discounts to offer, they'll simply tell that they don't and you'll go ahead to the room you booked. But if they, for example, have a better room or another deal for you, you might be rewarded for your courageous attempt!
You might have noticed that we've been talking about communicating with locals quite a lot in this article. If you're wondering why, here's the answer. From locals, you won't only learn more about the country you're visiting. You'll also find the ways to save more money.
Talking to locals, ask them what free attractions are there in their city, where you can eat on a budget, what shop is best for buying foods, clothes, or something else, and so on. It won't only make your traveling experience cheaper, but also more authentic.
Of course, it's impossible to save money on every single thing. After all, traveling is about getting great experiences, isn't it? So if there're certain things on your trip that cost a lot, but you really, really want to do them (and especially if these activities aren't available in your home country, or anywhere else in the world), just do them. Take a gondola ride in Venice, a safari in Africa, a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, or a whale-watching trip in British Columbia. You won't regret it!
After all, it never hurts to spend more on a one-of-a-lifetime experience, when you're financially responsible throughout the rest of your trip!